A vehicle rammed into pedestrians near a north London mosque, killing one man and injuring ten others in an incident that police on Monday said was being investigated by counter-terrorism officers.
Eyewitness said the attacker, deliberately targeting worshippers leaving the mosque after midnight, shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims” as he rammed his vehicle into the pedestrians.
The van had swerved towards the people outside the Finsbury Park Mosque just as they began to assist an elderly man, who had collapsed.
“He turned left into the alleyway, and he just drove at people,” eyewitness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP.
Locals then pounced on the attacker and pinned him down while waiting for the police to arrive. As people seized him, the attacker continued to shout “I want to kill all Muslim.”
The 48-year-old man was arrested by the police on suspicion of attempted murder.
“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.
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.
“We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left Finsbury Park Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims,” the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, said on Twitter.
Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, said the van had “intentionally” run over people leaving night prayers for the holy month of Ramadan.
“From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. … Everybody was shouting: ‘A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people’,” one woman who lives opposite the scene told the BBC.
“There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park mosque that seemed to have hit people who were coming out after prayers had finished. I didn’t see the attacker himself, although he seems to have been arrested, but I did see the van.”
One witness told CNN it was clear that the attacker at Finsbury Park had deliberately targeted Muslims.
“He tried to kill a lot of people so obviously it’s a terrorist attack. He targeted Muslims this time,” the witness, identified only as Rayan, said.
“We saw lots of people shouting and lots of people injured,” David Robinson, 41, who arrived just after the accident, told AFP.
The London Ambulance Service said: “We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene.
“Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure that those most in need are treated first and taken to hospital.”—AFP