Six people have been killed in a shooting attack on a mosque in Canada’s Quebec, according to police, who have arrested two suspects in the case.
Assailants opened fire at people inside the mosque, known as the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, during evening prayers at 20:00 local time on Sunday (0100 GMT Monday).
Quebec police said later that eight other people had also been wounded in the shooting attack, and that they had no reason to believe that gunmen other than the two arrested had been involved. Earlier, police had not ruled out the possibility that a third attacker might have fled the scene.
Police also said an investigation had started and no information was yet available about the suspects taken into custody.
‘A terrorist attack on Muslims’
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada in a statement called the mosque incident “a terrorist attack on Muslims.”
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge,” he said in the statement.
Before issuing the statement, Trudeau had on his Twitter page called the incident “a cowardly attack,” and said his “thoughts are with victims & their families.”
Trudeau had also said the government had offered “any & all assistance needed.”
Quebec Province’s Prime Minister Philippe Couillard also took to Twitter to express solidarity “with Quebec people of Muslim faith.”
He also wrote that the government was “mobilized to ensure the security of the people of Quebec.”
The Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, also known as the grand mosque of Quebec, has been the target of hate crimes before. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last June, a pig’s head was left on the doorstep of the mosque.
During federal elections in 2015, a majority of people in Quebec supported a ban on the Muslim head veil, or niqab. Another attack was reported on a mosque in the Saguenay region of Quebec Province in 2013, involving pig blood splattered on the floor of the site.
In 2015, a mosque was set on fire in the neighboring state of Ontario.
Just on Saturday, Prime Minister Trudeau had said his country would welcome Muslims and people of other faiths whom the United States has banned. US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order barring all incoming nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia from the United States for 90 days. The listed countries are all Muslim-majority.
The Canadian Immigration Ministry also announced on Sunday that the country would offer temporary residence permits to people stranded in the country as a result of Trump’s ban.