Six people have been killed and eight injured at a mosque in Québec City in a shooting denounced as a “terrorist attack” by Canada’s prime minister.
Witnesses said three people carried out the attack at the Québec City Islamic cultural center during evening prayers on Sunday. Police received the first calls just before 8 pm (1 am GMT).
Witnesses said the gunmen shouted “Allahu Akbar” and sprayed bullets as people prayed inside the mosque in Quebec City, which has been subjected to a number of Islamophobic attacks in recent years.
Children as young as three were among dozens of worshippers inside the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, in the Sainte-Foy area of the city, when the massacre began during evening prayers.
“Six people are confirmed dead – they range in age from 35 to about 70,”
-Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Christine Coulombe told reporters, adding eight people were wounded and 39 were unharmed.
The mosque’s president, Mohamed Yangui, who was not inside when the shooting occurred, said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers.
“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement:
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge”.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities, and country.”
Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume, who was sitting with Couillard, said, “We wouldn’t think it could happen in such a peaceful city, but it did.
“So I will just say to our fellow citizens, Muslim citizens, that we’re going to support them, we’re behind them, and I have to say, we love them.”
Police said the situation is now under control and RCMP and the SQ are helping with the investigation.
Quebec newspaper La Presse also said another suspect led police on a chase to the Ile d’Orléans but police wouldn’t comment, saying the investigation was ongoing.