Van Rams Pedestrians In London, 1 Dead, PM Theresa May Says ‘Potential Terror Attack’
A van has started pedestrians near a London mosque Monday morning, killing one man and wounding eight others in which Prime Minister Theresa May says it is “a potential terrorist attack.”
The driver of the truck 48, was arrested by members of the public and then detained by police. Muslim leaders said worshipers are specifically heading after prayers outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London shortly after midnight and have linked the incident to a recent rise in hate crimes against Muslims.
Witness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP that the van “has taken people” and some of the victims were transported for several meters along the road.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was a “terrible terrorist attack,” which he called “deliberate” and was “innocent luvois, many of whom ended the prayer during the holy month of Ramadan.”
He may have had to hold an emergency ministerial meeting on Monday to discuss the attack.
London AFP Mosque
Muslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park neighborhood, north of London, after a vehicle hits pedestrians.
It comes after two Islamist attacks fatally this year using pedestrian vehicles caught – one earlier this month in the London Bridge area and a March attack in which a man was driving a car in the crowd at the Westminster Bridge.
A witness, Abdul Rahman, told the BBC that he saw the van “deliberately ran about 10 or 15 people.” Rahman said he and another man fought the suspect on the ground and held him for 20 to 30 minutes before the police arrived.
A police statement said: “A man was pronounced dead on the scene … Eight injured were transferred to three different hospitals.”
Two other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Police said the male driver was also taken to hospital as a precaution and was to receive a mental health assessment.
The amateur video footage seen by AFP showed at least three people lying on the ground, one of whom was given word of mouth.
“Due to the nature of the incident, additional police resources have been deployed to reassure communities, especially those who use Ramadan,” said the police.
Police Reuters London
Police attended the scene after a vehicle crosses pedestrians in Finsbury Park, London. (Reuters)
Prayers on the sidewalk
The Muslim Council of Great Britain (MCB), a body that groups British Muslims, said the incident took place outside the Muslim welfare home on the Seven Sisters Road, near the Finsbury park mosque.
“In recent weeks and months, Muslims have had many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent event to date,” said Harun Khan, leader of the MCB.
AFP reporters saw a helicopter hovering over the area and several emergency vehicles blocking a section of Seven Sisters Road, a fierce way.
Police, including armed agents, could be considered a broad cord around the area. Others searched the area with tracking dogs.
A group of Muslim men pray on the sidewalk nearby. Traffic was shut down along a one-kilometer stretch of road.
‘The violence of evil’
The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a notorious center for radical Islamists, but has totally changed in recent years under new leadership.
His former imam Abu Hamza was jailed in New York on terrorism charges in 2015.
He preached there from 1997 to 2003 before being imprisoned for instigating violence. He was later extradited to the United States.
In 2015, the mosque was one of 20 people who attended an open day organized by the MCB to promote a better understanding of Islam in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Islam in Paris.
Despite the change of leadership and a new direction in interreligious relations, the mosque reported that it had received a series of e-mails and letters threatening the terrorist attacks in Paris.