31 Jan 2017

Quebec mosque attack suspect charged with murder

1:17 pm on 31 January 2017

Canadian police have charged a French-Canadian student over the fatal shooting of six Muslim worshippers at a mosque in Quebec.

Six people were killed and eight wounded in the gun attack at the mosque during Sunday night prayers.

Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged with the murders of six people at a Quebec mosque.

Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged with the murders of six people at a Quebec mosque. Photo: Facebook

Alexandre Bissonnette was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder.

The 27-year-old is due to appear in Quebec City court over Sunday evening's attack, during evening prayers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre.

Vigils are being held across Canada to commemorate those killed and injured.

According to CBC News, Mr Bissonnette studied political science and anthropology at Laval University, whose campus is about 3km away from the mosque.

A man of Moroccan heritage who was also arrested after the attack, Mohamed Khadir, is now being treated as a witness.

More than 50 people were at the mosque when shots were fired.

Among those wounded, five were in critical condition in hospital. Twelve others sustained minor injuries, according to a University of Quebec Hospital Centre spokeswoman.

The dead were aged between about 35 and 65, Canadian authorities have confirmed.

quebec mosque shooting candle

People gathered to show their support for victims of the fatal shooting. Photo: AFP

Police have increased security efforts at all religious sites in the province, while 75 provincial officers were working on the case.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard both described the attack as a terrorist act.

The attack came as protests over US President Donald Trump's travel ban on several Muslim countries gripped the US.

When asked if Mr Trump's actions influenced the attack, Mr Couillard said no, but added: "We are obviously in a world where people tend to divide themselves rather than unite themselves".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attacks, saying "diversity is our strength". Photo: AFP

Quebec provincial police have released the names of all six victims who were killed:

* Father-of-three Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, a grocer and butcher

* Khaled Belkacemi, 60, a professor in the food science department at Laval University

* Father-of-three, Abdelkrim Hassen, 41, an IT worker for the government

* Aboubaker Thabti, 44, and two Guinean nationals, Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, and Ibrahima Barry, 39

- Reuters / BBC

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