One Killed, Eight Injured as Van Hits Worshippers at London Mosque

News ID: 1440374 Service: Other Media
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A van ploughed into worshippers outside a mosque in London on Sunday night, killing one person and injuring eight people in what London's mayor described as "a horrific terrorist attack".

Officers arrested one man after they were called shortly after midnight to the incident on Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park station.

One man died and eight people were taken to hospital, Scotland Yard said. The 48-year-old driver was arrested by police after being detained by members of public at the scene.

The London Ambulance Service said eight people were taken to hospital and a number of people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, The Telegraph reported.

Prime Minister Theresa May said police were treating the van incident "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 said.

Earlier she described it as a "terrible incident", adding: "All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene."

Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, called it a "horrific terrorist".

"While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect," he said.

"The situation is still unfolding and I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant."

The attack came shortly after worshippers had been attending evening prayers at the Muslim Welfare House.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing bystanders wrestle the suspect to the ground and pin him down until officers arrived.

One eyewitness speaking to LBC said the van had hit people on the pavement, but had not collided with a building. "It looked like he had lost control of the van or something," he said.

Pictures posted on social media show more than a dozen emergency vehicles near the UKCG Help Centre at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and the A503 Tollington Road.

Cynthia Vanzella said on Twitter: "Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them. I just hope they did."

The incident followed a series of attacks in Britain.

Eight people were killed and 50 injured on June 3 when three militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars.

Two weeks earlier, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.

On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead. His attack killed five people.

Counter terrorism police is investigating the incident.

No other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police, the statement said.

Police said there would be increased police presence in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan.

The London Ambulance Service has issued an update, saying eight people have been taken to hospital following the Finsbury park incident.

A number of people were also treated at the scene for injuries.

The Muslim Council of Britain has condemned the Finsbury Park van attack, calling it "the most violent manifestation" yet of Islamophobia and called for extra security around mosques.

The council's secretary general Harun Khan said the incident took place outside the Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date.

"Given we are approaching the end of the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid with many Muslims going to local mosques, we expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency.

"Muslim communities have been calling for increased action to tackle the growth in hate crime for many years and transformative action must now be taken to tackle not only this incident but the hugely worrying growth in Islamophobia.

Many will feel terrorized, no doubt be angry and saddened by what has taken place tonight.

"We urge calm as the investigation establishes the full facts, and in these last days of Ramadan, pray for those affected and for justice."

British counter-terrorism police have joined regular police officers looking into an incident at a north London mosque, the Guardian and Channel 4 News report.

Ratip Alsulaimen told the Press Association several people were injured when they were struck by the vehicle. He said:

"I was sitting in the coffee shop just a couple of minutes away. One of our friends was reporting what was going on in the front of the mosque.

"He said the car was smashing into the people getting out of the mosque, so we just ran away, all of us, and came to see what's happening.

"When I came I saw ambulance people taking people to the ambulance.

"I think between eight to 10 people were taken away.

"There was an old man - about 60 years old - I don't know if he's alive or dead.

"There were other people, mid-30 to 40. There are men and women.

"We are shocked when we heard the news because we were just having a good time. We were praying for peace and for Grenfell Tower.

"When we heard this we were actually shocked."

Abdikadar Warfa said:

"I saw a man underneath the van. He was bleeding. My friend said he had to lift the van; I was busy with a man who tried to escape.

"My friend said he said some words, but I didn't hear it.

"They (people who were hit) were mostly young. They are very bad.

"I tried to stop him (the suspect), some people were hitting him but I said stop him and keep him until the police came.

"He was trying to run away but people overpowered him. He was fighting to run away."

The suspect screamed "I'm going to kill all Muslims" before he was tackled to the floor, according to a witness. Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi said he was among a group of people helping an elderly worshipper who had fallen down, perhaps because of the heat, when the van swerved towards them.

He told BuzzFeed News: "This big van just came and went all over us.

"I think at least eight or 10 people got injured. Luckily I managed to escape. And then the guy came out of his van and I got him.

"He was screaming, he was saying, 'I'm going to kill all Muslims, I'm going to kill all Muslims'. He was throwing punches.

"Then we managed to get him on the floor. Then he was saying, 'Kill me, kill me'. I said, 'We are not going to kill you. Why did you do that?' He wouldn't say anything."

Salah Alamoudi said eight people were hit.

He said they had to hold the suspect on the ground for up to half an hour before police arrived.

"The guy, I had to keep him at least half an hour. He was a strong guy. A big man," he said.

"It was heartbreaking. It wasn't an accident."

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the mosque at Finsbury Park, tweeted:

"Our thoughts and prayers with those who got injured and affected by this cowardly attack in Finsbury Park area, many casualties in the floor."

Prime Minister Theresa May has described the attack on worshippers near Finsbury Park mosque as a "terrible incident". She added:

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

A series of videos have emerged on social media showing tensions are running high after the incident.

Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, has reacted to the major incident.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labor leader, has reacted to the incident at Finsbury Park.

A man leapt out of a white van and stabbed at least one person near a North London mosque, the Evening Standard newspaper reported on Monday, citing witnesses.

The incident has drawn comparisons to the London Bridge attack earlier this month when eight people were killed and 50 injured when three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians and stabbed people.

One resident told the Press Association he jumped out of the way as the van struck pedestrians. The man, who did not want to be named, said:

"The gentleman went straight down this road, people were just conversing, talking, just doing what we're doing.

"And he just came into all of us.

"There was a lot of people. We got told to move straight away.

"I was shocked, shocked, shocked. There were bodies around me.

"Thank God I just moved to the side, I just jumped. Everyone is hurt. Everyone is actually hurt."

Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim organization which speaks out against extremism, has issued a statement condemning the attack.

"I utterly condemn the senseless and evil van attack against Muslim worshippers outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in London.

"According to eyewitnesses this was a deliberate attack against innocent Muslims going about their life.

"We should make clear that if this attack is confirmed as a deliberate terrorist attack then this should be classed as an act of terrorism.

"The British Muslim community requires all decent people to stand with us against this evil violence.

"Rampant Islamaphobia has been on the rise for a number of years and those on the far right have perpetuated hatred against Muslims.

"They should be called out for their hatred.

"The days ahead will be difficult, but with unity and tolerance we will prevail. We will not allow these far right extremists to divide our diverse communities.

"Enough is enough, my condolences and prayers for all the victims and their families. They are in my prayers."

Video posted online of the aftermath of the attack shows a scene of chaos as people tried to help the injured.

One man could been seen giving CPR to a victim in the street while another man's head injury was treated with a makeshift dressing.

People could be heard shouting and screaming amid the chaos and bloodstains were visible on the pavement.

One woman who lives opposite the scene told the BBC:

"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'.

"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."

The event held at the Muslim Welfare House tonight was apparently to show unity.

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing bystanders wrestle the suspect to the ground and pin him down until officers arrived.

The Muslim Council of Britain says: "We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims."

It is believed to have happened very close to the Muslim Welfare House.

One caller told LBC her sister was at the scene when it happened.

She said she described it as "something from a horror movie, everyone running everywhere".

She didn't realize what was going until she saw people on the ground.

One eyewitness speaking to LBC said the van had hit people on the pavement, but had not collided with a building. "It looked like he had lost control of the van or something," he said.

Locals said they had heard shouting and a helicopter was circling overhead.

Pictures posted on social media show more than a dozen emergency vehicles near the UKCG Help Centre at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and the A503 Tollington Road.

Transport for London says the Seven Sisters Road will be "closed for some time".

One caller told LBC said people from a local mosque had been drinking coffee at a cafe by the mosque. He said he had seen six people on the floor.

Another caller said:  "I saw police giving CPR, getting the heart going again and another guy on the floor."

The incident reportedly happened very close to Finsbury Park Mosque.

Transport for London says the A503 Seven Sisters Road is closed at Fonthill Road due to an emergency services incident.

Police are responding to an incident on Seven Sisters Road after reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians.

Police said officers were on the scene with other emergency services and there were a number of casualties.

One person has been arrested.

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