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Gunman opens fire at Sydney Catholic primary school

A man was arrested after opening fire within a south-western Sydney primary school, forcing the evacuation of two surrounding schools.

Police said they were alerted to reports of gunfire at St Mary's Star of the Sea, in Hurstville at 7:51 am yesterday.

A short time later State Protection Group officers took a man aged in his thirties into custody.

Superintendent Paul Lowe said there were no children in the school at the time and it was believed clerical staff on site were not caught up in the incident.

Supt Lowe could not confirm how many bullets were fired from within the small classroom or if the gunman had an intended victim.

"It's identified that several shots were fired," he said. "It has not been identified that he discharged it at any particular person. No other persons have been located on the premises." Supt Lowe said it was not a hostage situation at any time and it was not yet understood what the gunman's motives were.

"He was rambling and he did not discharge the firearm in the presence of police," Supt Lowe said.