Zurich mosque gun­man was Swiss, no Is­lamist link: Po­lice

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A gun­man who shot three wor­ship­pers in a Zurich mosque on Mon­day evening was a 24-year-old Swiss man with Ghana­ian roots and no ap­par­ent links to Is­lamist rad­i­cal­ism, po­lice said yes­ter­day. The sus­pect, whom they did not iden­tify by name, is thought to have killed an­other man in Zurich on Sun­day. He seems to have taken his own life shortly af­ter the mosque shoot­ing, whose mo­ti­va­tion re­mains a mys­tery, po­lice of­fi­cials said. “He is Swiss and we don’t know any­thing about the mo­tives,” Chris­tiane Len­t­jes Meili, head of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions for the Zurich can­tonal po­lice, told a news con­fer­ence.

The gun­man from the nearby town of Uster had stormed into the Is­lamic cen­tre near the main train sta­tion in Switzer­land’s fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal and opened fire on peo­ple pray­ing, wound­ing three men, whose con­di­tion was said to be im­prov­ing on Tues­day. His body was found soon af­ter­wards around 300 me­ters away. He ap­pears to have shot him­self, po­lice said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were still puz­zling over what set off the deadly chain of events. The man - whose last run-in with the law was as a bike thief seven years ago - had quit his job in a shop on Fri­day. There were in­di­ca­tions that the man had taken an in­ter­est in oc­cult sci­ences, Len­t­jes Meili said, ad­ding it was not clear at this stage whether he was men­tally ill. Two days later he is sus­pected of killing a man with South Amer­i­can roots he seems to have been ac­quainted with and leav­ing the body in a play­ground in Zurich. The may­hem con­tin­ued when he en­tered the mosque af­ter dusk on Mon­day, armed with a gun for which he had a per­mit.

“We are still wait­ing to see if that per­son was tar­get­ing us or if it was a co­in­ci­dence that brought him to us. Ev­ery­thing is open,” Saad Subaan from the Zurich Is­lamic Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion told re­porters af­ter the me­dia con­fer­ence. The vic­tims are aged 30, 35 and 56. Two of them were se­ri­ously in­jured in the attack, a rare case of gun vi­o­lence in Switzer­land, while a third sus­tained less se­vere in­juries.

“All Mus­lims are of course shocked that peo­ple pray­ing came un­der fire,” On­der Gunes, spokesman for the Fed­er­a­tion of Is­lamic Or­ga­ni­za­tions in Switzer­land, said be­fore the shooter’s back­ground be­came known. “This would be equally shock­ing if done by a Mus­lim, Chris­tians, Hin­dus or any other re­li­gious group,” he said, ad­ding: “We all have to stand to­gether for peace. This can­not be al­lowed to es­ca­late.” Switzer­land, where two-thirds of the 8.3 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion iden­tify as Chris­tian, has been wrestling with the role of Is­lam as its Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion has risen to 5 per­cent. In 2009, a na­tion­wide vote backed a con­sti­tu­tional ban on new minarets. — Reuters

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