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LIVE BLOG: One man dies after suspected terror attack near London mosque

Police patrol the Finsbury Park area in north London, early on June 19, 2017
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (AFP)
Local imam protected suspected attacker from angry crowd until police arrived on scene

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’."

Yui Mok/PA via AP

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)."

Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (AFP)

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.

Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (AFP)

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.

'Terrible incident'

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.

Monday 19 June 2017
12:47 PM
Suspect in attack was not known to security services, UK Security minister says
10:51 AM
Prime Minister Theresa May condemns Finsbury Park terror attack as "every bit as sickening" as other recent terrorist outrages.

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".
8:36 AM
The European Jewish Congress has condemned the attack: “This is an unconscionable attack on Muslim worshippers during their holy month of Ramadan,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said. “We condemn this attack and its attempt to escalate tensions in the UK and we stand firmly besides our Muslim brothers and sisters in the aftermath of this attack.”
“An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions and all people and faiths must stand together against terror.”
8:34 AM
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is also the MP for the area, has said he will be attending prayers at the Finsbury Park mosque later today
7:56 AM
Counter-terrorism police coordinator Neil Basu told reporters: "All the victims were from the Muslim community."
7:41 AM
Police say the man who died at the scene may have taken ill before van-ramming happened as he was already receiving first aid before the incident.
7:24 AM
London Metropolitan Police: Driver arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
7:17 AM
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News that mosques can receive further funds for security: “We will always make sure that everybody is protected. We have a places of worship fund which is there to protect places of worship like mosques and we will make sure that we do all we can to reduce these sort of attacks. We have made available £2.5m last summer, I recently announced who would be getting those additional funds, which included 12 mosques and I have reopened it recently to make sure that any additional place of worship that feels the need can apply for extra security.”
7:07 AM
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’."
6:44 AM
Organizations monitoring extremist jihadi sites online, report that the incident outside a London mosque is being used to incite and call for future attacks
5:53 AM
Police confirm that they are not looking for any further suspects in the attack
5:34 AM
The Jewish Community Center in North London has tweeted in solidarity following the incident outside a mosque
5:24 AM
Witnesses told Sky News that an imam protected the suspected attacker from an angry crowd. The Muslim Welfare House, where the attack took place, thanked imam Mohammed Mahmoud “whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injury and loss of life.”
5:14 AM
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says extra police officers will be deployed in the city
5:12 AM
MSNBC reports that the NYPD is sending extra officers to mosques in New York following incident in London
4:41 AM
Witnesses have told Sky News that there were three people in the van, however police said no further suspects had been identified beyond the arrested driver
4:40 AM
Muhbeen Hussain, founder of British Muslim Youth, told the BBC that "in many ways this [attack] was inevitable." However he praised the response of emergency services: "People are very thankful the police are there and doing their duty as well."
4:34 AM
The incident took place outside the Muslim Welfare House in London, which the night before had hosted a unity event as part of the "Great Get Together" event in honor of Jo Cox, the British MP murdered in 2016 by a man with connections to far-right organizations. Cox's widow tweeted his response to the incident:
4:24 AM
Some witnesses reportedly said that the driver of the van had a knife, however police have said there were no knife injuries reported
4:22 AM
PM Theresa May said police are treating the incident “as a potential terrorist attack”, adding: “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.”
4:14 AM
An investigation is now being carried out by the Counter Terrorism Command. A spokesperson for the police said: "The driver of the van - a man aged 48 - was found detained by members of public at the scene and then arrested by police in connection with the incident.

"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."
4:12 AM
The Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organization, has called the event a "violent manifestation of Islamophobia"

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