A shooting at a Quebec City mosque left at least five dead and more wounded during evening prayers on Sunday, according to local reports.
Two were arrested after police and paramedics swarmed the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec in the suburban community of Sainte-Foy following reports of gunfire at the Canadian mosque around 8:30 p.m., according to the Montreal Gazette.
Quebec authorities did not immediately confirm the number of deaths or those wounded.
La Presse reports police began investigating the shooting as a terrorist attack.
A witness told Reuters that three gunmen opened fire on about 40 worshippers inside the mosque during prayer.
The mosque’s leader Mohamed Yanqui learned of the attack through frantic phone calls.
“Why is this happening here? This is barbaric,” Yangui told reporters.
Last year in June, mosque officials said a pig’s head was left at their cultural center’s doorstep.
The mosque turned to Facebook to detail the moments after the attack, showing flashing emergency lights and medics crowding around a victim amid piles of snow. A woman can be heard crying.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard casted the shooting as “barbaric.”
Earlier on Sunday, the provincial leader distanced himself from a controversial refugee ban that sparked mass protests in the United States and prompted U.S. Customs and Border Protections to deport travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“No matter our origins, the color of our skin, our beliefs or who we love, Quebec will always be home,” he wrote.
In similar remarks, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed solidarity with members of the mosque.
“Tonight, Canadians mourn victims of the cowardly attack in a mosque of Quebec. My thoughts are with the victims and their families,” Trudeau said.
The attack prompted Canadian authorities to increase patrols outside mosques in Quebec and Montreal as police began investigating the assault as a terrorist attack.
In New York, the NYPD also dispatched additional officers to mosques in response to the attack.
This is a developing story and will be updated.