Mosque attack: Zurich gunman wounds three

#Islamophobia

Police find body near mosque, and later call off search for attacker

In 2009, a nationwide vote in Switzerland backed a constitutional ban on new minarets (Reuters)
MEE and agencies's picture
Last update: 
Tuesday 20 December 2016 12:23 UTC
Topics: 

A man stormed into a Zurich mosque on Monday evening and opened fire on people praying, injuring three, Swiss police said.

They said they had collected evidence inside the building and would make more details available on Tuesday. They declined to comment on the potential motive.

Two of the three men  aged 30, 35 and 56 – were seriously injured in the attack shortly after 5.30pm local time near the main train station in Switzerland's financial capital, Zurich police said.

A third suffered less severe injuries. All three were brought to hospital.

The unidentified suspect, a man who according to witnesses was wearing dark clothing and a dark wool cap, fled the mosque, police said.

They added that a body had been found and the search for the attacker was called off on Tuesday morning,

"The dead man found around 300 metres from the scene of the crime after the shooting in the mosque is the suspect," a statement on a police website said.

People at the scene told Reuters the Islamic Centre on Zurich's Eisgasse was used as a mosque, often by Somalis.

"We never once had a problem," said Abukar Abshirow, a Somali who said he was a regular worshipper at the centre that attracted Muslims from around the world. "We never had anyone come and say why are you here. We never had that."

He added that the three victims were Somalis.

Two thirds of Switzerland's 8.3 million residents identify as Christian but the nation has been wrestling with the role of Islam as its Muslim population has risen to five percent, swelled by the arrival of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.

In 2009, a nationwide vote backed a constitutional ban on new minarets.

The shootings coincided with a truck ramming, suspected to be an attack, that killed 12 people in Berlin on Monday,