At least one person has been killed and eight others wounded after a vehicle ran over pedestrians close to two mosques in a north London neighbourhood, UK police have said.
The 48-year-old driver of the van was detained by bystanders and later arrested by police after the incident in Finsbury Park, which was investigated by the UK’s Counter Terrorism Command.
Witnesses said the van veered off the road into worshippers leaving Ramadan prayers on Seven Sisters Road.
“Police were called just after 0020hrs [23:20 GMT] … to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians,” they said in a statement, calling the incident “major”.
“There are a number of casualties being worked on at the scene,” police said, adding that the driver of the van had also been taken to hospital.
|Police blocked off the road near Finsbury Park station [Thomas Van Hulle/social media via Reuters]|
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it had been “informed” that a van had run over worshippers as they left a mosque in Finsbury Park.
— MCB (@MuslimCouncil) June 19, 2017
Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB, said on Twitter that he was “shocked and outraged to hear” that a van had “intentionally run over worshippers” leaving Ramadan night prayers on Seven Sisters Road.
Al Jazeera’s Ben Rayner, reporting from Finsbury Park, said a police line had blocked off the typically busy road as about 100 people gathered nearby.
“There are two mosques in this Finsbury Park area – the Finsbury Park Mosque and another mosque just around the corner on Seven Sisters Road – and it appears that a number of people, worshippers, coming out of the mosque were badly injured,” Rayner said.
“We don’t know exactly the motivation yet,” he added, noting that Finsbury Park is “well known as an area with a large Muslim population”.
|Men pray after a vehicle struck pedestrians near a mosque in the Finsbury Park area of north London [Neil Hall/Reuters]|
Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, said this was “a serious incident, maybe a terrorist incident, which affects a lot of people” in this part of London.
“We are in the last 10 days of [the Muslim holy fasting month of] Ramadan and a lot of people come to the mosque to pray the late prayer,” he told Al Jazeera.
“These people who have been attacked were the people who just left the mosque … but we don’t know whether they are all from the Muslim community – I assume that there are other casualties and victims who maybe are not even Muslim.”
Local resident Hillary Briffa told Al Jazeera that “the mood on the street is very agitated”.
“I reached the white van that had been pulled over and there was a man that had just been arrested and a lot of men had gathered around and shouting ‘why would you do this?'”
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said he was “totally shocked at the incident”.
I’m totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight. http://pic.twitter.com/1ffKijNs73
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 19, 2017
London Ambulance Service tweeted that a number of resources had arrived at the scene.
“Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital,” it said in a statement.
|Emergency services arrived at the scene near Finsbury Park station [Ritvik Carvalho/Reuters]|
Source: Al Jazeera News