Gunman wounds 3 in Zurich mosque rampage, motive unclear

ZURICH (Reuters) - 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 5:30 p.m. local time (1630 GMT) near the main train station in Switzerland's financial capital,Zurich police said.

Photos from the scene:

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Zurich mosque rampage
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police stand outside an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Police patrol near an Islamic center in central Zurich, Switzerland December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
A police car is parked outside a Muslim prayer hall, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / Michael Buholzer (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
A Swiss policeman enters the Islamic Center in central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire in the Muslim prayer hall. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss police walk behind a police cordon outside a Muslim prayer hall at the Eis-Gasse street, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss police are seen behind police cordon outside a Muslim prayer hall, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss police stand behind a police cordon outside a Muslim prayer hall at the Eis-Gasse street, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss police officers are seen searching the area near a Muslim prayer hall, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss police officers are seen searching the area near a Muslim prayer hall, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss police are seen outside a Muslim prayer hall, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. A man burst into a Muslim prayer hall in the Swiss city of Zurich on December 19 and started shooting, injuring three men, according to police, who have launched a manhunt for the shooter. A body was found a few hundred metres (yards) from the scene, an AFP photographer said, but it was unclear if it was connected to the shooting, which took place inside the city's Islamic Centre, near the central station. At around 5:30 pm (1630 GMT), an unknown person entered the Islamic Centre, where several worshippers were gathered, and began shooting, Zurich police said in a statement. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Ambulance and police cars are seen outside a Muslim prayer hall, central Zurich, on December 19, 2016, after three people were injured by gunfire. Local media reported the incident occurred in the Muslim prayer hall near the city's railway station. Swiss media said the three wounded people, all adults, were found in the street where the prayer hall is located. The suspected assailant had fled the scene and police sealed off the area. / AFP / MICHAEL BUHOLZER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BUHOLZER/AFP/Getty Images)
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A third sustained less severe injuries. All three were brought to hospital.

The unidentified suspect, a man around 30 years old who according to witnesses was wearing dark clothing and a dark wool cap, fled the mosque, police said.

Police said a body was found nearby but would not comment on any link to the shootings while investigations continued.

People at the scene told Reuters the Islamic Center 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 center that attracted Muslims from around the world.

"We never had anyone come and say why are you here. We never had that," Abshirow said. He said 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 5 percent, swelled by the arrival of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.

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

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland said the center was not a member and it did not have any direct knowledge of the incident.

(Additional reporting by Arnd Wiegmann; Writing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Alison Williams and Anna Willard)

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