May says thoughts with mosque victims

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2017

London, Jun 19 A van hit pedestrians near a mosque in north London today causing injuries to several people, following which the vehicle's driver was arrested, police said.

"There has been one person arrested". Police have said the driver was a 48-year-old man who was arrested and taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Some witnesses at the scene said more than one attacker may have been involved.But the Met said: "At this early stage of this investigation, no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police, however the investigation continues".

"An advance trauma team from London's Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by auto", the statement said.

The Muslim Council of Britain claimed on Twitter it "had been informed that a van has run over worshippers" as they left the mosque. The attack comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when people attend prayers at night.

"From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside".

The Muslim Council of Britain said the vehicle hit people as they were leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque, one of Britain's largest.

Abdikadar Warfa said: "I saw a man underneath the van".

Chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, Mohammed Kozbar has tweeted about the incident. On May 22, a suicide attack killed 22 people and injured almost 60 after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Eight injured were sent to three separate hospitals and two others were treated at the scene.

"I will chair an emergency meeting later this morning".

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with those injured in "this awful incident".

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The van, driven by a 48-year old man, rammed into a crowd of people as they were leaving the mosque after nightly prayers. The incident comes at a time when emotions are high in England, where there have been several recent terrorist attacks.

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MCB deputy head Miqdaad Versi said the incident happened "outside the Muslim Welfare House", which is on Seven Sisters Road near the mosque.

The area is in Corbyn's Islington North constituency.

CNN followed up with confirmation that ambulance services arrived on Seven Sisters Road.

Police, including armed officers, could be seen manning a wide cordon around the area. Others searched the area with sniffer dogs. They were gathering in Seven Sisters Road.

In 1997-2004, infamous cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri used to preach in Finsbury Park Mosque.

Its former imam Abu Hamza was jailed for life in NY on terrorism charges in 2015. In 2011, his prison sentence came to an end but he wasn't released as the United States demanded his extradition.

The attacks were a factor in campaigning ahead of the June 8 election, with May criticised for overseeing a drop of 20,000 in the number of police officers in England and Wales as interior minister from 2010 to 2016.

There are reportedly a number of casualties following the incident outside the mosque.

"According to eyewitnesses this was a deliberate attack against innocent Muslims going about their life". It appears from eyewitness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia. Vanzella said there have been no conflict among the groups in the past.

"We urge all to remain calm and do their utmost not to inflame an already volatile and distressing situation", it said in a statement.

Other reports by GizPress

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