Canada: Gunmen kill 5 people at Quebec City mosque; several wounded

The mosque's president said there were around 40 people inside when the shooting happened.

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Quebec City mosque shooting
An ambulance is parked at the scene of a fatal shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City, Canada. Reuters

Five people were killed in a Quebec City mosque after three gunmen opened fire at the people who gathered for evening prayers. Mosque's president Mohamed Yangui said around 40 people were present in the Mosque in Canada's French-speaking city.

Police have arrested two suspects and launched a manhunt for the third. They have also put up a security perimeter around the mosque. However, the officers have declined to speak to reporters about the incident.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau said the mosque incident was a 'cowardly attack'. "Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families," Trudeau tweeted.

Yangui, who called the incident barbaric, said he was not present at the site when the shooting happened. He started getting frantic calls from people at evening prayers when the attackers started firing at them. Though he is not sure how many people got injured, he said that they have been taken to different hospitals across the city.

Quebec has strong Muslim population, mostly North African emigrants. Islamophobia has been on the rise since 2013, with the ban on the full veil burqua remaining a divisive topic. In 2016, the situation turned tense after a pig's head was found at the doorstep of the Islmaic cultural centre. In 2015 a mosque was set on fire in the neighbouring province of Ontario. In 2013, a mosque in the Saguenay region of Quebec was splattered with what was believed to be pig blood.

This article was first published on January 30, 2017