Quebec City Police say several people are dead after shots were fired inside a mosque on Sunday night during evening prayers.Multiple people are also feared wounded. Their condition is not known at this time.
The mosque’s president told reporters that the deaths had occurred after several gunmen apparently opened fire on up to 40 people. Witnesses told Reuters the attack was carried on on the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center, where in the aftermath police put up a security perimeter around the mosque and declined to comment about the incident.
Quebec City Police Const. Étienne Doyon said mostly men were gathered inside the Islamic cultural center of Quebec in the Sainte-Foy neighborhood when the shooting began just before 8 p.m.
The president of the center, Mohammed Yangui, said at least five people were killed, but that information has not been confirmed by police.
He added that he thought somewhere between 60 and 100 people were inside when the shooting began.
“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” said the mosque’s president, Mohamed Yangui.
At the moment of the attack, the men were praying on the ground floor of the building, while women and children were upstairs.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said the shooting is an act of terrorism. Two suspects have been arrested, one of whom was apprehended after a chase that ended near l’île d’Orléans.
Quebec City Police said they are working with the RCMP and the Quebec provincial police. At 10:40 p.m. police said the “situation is under control.”
“The building is secure and the occupants evacuated. The investigation continues,” wrote Quebec City Police on Twitter.
In June 2016, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the cultural centre, said the news agency.
Quebec police confirmed the Sunday evening shooting at the mosque in a tweet, and police on the scene said there had been fatalities. Police said that suspects had been detained.