Six dead in Quebec mosque terror attack; two in custody
QUEBEC CITY — Six people are dead after a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, according to Quebec Provincial Police.
“It seemed to me that they had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and as they shot they yelled, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head,” a witness told CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada.
Eight people were injured. The attack, which took place at the city’s Quebec Islamic Cultural Center, is being investigated as an act of terrorism by police.
In what was described as a coordinated attack, witnesses say at least two gunmen wearing black fired indiscriminately into the dozens of worshipers — including families — in the mosque.
Thirty-nine people who were at the mosque during shooting were unharmed, Christine Coulombe, spokeswoman of National Police of Quebec, said. Of the eight injured, six are described as being in critical condition.
Two people have been arrested, a police said at a news conference. One was captured near the mosque and the other was apprehended on a highway nearby.
The Canadian province’s premier, Philippe Couillard, called the shooting a terrorist act on Twitter.
He added that he would ask the National Assembly to fly the Quebec flag at half-staff.
Police said in a later tweet that the situation was under control.
“The site is secure and the occupants (of the mosque) were evacuated. The investigation continues.” Police are not ruling out the existence of accomplices.
A statement on the mosque’s Facebook page urged caution.
“Please wait for preliminary results (of the investigation) before circulating rumors,” it says. “The situation is very critical. May Allah give us endurance.”
Another post showed the center’s gratitude for the “hundreds of messages of compassion coming from all over.”
At least two vigils, in Quebec City and in Montreal, are planned for Monday.
At least five of those injured in the incident were receiving treatment at the University Hospital of Quebec. Other victims are in hospitals throughout the city, hospital spokesman Richard Fournier tells CNN.