Police treating van attack on worshippers near Finsbury Park mosque as terrorism

Police have confirmed that they are treating as terrorism an attack on a group of Muslim worshippers near a mosque by a man in a white van.

An armed police officer at a cordon in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park, where one person has been arrested after a vehicle struck pedestrians

 

One man died after the driver, described as a large white man, targeted people near the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early on Monday.

The Press Association reported that witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: “I’m going to kill Muslims”.

The attack was carried out as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque.

“This is being treated as a terrorist attack,” Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said. He said eight people are in hospital and two others were treated at the scene. Mr Basu confirmed that all of the casualties were Muslims.

He said: “The attack unfolded whilst a man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene; sadly, he has died.

“Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation,” Mr Basu said. “It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack.”

A witness who wanted to be identified as Abdulrahman, which is not his real name, told the Press Association: “I managed to get the driver of the van.

“He wanted to run away and was saying ‘I want to kill Muslims’.

“So he came back to the main road and I managed to get him to the ground and me and some other guys managed to hold him until the police arrived, for about 20 minutes I think, until the police arrived.”

Mr Basu thanked members of the public who detained the driver, saying “their restraint in the circumstances was commendable”. The driver has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Mr Basu added: ” Given the methodology and given what was occurring, what’s happened, the tragic incidents across the country, this had all the hallmarks of a terrorist incident.

“That is why the counter-terrorism command were called out to investigate.”

Both the Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent their condolences to victims of the suspected terror attack on Muslims in Finsbury Park.
Ms May described the attack as a “terrible incident”.

“All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene,” she added.

The Labour leader said he was “shocked by this horrific and cruel attack in Finsbury Park.”

“I offer my condolences to the family and friends of the man who has died, and our thoughts are with the people who have been injured, their family and friends,” he said.

Mr Corbyn who is the local MP, said he had met with Muslim community leaders at the Muslim Welfare House alongside Islington Council Leader Richard Watts, the council’s Chief Executive Lesley Seary and the Metropolitan Police.

“Richard and I will attend prayers at Finsbury Park mosque later today. I appeal for people and the media to remain calm and respectful of those affected. In the meantime, I call on everyone to stand together against those who seek to divide us,” Mr Corbyn said.