LIVE BLOG: One man dies after suspected terror attack near London mosque
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (AFP)
A van ran into pedestrians near a north London mosque, killing one man and injuring eight others in an incident that police on Monday said was being investigated by counter-terrorism officers.
The 48-year-old driver of the van was detained by members of the public and then arrested by police. A witness told Sky News that the alleged attacker was surrounded by an angry crowd, but was protected by the imam of the mosque. Muslim leaders said worshippers were specifically targeted after leaving prayers at the mosque shortly after midnight.
Witness Abdulrahman told the Press Association that the suspected attacker made statements showing he intentionally drove into the crowd: “I managed to get the driver of the van when he came out of his van. He wanted to run away and was saying, ‘I want to kill Muslims’."
The incident comes after two deadly Islamist-inspired attacks this year that used vehicles to ram pedestrians -- a stabbing spree earlier this month in the London Bridge area and a March attack in which a man drove a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge.
"One man was pronounced dead at the scene... Eight people injured were taken to three separate hospitals," police said in a statement, adding that two other people were treated for minor injuries. Witnesses at the scene said the man who died was already lying on the sidewalk and being treated for an undisclosed illness when the van drove at the crowd. Authorities did not say whether the man died as a result of the attack.
Eyewitness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP: "He just drove at people. Some of them he took a few meters (along the road)."
Police said the driver had also been taken to hospital and would receive a mental health assessment.
"Due to the nature of this incident, extra policing resources have been deployed in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan," the police statement concluded.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body for British Muslims, said the incident occurred outside the Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road, near the Finsbury Park mosque.
Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, said the van had "intentionally" run over people who were leaving prayers held during the holy month of Ramadan.
Prime Minister Theresa May condemned it as a "terrible incident" that was being treated "as a potential terrorist attack".
"I will chair an emergency meeting later this morning. All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene," she said in a statement on Monday.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was "totally shocked" and had been in touch with mosques and police. The area is in Corbyn's Islington North constituency.
Speaking outside her Downing Street residence, May said the attack was "a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms and our determination to tackle them must be the same, whoever is responsible".
“An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions and all people and faiths must stand together against terror.”
Far right facists&Islamist terrorists are driven by same hatred of difference, same ideology of supremacy&use same tactics.We'll defeat both— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) June 19, 2017
"He has been taken to hospital as a precaution, and will be taken into custody once discharged. He will also be subject of a mental health assessment in due course.
"At this early stage of this investigation, no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police, however the investigation continues.
"Due to the nature of this incident extra policing resources have been deployed in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan."