Van hits pedestrians in London, 'number of casualties' reported

Cheryl Sanders
June 19, 2017

One person was killed and eight others injured when a van was driven into people near a north London mosque shortly after they had just finished worshipping at the Finsbury Park mosque after breaking the Ramadan fast.

"Police were called just after 0020 hours (2320 GMT) 18 June to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians", police said in a statement. There has been one person arrested.

Harun Khan of the Muslim Council of Britain says eyewitness accounts and videos taken appear to show that a "white man in a van intentionally plowed into a group of worshippers who were already tending to someone who had been taken ill".

The mosque near Seven Sisters was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has become much more liberal in the past decade.

They killed eight people before being shot dead by police.

The chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque says the van crash that hit worshippers was a "cowardly attack" and urged Muslims going to mosques to be vigilant.

Scotland Yard said armed police were at the scene, with the investigation being carried out by Counter Terrorism Command and an extra officers deployed to reassure Muslims during Ramzan.

"Pull his head up, pull his head up", one man yells.

Theresa May has called upon an emergency meeting as she has confirmed the attack as a terror incident as a witness said that the driver shouted 'I want to kill all Muslims'.

Eyewitness Cynthia Vanzella said it was a mixed community, with people from many different countries and cultures.

People had been attending prayers in the area as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

- Imam Mohammed Mahmoud of the Muslim Welfare House stopped an angry crowd from turning on the van driver, telling the furious mob: "Do not touch him".

He was taken to a hospital as a precaution and will be taken into custody once discharged, police said.

Travellers who did with to use the station were being told to use the Station Place entrance, and not the Seven Sisters Road entrance, which was closed.

Todays incident followed a series of attacks in Britain.

Both Muslim Welfare House and the Finsbury Park Mosque are a short walk south of Finsbury Park train station. Its terror alert has been set at "severe", meaning an attack is highly likely.

Its former imam Abu Hamza, who preached there from 1997 to 2003, was sentenced to life in prison in NY on terrorism charges in 2015.

Prime Minister May said police were treating the van incident "as a potential terrorist attack".

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 rented auto into crowds on Westminster Bridge.

On March 22, a man drove a auto into pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead killing five people.

On May 22, a suicide attack killed 22 people and injured almost 60 after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

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