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Student charged with 6 counts of murder after Canada mosque attack


Canada

Student charged with 6 counts of murder after Canada mosque attack

*NB: an updated version of this story is available here.*


  • 27-year-old charged with 6 counts of murder
  • Alexandre Bissonnette also charged with 5 counts of attempted murder
  • A “lone wolf” attack – police
  • “This was a terrorist attack” – PM Trudeau


A 27-year-old man has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder in connection with a shooting at a mosque in Canada.

Alexandre Bissonnette has also been charged with five counts of attempted murder in relation to the attack in Quebec that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “an act of terrorism”.

12 people have been treated for “minor injuries”.



Critical condition



Five people were seriously injured and remain in intensive care.

A spokeswoman for the Québec City University Hospital said three were in a critical condition.

Another 12 people have been treated for “minor injuries”.



Second arrest



Officials say a man of Moroccan descent who had also been arrested is now considered a witness.

His nationality status is not clear.



A “lone wolf” attack



Police declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting, which happened at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.

Officers say they are confident no other suspects were involved in the attack.

“They consider this a lone wolf situation,” the source said.

The suspect appeared in court in Québec on Monday afternoon.



What did the Prime Minister say?



Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons in Ottawa:“Make no mistake, this was a terrorist attack.”

He added a personal message to Canada’s one million Muslims:

“Know that we value you. You enrich our shared country in immeasurable ways. It is your home. Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and against all Canadians.”

“We will grieve with you. We will defend you. We will love you. And we will stand with you.”





Is this kind of attack unusual in Québec?



Yes, very.

The city, which has 500,000 inhabitants, reported just two murders in the whole of 2015.

Mass shootings are rare in Canada, where gun control laws are stricter than in the United States.





Condolences



Vigils are planned for Montreal and Québec City, the provincial capital, as well as in Edmonton.

Messages of support have been posted on social media platforms.

“Citizens for Public Justice”, a group of Canadian Christians, churches and other religious congregations, expressed their solidarity with the Muslim community of Québec City.

“Last night’s shooting, targeting people of faith during their worship and prayer, is a deplorable attack on all Canadians and our most deeply-held values,” said the group’s executive director, Joe Gunn.



Trump



The US president called Justin Trudeau to express his condolences “and offered to provide any assistance as needed,” said Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad.

Over the weekend, Trudeau said Canada would welcome refugees.

This was his response to an executive order by Trump on Friday to halt the US refugee programme and temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.