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Suspect held in deadly Quebec mosque shooting

A few dozen people were inside the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City when the shooting began just after 8:00 pm

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Canadian police have said only one of two men initially detained in connection to a Quebec City mosque shooting - which killed six people - is now considered a suspect.

The second man, who was initially reported as a second suspect, was now considered a witness.

Local Canadian media outlets have been reporting that two Algerians, a Moroccan, Tunisian and two others from African countries were among those killed on Monday when a shooting targeted a mosque in Quebec City.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the shooting in Quebec a "terrorist attack on Muslims".

"We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge," Trudeau said. "Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, city and country."

Two suspects in the shooting were arrested so far, a Quebec police spokesman said.

A Reuters eyewitness saw heavily armed tactical police entering the mosque. Police spokesman Etienne Doyon declined to say whether there was a gunman inside the mosque.

Police did not rule out the possibility of a third suspect who had fled the scene.

The motive of the attack was not immediately clear.

A few dozen people were inside the Islamic Cultural Center when the shooting began just after 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Monday), CBC reported, citing its French-language service Radio-Canada.

Trudeau quickly took to social media to express his condolences.

"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.

He later said on Twitter that he spoke to Quebec's premier and was being briefed by officials. The prime minister said the government had offered "any & all assistance needed."

Police set up a perimeter around the mosque where the shooting attack took place after evening prayers. According to witnesses cited by Radio-Canada, two men entered the center and opened fire on the people inside.

Quebec's prime minister, Philippe Couillard, said in a series of Twitter posts that the government was "mobilized to ensure the security of the people of Quebec."

"Quebec categorically rejects this barbarous violence," he wrote. "Solidarity with Quebec people of Muslim faith."

The Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, which is also known as the grand mosque of Quebec, had already been the target of hate: a pig's head was left on the doorstep last June during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

(AFP and Reuters)