Questions remain Police say no terror links to Zurich mosque gunman

Around 80 people were gathered at the Islamic centre on Monday evening

Around 80 people were gathered at the Islamic centre on Monday evening

(Keystone)

Police say the man responsible for the shooting incident at the Zurich Islamic Centre on Monday evening was a 24-year-old Swiss with Ghanaian roots. They said there appears to be no link to radical groups. The man's motive for the mosque shooting and a separate murder on Sunday remains unclear.

Three worshippers at the mosque were injured in Monday's attack. The perpetrator appears to have later committed suicide, Zurich cantonal police said on Tuesday afternoon at a special press conference. His body was found close to the mosque, near the Sihl river in Zurich.

Zurich cantonal police added later in a short tweet that there was no evidence that the perpetrator was linked to so-called Islamic State. This was confirmed again at the press conference on Tuesday, in which it was also stated that there was no indication of a radical Islamist background to the attack. 

Police also said the man had no connections to the Islamic Centre – a view reiterated by worshipper Mustafa Abdi, who knows the three injured men, to swissinfo.ch on Tuesday in Zurich.

The man's motive and the whole background to the incident remain unclear, police added. They also said that the dead man had been linked to the killing of a 24-year-old friend, who was originally from Chile, discovered early on Sunday morning on a Zurich playground with multiple stab wounds. Police had been looking for him using DNA traces left at the scene of the crime. The police had been able to use a previous DNA sample taken during his run-in with the law as a bike thief seven years ago.

"Extremely scared"

At 5.30pm on Monday the man entered the mosque and shot multiple times at several people who were gathered for prayers, police explained. Two Somali men, aged 30 and 35 were seriously injured. A third man, who is Swiss and aged 56, sustained less severe injuries. All three were taken to hospital and are said to be in a stable condition.

There were reports that around 80 people were gathered at the centre. Normally, only a dozen people are present at that time.

The Zurich Islamic Centre is located at Eisgasse 6, in district four of the city, close to Zurich’s main railway station, a college and a shopping area. It is mainly used by Muslims from Somalia and North Africa.

A worshipper told the NZZ newspaper: "We are extremely scared. Our children visit the mosque every weekend. I wonder whether we are still safe here."

The suspect fled the scene after the shooting, prompting a manhunt by city and cantonal police.

The offender lived in the town of Uster in canton Zurich; police say he appears to have had a strong interest in the occult. He also quit his job in a shop on Friday.

Saad Subaan, a spokesman for the Zurich Islamic Centre, told reporters after the media conference that the man in question was not known to the centre, nor was it clear what the link between the man and his victims was. Subaan said he did not know if the motive had anything to do with Islam or not.

Further investigations are being carried outexternal link by the public prosecutor's office for violent crime and Zurich cantonal police. More information will be released once this work is concluded.

Police are appealing for any witnesses who were in the area at the time to contact themexternal link with any information. 

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swissinfo.ch and agencies/JF/ilj/sb

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