One killed as van hits worshippers near London mosque
London: One person was killed and eight others were injured after a van rammed into a crowd of worshippers near a north London mosque, police said on Monday.
A 48-year-old man was arrested following the collision just after midnight near Finsbury Park Mosque in Seven Sisters Road, reports the BBC.
“The driver of the van was found detained by members of public at the scene and then arrested…He has been taken to hospital, and will be taken into custody once discharged,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The statement said no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police.
“Due to the nature of this incident extra policing resources have been deployed in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan,” the Guardian quoted the statement as saying.
Prime minister Theresa May condemned the incident and said police are treating it “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 added.
According to the Muslim Council of Britain, the van “intentionally ploughed into a group of worshippers who were already tending to someone who had been taken ill.”
Harun Khan, the Council’s secretary general said: “It appears from eye witness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.”
“Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date,” the Guardian quoted Khan as saying.
An eyewitness told the BBC how he jumped out the way of the van as it struck.
“I was shocked. There were bodies around me…Thank God I just moved to the side.”
Another witness who lives in a flat on Seven Sisters Road said she saw people “shouting and screaming”.
“There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park Mosque that seems to have hit people who were coming out of the mosque after prayers finished.”
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Twitter: “I’m totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park.
“I’ve been in touch with the mosques, police…My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event.”
Finsbury Park is a diverse London suburb situated a few kilometres north of the city centre.
It is home to a wide variety of nationalities and is the centre of London’s Algerian population.