One dead as van rams Muslims near London mosque

The driver of a van ploughed into worshippers leaving the mosque at Finsbury Park on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring 10 others, reports Reuters.

The alleged attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, struck as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque.

Prime Minister Theresa May says the terror attack near a north London mosque is "every bit as sickening" as other recent ones to hit the UK. He's "been taken to hospital as a precaution", where he'll receive a mental health assessment, according to the statement.

The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with the London Bridge attack, when three men drove a van into pedestrians before embarking on a stabbing spree, as well as with another auto and knife rampage in Westminster in March.

A suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, northern England, in May also killed 22 people, while in March, a man drove a rented vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead.

"We have been informed that a van has run over worshipers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque", the Muslim Council of Britain tweeted early Monday.

"One man was pronounced dead at the scene", Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement.

MCB deputy head Miqdaad Versi said the incident happened "outside the Muslim Welfare House", which is on Seven Sisters Road near the mosque.

Another witness Yann Bouhllissa, 38, said he had been tending an old man who had suffered a heart attack when the van was driven at them.

He said that two people were dragged beneath the van adding "one of whom we are anxious may be paralysed for life because he said he could not move his arms and legs and said he could not feel them".

Muslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehicle hit pedestrians, on June 19, 2017.

It's being investigated as another terrorist attack.

Adil Rana, 24, said the suspected attacker was pinned to the floor by members of the public "and people were punching him and beating him, which was reasonable because of what he's done".

The group has appealed for calm, adding that "all of our efforts should be towards getting justice for the victims and ensuring our community stays the diverse, tolerant and welcome place we know it to be".

The attack was also condemned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour leader Corbyn, the Archbishop of Canterbury and mainstream figures such as Piers Morgan and J K Rowling.

Mr Ali described the horrifying scene unfolding outside the Islamic centre in north London early on Monday morning.

"I've been reassured by the Commissioner and by Gold Command that borough commanders across London will able to use leave from officers, including calling some officers back off leave, to make we have got an increased presence across London so all Londoners can feel safe", he said.

Police have not named the man arrested, but the van bears the logo and phone number for Pontyclun Van Hire in south Wales.

The group had been helping a man who had collapsed when they were hit just after midnight.

Now, many people have reached out following the shocking terror incident on social media, lending their support to the victims.

May attempted to counter that feeling in her speech, declaring that police arrived at the scene within one minute, and that a terror attack was declared in eight minutes. "This was an attack on London and all Londoners".

Other eye-witnesses said that the imam from the mosque was the one who protected the terrorist from the enraged mob until the security forces arrived.

There was also an attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, where a bomber set off an explosion that killed more than 20 people.

Police said there were no other people being sought in connection to the attack later Monday morning, but noted that the investigation was ongoing.

  • Leroy Wright