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Quebec mosque terror attack: Six dead after gunmen shout "Allahu Akbar" and open fire during evening prayers


Six people are dead and at least eight injured after two masked gunmen opened fire on worshippers in a terror attack on a mosque in Canada.
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 shooting began during evening prayers.
In the aftermath witnesses described a chaotic scene as they scrambled for safety and heavily-armed police stormed the building in their hunt for two suspects.
Police officers are seen near a mosque after a shooting
Police at the scene after shots were fired inside the mosque 
Swat team police officer walk around a mosque after a shooting in Quebec City
Heavily-armed police stormed the mosque in their search for suspects 
Canadian police officers respond to a shooting in a mosque at the Quebec City Islamic cultural center
Police respond to the shooting in Quebec City 
police spokesman said two men had been arrested, they do not believe there are additional suspects and the scene was "secure", assuring the public there was no wider threat following Sunday night's attack.
Police said it was too early to determine any motive for the violence.
The victims are aged from 35 to 70, police added.
The attack in the men's section of the mosque has been condemned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "a terrorist attack on Muslims".
The mass shooting began just before 8pm local time as men were praying on the ground floor of the mosque and women and children were upstairs, CBC News reported.
A witness who was nearly shot described the terror as two masked gunmen with Quebecois accents entered the mosque as more than 50 people were inside.
The witness told French-language Radio-Canada: "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.
"There were even kids. There was even a three-year-old who was with his father."
Police officers are seen near a mosque after a shooting
Police officers gather outside the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre 
Canadian police officers respond to a shooting in a mosque at the Quebec City Islamic cultural center
Police arrested two people following the attack 
An ambulance is parked at the scene of a fatal shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City
At least eight survivors were injured in the attack 
In addition to the six killed, said Sgt. Christine Coulombe of Surete du Quebec, the provincial police force, eight were wounded and 39 escaped the mosque without injuries.
One of the suspects was arrested near the mosque and the second was taken into custody near the bridge to l'ile d'Orleans, around 12 miles away in Quebec City's east end, after a fleeing in a car.
The second suspect, a man aged 27, was in possession of an AK 47-style machine gun and handguns, La Presse reported.
The mosque's president, Mohamed Yangui, who was not inside when the shooting occurred, said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers.
He said: "Why is this happening here? This is barbaric."
He told Canadian media that the mosque had not received any threats recently.
Canadian police officers respond to a shooting in a mosque at the Quebec City Islamic cultural center
Children as young as three were inside the mosque when shots rang out 
People stand with a peaceful sign
People stand with sign urging peace, not war 
Police officers are seen near a mosque after a shooting in Quebec City
Police cordoned off a large area around the mosque 
In a statement on its Facebook page the mosque offered condolences to the victims' families and urged people not to spread rumours on social media.
It said: "All our thoughts are with the children as we announce the death of their dads."
An anti-terrorism task force is involved in the investigation.
Trudeau offered his condolences to the shooting victims and their families, saying he reacted with "tremendous shock, sadness and anger".
He added: "We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.
"While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence.
"Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.
"Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.
"Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance."
Police arrive at the scene of a fatal shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City
Police respond after gunshots were fired inside the mosque 
Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center
The Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, in the Sainte-Foy district
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard tweeted: "Quebec categorically rejects this barbaric violence. We are all in solidarity with the victims, the injured and their families.
"Let's unite against violence. Solidarity with Quebec people of Muslim faith."
The National Council of Canadian Muslims condemned the attack, saying Islamophobia is on the rise in Canada.
Ihsaan Gardee, the organisation's executive director, said: "The fact that the attack was on a mosque strongly suggests that this was a hate crime and an act of terrorism.
"This is the nightmare scenario that Canadian Muslims have been dreading."
The NCCM said there are "legitimate fears" that US President Donald Trump's so-called "Muslim ban" will lead to more hate and acts of violence.
Police have yet to comment on the incident or offer any suspected motive.
But a number of incidents of Islamophobia have been reported in Quebec in recent years.
A pig's head was left outside the same mosque in June last year 
The pig's head had a note reading "Bonne [sic] appetit" 
In June last year, a pig's head was left on the doorstep of the same mosque. It was wrapped in paper with a note reading "Bonne [sic] appetit".
A few weeks later a letter reading "What is the most serious: a pig's head or a genocide" was distributed in the neighbourhood.
In 2013, police investigated after a mosque in the Saguenay region of Quebec was splattered with what was believed to be pig blood.
In the neighboring province of Ontario, a mosque was set on fire in 2015, a day after an attack by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris.
On Saturday, Trudeau made a forceful attack on Trump's recent ban on refugees and immigrants from seven countries.
He made it clear America's neighbour Canada would continue to welcome immigrants.
Trudeau tweeted: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength"
In response to Sunday night's attack, police in cities such as Montreal and New York stationed officers around mosques to provide additional protection as a precaution.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: "Our prayers tonight are with the people of Quebec City as they deal with a terrible attack on a mosque. We must stand together."
He added: "NYPD is providing additional protection for mosques in the city. All New Yorkers should be vigilant. If you see something, say something."
After the shooting people around the world offered condolences, using the hashtag #JeSuisQuebec.
Yet as social media provided a forum to express solidarity, it was also used to spread fake reports or unconfirmed details of the tragedy.
Reports identifying the alleged gunmen or blaming Islamic extremists or white supremacists were dismissed as fake.
SOURCE: The Mirror UK