Van hits pedestrians in ‘terror attack’ near London mosque
A man driving a van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians near a Muslim community centre in north London in what police are treating as a terrorist attack. The Muslim Council of Britain said the attack,
A man driving a van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians near a Muslim community centre in north London in what police are treating as a terrorist attack.
The Muslim Council of Britain said the attack, which occurred shortly after midnight on Monday morning, came as worshippers were leaving the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque, which was ending late-night prayers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
One man was declared dead at the scene, though police said it was unclear if he was killed by the van. Ten others were hurt, with police saying two had suffered life-threatening injuries. All the victims were Muslim, police said.
A 48-year-old white man was arrested, said police, who were called to the area at 21 minutes after midnight after receiving reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on Seven Sisters Road. Several witnesses to the attack said the man, who was detained by locals until police arrived, shouted: “I want to kill Muslims”.
The incident comes just two weeks after three Islamists drove a van through pedestrians near London Bridge in south-east London; the knife-wielding attackers went on a rampage, killing eight and injuring 48. Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said no knives were used in the Finsbury Park attack.
After chairing an emergency meeting of security services, Theresa May, prime minister, said the authorities believe the attacker acted alone. “This was attack on Muslims near their place of worship,” Mrs May said at Downing Street. “Like all terrorism in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal . . . to break the bonds of solidarityand citizenship that we share in this country”.
Police said the unidentified assailant, who they believe was the only attacker in the van despite witness accounts of others, was taken to hospital for a mental health assessment. Mr Basu, the Met’s top counter-terrorism co-ordinator, said the man had been arrested “on suspicion of attempted murder”.
“The man they arrested, he was waving at people. He looked happy, he looked proud of what he did,” said Athmane Touami, who lives in the area.