London police plead for calm after attack at mosque

Ivan Schwartz
June 19, 2017

The driver of a van ploughed into worshippers leaving the mosque at Finsbury Park on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring 10 others, reports Reuters.

Police raced to Seven Sisters Road near the Muslim Welfare House mosque and arrested a 48-year-old man - suspected to be the driver - who had been pinned down by heroic bystanders.

The Finsbury Park Mosque opened in 1994 and became a hotbed of Islamist militants, including Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman convicted of conspiring to kill Americans as part of the September 11, 2001, attacks, and Richard Reid, who attempted to down a US jetliner in late 2001 with explosives packed in his shoes. It drove into a crowd of worshippers helping an elderly man who had taken ill.

One person has been killed and 10 others injured in a terror attack by a van driver who reportedly screamed "I'm going to kill all Muslims" as he crashed into a group of pedestrians. Eight other people were taken to hospital, two of whom were seriously injured, he said. He's "been taken to hospital as a precaution", where he'll receive a mental health assessment, according to the statement.

Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: "I'm going to kill Muslims".

One resident told the Press Association he jumped out of the way as the van struck pedestrians.

Forensics officers are examining a white van which has Pontyclun Van Hire on it - a firm from Rhondda Cynon Taff in Wales.

Earlier, Prime Minister Theresa May said police were treating the van incident "as a potential terrorist attack".

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd says police "immediately" treated a fatal incident outside a London mosque as a suspected terrorist attack.

Mrs May said police would continue to assess the security needs of mosques and would provide whatever additional resources were needed.

Referring to her response to the London Bridge attack, he said: "As I said here two weeks ago, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years - and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia".

"We have been informed that a van has run over worshipers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque", the Muslim Council of Britain said on Twitter.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the incident a "horrific terror attack".

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May also called the incident a terror attack when she addressed reporters outside Downing Street Monday. Muslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehicle hit pedestrians, on June 19, 2017 .

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The attacker struck as the area was busy with worshippers who had been at Ramadan night prayers at Finsbury Park Mosque.

Shocking footage shows injured victims in the street while another man's head injury was treated with a makeshift dressing.

"We expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency". There were bodies around me.

"He [the attacker] tried to escape, they grabbed him, they pinned him down".

"They were very nervous, shouting very loud, trying desperately to make some signs to a police vehicle that was ... just passing the road", she told CNN. 'I want to kill Muslims'.

The police investigation into the incident is being carried out by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.

'This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship and, like all terrorism in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal.

Mohammed said that the man being held was white and had heavily tattooed arms and that he was not speaking.

It was panic, people were shouting, screaming, some saying it was an accident.

Police, including armed officers, could be seen manning a wide cordon around the area, while others searched the area with sniffer dogs.

"Ramadan is a time when Muslims are more visible and when there are larger congregations who attend late at night to pray after opening their fasts".

Ellie Goulding wrote: "Very sad to hear about the Finsbury Park terrorist incident".

Other reports by GizPress

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