Zurich mosque gunman was Swiss, no Islamist link: Police

A man who shot three people as they were praying in a mosque in the Swiss city of Zurich on Monday was found dead near the crime scene, police said on Tuesday.
A man storms into a Zurich mosque and opens fire on people praying, injuring three.VIDEO: REUTERS
Three people were injured in the Swiss city of Zurich after a shooting at an Islamic centre, a local newspaper has reported.
Three people were injured in the Swiss city of Zurich after a shooting at an Islamic centre, a local newspaper has reported.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

GENEVA (AFP, REUTERS) - A gunman who shot three worshippers in a Zurich mosque on Monday evening was a 24-year-old Swiss man with no apparent links to Islamic radicalism, police said on Tuesday (Dec 20).

The man, whom they did not identify by name, is thought to have killed another man in Zurich on Sunday. He appeared to taken his own life shortly after the mosque shooting, police officials told a news conference.

Earlier on Tuesday, Swiss police said they had found the body the suspect who carried out the attack. “We assume that the dead person we found is the perpetrator of the shooting at the Islamic centre in Zurich,” Zurich police said in a tweet.

The body was found after a search for the shooter near the scene.

The attack on Monday evening is not believed to be linked to the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) movement. 

The man, said to be around 30 years old, had burst into the Islamic Centre in central Zurich around 5.30pm local time on Monday (12.30am Singapore Tuesday) and began shooting, according to police.

He “fired several shots at the worshippers,” before fleeing, police said.

Most of those at the Islamic Centre were from North Africa, Somalia and Eritrea, according to the ATS news agency.

“Three men, aged 30, 35 and 56, were injured, some seriously. The suspect then escaped from the mosque in the direction of Central Station,” an earlier police statement said.

A police spokesman told the RTS public broadcaster that the youngest and oldest victims were both seriously injured, while the 35-year-old was slightly hurt in the shooting.

Police had immediately launched a manhunt for the shooter, using torches and sniffer dogs, and urged witnesses to come forward.

Around a dozen people were inside the prayer hall at the time of shooting, ATS reported, citing people there, adding that a prayer service had been scheduled for 4.45pm.

A number of Swiss mosques, including one near Zurich and the main one in Geneva, have in recent months been accused in media of allowing or encouraging the radicalisation of their worshippers, especially younger members of their congregations.

Switzerland, a country of some eight million people, has some 450,000 Muslims, according to Swiss media.