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- A van ploughed into a crowd outside Muslim Welfare House near Finsbury Park Mosque at around 12.20am
- One person died and ten injured as a 48-year-old man was captured by heroic worshippers then arrested
- Muslims were leaving taraweeh, late night prayers observed during the festival of Ramadan when the van hit
- Confirmed fatality is man who was receiving first aid from members of the public at a bus stop at the time
- Attack slammed as ‘the most violent manifestation’ of Islamophobia as PM called emergency Cobra meeting
One person has been killed and ten more injured after a white van driver screaming ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims’ ploughed into worshippers near a renowned north London mosque, in the latest terror attack to rock Britain.
A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after the van mounted the pavement and veered into the congregation outside the Muslim Welfare House, near Finsbury Park Mosque, shortly after they finished Ramadan evening prayers.
Heroic bystanders wrestled the suspect – who was clean-shaven with curly hair and wore a white t-shirt – to the floor and pinned him down until officers arrived after he allegedly screamed ‘I want to kill all Muslims’, and ‘I did my bit’.
At the time of the attack, which was just after midnight, several people were heroically giving first aid to an elderly member of the public who had collapsed at the bus stop with a medical issue.
Today, police confirmed he was the man who had died. Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu said it is not yet known if his death was caused by the terror attack but that it would form part of the investigation.
He said a further eight casualties are being treated across three London hospitals for ‘serious injuries’ while two victims sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
As details of the attack emerged, the Muslim Council of Britain condemned the incident as ‘the most violent manifestation’ yet of Islamophobia and called for extra security around mosques.
The Met Police has now vowed to put extra security around mosques at this ‘sensitive time’ as Muslims continue to mark the holy month of Ramadan. Mr Basu said it was an ‘incredibly challenging time for London’ with emergency services ‘stretched’ but that officers would do all they could to keep people safe.
Police are investigating a suspected terror attack after this hired van ploughed into people outside the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park, north London, in what has been described as a ‘deliberate and horrific terror attack on innocent people’
Two police officers are seen helping a victim towards an ambulance car as devastated bystanders watch on in horror following last night’s attack
One man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. The suspect is pictured here being handcuffed next to a police vehicle
In footage taken at the scene, bystanders are seen pinning the suspect to the ground and held him until police arrived (left). In another clip, the suspect is seen waving as he is bundled into the back of a police van (right)
After the attack the man was reportedly tackled by civilians, and a crowd of angry bystanders gave him to police
Last night, dramatic footage emerged from the scene showing the suspect – who was described as looking ‘indifferent’ and ‘like he didn’t care’ – being tackled to the floor by bystanders as they waited for police to arrive at the scene.
In another clip, the man – who was then handed over to officers by the group – is pictured waving as he is bundled into the back of a police van.
This morning, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the incident is being treated as a potential terror attack and called an emergency meeting of the Cobra Committee.
DO YOU KNOW THE SUSPECT?
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Police also confirmed that the probe was being handled by terror investigations with one man currently held in custody.
Speaking this morning outside Scotland Yard, Mr Basu praised the members of the public who detained the suspect, lauding their ‘restraint’.
He said: ‘Sadly Londoners are are waking up to the news of another dreadful incident in the capital that has left a number of people seriously injured.
‘This was an attack on London and all Londoners and we should all stand together against extremists whatever their cause. Now is a time to unite those who seek to divide us.’
He added: ‘I would like to praise the police officers who immediately responded gave life saving treatment at the scene, but also very much those members of the public who assisted before and after this incident.
‘At the scene, detained by members of the community, was the man suspected of being the driver. He has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
‘I would like to thank those people who helped police in detaining the man and who worked with officers to calmly and quickly get him in to our custody. Their restraint in the circumstances is commendable.’
Confirming the fatality, he added that the incident unfolded while a man was already receiving first aid.
‘Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of the investigation. It is too early to say whether his death is a result of the attack,’ he added.
Today, Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House, said the suspect had shouted ‘I did my bit’ after carrying out the attack.
He told Sky News: ‘After the event, he did say “I did my bit”. We have a witness saying that the driver of the van said “I did my bit”.
‘It means he is not mentally ill, he is conscious, he did what he did deliberately to hit and kill as many Muslims as possible.’
He added that the imam – who had been leading the evening prayer, known as taraweeh – had saved the suspect’s life after he ploughed the van into a wall and fences and other members of the public began beating him.
Today, Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House (pictured), said the suspect had shouted ‘I did my bit’ after carrying out the attack
Today, Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu (pictured) said the only confirmed fatality was a man who was receiving first aid at a bus stop at the time of the incident. It is not yet known if his death was caused by the attack
Officers are today pictured at the scene as police confirmed last night’s attack is being treated as a terrorist incident
Pictured above is details of the vans available at Pontyclun Van Hire in Pontyclun, South Wales, from where the van used in the attack was hired. The website says anyone hiring a car will need to take a driving licence and a document with an address
‘He hit almost a wall and fences at the end of the road because it was a dead road. So people grabbed him outside and starting hitting him,’ he added.
‘Our imam went there and saved the life of the attacker. There is a wild video which you can see filmed by one of our worshippers and you can see clearly our imam saving the life of this guy and the guy at this time was saying “I did my bit”.’
Another witness, who wanted to be identified as Abdulrahman, which is not his real name, said he was one of the people who helped to remove the driver from the van.
‘He wanted to run away and was saying, “I want to kill Muslims”,’ he said.
‘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.’
Abdulrahman claimed the driver said “kill me” as he was held on the ground.
Abdikadar Warfa said he also helped to detain the suspect while his friends helped victims.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
Local resident Abdul Abdullah, 18, who was also at the scene, described the suspect as looking ‘indifferent’ and ‘like he didn’t even care’.
Police forensic officers examining the van involved in the attack: British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police ‘immediately’ treated the incident as a suspected terrorist attack
The vehicle in question appears to have been rented from a company based in Wales, Pontaclun Van Hire
Police were called just after midnight to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians in Seven Sisters Road
A pile of blankets can be seen, amid fears that there may have been fatalities in the attack
The Prime Minister is chairing an emergency meeting of the Cobra Committee this morning, as Sadiq Khan ordered more police to be deployed
A police cordon has been set up at Seven Sisters Road this morning as officers flood the scene outside the Muslim Welfare House
Heavily armed police officers remain at the scene this morning as leaders called for security to be stepped up at mosques
A police forensic tent has been erected at Finsbury Park as counter-terrorism units take over the investigation
Brave bystanders wrestled the suspect out of his van and to the ground, while they waited for police officers to arrive
Dozens of paramedics raced to the scene in the early hours, as several casualties were taken to hospitals around the capital
Shocking eyewitness accounts had earlier revealed how the van raced down the bus lane before swerving down a dead end road and mowing down members of the public.
Adil Rana, 24, said he saw blood and ‘people dead on the floor’ in the aftermath.
‘The van was driving towards us to try and basically hit us at speed and everyone was shocked and people were screaming. There were people on the floor,’ he said.
HOW MOSQUE REINVENTED ITS IMAGE AFTER ABU HAMZA WAS FORCED OUT
Finsbury Park mosque was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has entirely changed in recent years under new management.
The mosque had gained notoriety for sermons by radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who preached there from 1997 to 2003.
He was later jailed for inciting violence before being extradited to the United States in January 2015 for his conviction on terrorism-related charges.
A year after Abu Hamza was arrested by British police, a new board of trustees and management took over in February 2005.
Since then, attendance has greatly increased among worshippers from various communities, according to the mosque’s website.
In 2015, the mosque was one of around 20 that took part in an open day organised by the MCB to promote better understanding of Islam following Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks in Paris.
Despite the change in leadership and a new focus on inter-faith relations, the mosque reported it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.
Mr Rana, from Walthamstow, said he also saw the driver being held on the ground by some of the crowd after getting out the vehicle.
He said: ‘The driver jumped out and then he was pinned down to the floor and people were punching him and beating him, which was reasonable because of what he’s done.
‘And then the imam of the mosque actually came out and said “Don’t hit him, hand him over to the police, pin him down”.’
Mr Rana said the driver gestured and mocked the crowds as he was taken away by police. ‘When he got arrested, he was taunting, saying “I’d do it again, I’d do it again”,’ he added.
Emergency service crews were also seen giving cardiac massages to the injured in a desperate bid to save them, but unconfirmed reports that two other suspects fled the van were denied by police.
The police operation is being handled by counter-terrorism units, while the suspect has been taken to hospital and will be detained once he has been discharged, and will then face a mental health assessment.
Meanwhile, a member of staff at Pontyclun Van Hire said the company would not be issuing a statement. She said: ‘We are not saying anything, we don’t know anything at the moment.’
The website shows that anyone wanting to hire a vehicle must show their driving licence and a utility bill or bank statement featuring a current address.
The Finsbury Park Mosque gained notoriety more than a decade ago for sermons by hate preacher Abu Hamza, who was imam from 1997 until 2003 and was sentenced to life in a U.S. prison in January 2015 for his conviction on terrorism-related charges.
A new board of trustees and management took over in February 2005, a year after Abu Hamza was arrested by British police.
Since the, the mosque has undergone wholesale changes and become far more liberal under new leader Mohammed Kozbar.
Attendance has greatly increased among worshippers from various communities, according to the mosque’s website.
Mr Kozbar, described the incident as ‘a cowardly attack which is no different than the attacks in Manchester and London’.
‘Our community is in shock, our thought and prayer with those who have been affected by this,’ he said.
A group of Muslims prayed on the pavement following the atrocity. The incident has been slammed as a ‘violent manifestation of Islamophobia’, with Muslim leaders calling for extra security around mosques
A massive police presence remains on the scene at Finsbury Park, as forensic officers comb the scene
A heavy presence of armed police officers swooped to the scene shortly after the drama unfolded near the place of worship
Eyewitnesses reported seeing bystanders wrestle the suspect to the floor and pin him down until officers arrived at the scene
Rescue teams at the scene investigating as other emergency service members huddle together to discuss the operation
In a statement posted on its website, the Finsbury Park Mosque said it ‘condemns in the strongest terms a heinous terrorist attack’.
‘The van driver deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers from Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House just after midnight,’ the statement said.
‘This is a callous terrorist attack, which coincides with the murdered MP, Jo Cox, anniversary.’
The statement added: ‘Finally, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
‘We urge all attending mosques and going about their business to remain vigilant in this difficult time.’
‘It’s not safe anymore after what’s been happening. It’s not been safe to walk.
‘Two people ran away and one got taken away to the police.
The attack comes just two weeks after eight were killed in a terror attack in London Bridge, when three extremists mowed down pedestrians on the bridge before launching a stabbing frenzy in pubs and clubs in nearby Borough Market.
Three months ago, Khalid Masood also mowed down four people on Westminster Bridge before stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death on the cobbled forecourt of the Houses of Parliament.
It was also less than a month ago that terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb killing 22 people, including children, after an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
Fabian Santana, 22, who saw last night’s carnage unfold, said he felt as though the capital was no longer ‘safe’.
‘I just feel like London for the last couple of weeks has not been safe. I’d rather go out of London,’ he added.
Jamal, 21, echoed his fears, telling MailOnline: ‘I think it’s terrible what happened in so many locations I don’t know if I’m going to be alive tomorrow, I’m worried what’s going to happen tomorrow, it’s scary
‘It’s not safe in London, total, 100 per cent it is not safe, I’m worried to come out of my house right now, it’s not safe.’
Several worshippers took to the streets to pray for the victims in the aftermath of the horrific attack
More members of the Muslim community on their knees as they send their prayers to those who were affected by the van
Police extend the cordon around the scene as the investigation begins during a hectic few weeks for emergency services
Police officers attending to the scene after the vehicle collided with pedestrians in Finsbury Park at around midnight
Jeremy Corbyn expressed his shock at the incident, which took place in the heart of his Islington North constituency.
He said: ‘I’m totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight. I’ve been in touch with the mosques, police and Islington council regarding the incident.
‘My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event.’
Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack 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.’
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged people to remain vigilant, saying: ‘We don’t yet know the full details, but this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.
‘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.
The Labour leader wrote on Twitter: ‘I am totally shocked by the incident in Finsbury Park tonight’
This is the vehicle that smashed into people outside the mosque, which has been hired from a Welsh company
Another witness, a courier who gave his name as Andrew, said he saw three people on the floor and at least one of them appeared to be in Muslim dress.
The 45-year-old, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, said he was driving back from a night shift when he saw the aftermath of the collision.
He said: ‘When I drove past slowly I could count three people on the floor and police were performing CPR on one of them. The guy having CPR performed on him was in a gown, ethnic clothing.’
One resident told how 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.’
Jennifer Heape said: ‘Apparently a van has ploughed into people coming from Finsbury Park mosque. People are reporting of several injured, some fatalities.
‘Police are escorting people home very calmly. They are making sure people stay indoors.
‘No panic, but it’s very serious. A LOT of helicopters.’
A pedestrian is wheeled away on a stretcher by paramedics as the receives emergency treatment
There was a huge emergency service presence at the scene after the car swerved onto the pavement
An eyewitness who lives on Seven Sisters Road told the BBC there were people ‘shouting and screaming’.
She added: ‘Everyone was shouting “a van’s hit people”.
‘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.’
A Metropolitan Police helicopter was seen circling overhead as photographs posted on social media showed a huge response from the emergency services.
Dozens of police cars and vans cordoned off a large area of the normally bustling thoroughfare as stunned locals gathered at the scene.
Mehdi, a 38-year-old worshipper, told the Evening Standard: ‘There were loads of people coming out and the van took a left and went straight into them.
Dozens of police cars and vans cordoned off a large area of the normally bustling thoroughfare as stunned locals gathered at the scene
Police rush with a stretcher to a victim who is laying stricken on the side of the road after being hit by the van
‘The crowd caught a guy. He tried to do a London Bridge thing.’
A woman named Hajal said her sister witnessed the immediate aftermath of the incident.
She told LBC Radio: ‘Everyone was just running everywhere she didn’t realise what was going on at first until she people on the floor.
‘She ran to see first victim and realised it was a family friend.’
‘An old man didn’t have a pulse. Police came and took over. She said it could have been an accident.
‘At first she thought there was some sort of fight. There were 15 to 20 people hitting somebody – she didn’t realise it was the man who ran over the people.
‘She said someone was still under the van but he was breathing. The second [more seriously injured] person was family friend who at first said he couldn’t feel his legs.’
Another person who lives nearby, Ishmael, told the station: ‘I pray there regularly. I’m there right now. There’s a very close friend of mine and in a very bad critical condition.
‘I hear from the other guys that they just stand there and have a coffee.
‘The van drove to there. I had just left the area because I wasn’t feeling very well.
The area was cordoned off as police rushed to the scene after getting the call just after midnight
‘One of my friends witnessed it. He told me the van went through the people standing there. 6 or 7 people, and one Asian guy is definitely dead.
‘My friend is in bad critical condition. He was under the van. His head was bleeding.
‘Someone took a video of him. Very shocking video. He’s got family and a wife.
‘The police answered the phone and told me he’s alright. But the other friend they don’t really know his condition. They’re both in ambulances and heading to a London Hospital.
‘Something’s going to happen here one day here. Since that incident I had a feeling something was going to happen to the Mosque. We don’t have no security.
‘This is Ramadan and there was no security at all. Anyone who wants to do anything can come there. If someone wants to kill hundreds they can come there easily.’
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.
Emergency services rush to get a stretcher to the injured strewn on the pavements after the attack
‘He was trying to run away but people overpowered him. He was fighting to run away.’
The widower of murdered MP Jo Cox spoke out on Twitter as news of the attack broke, saying that the far right and Islamist terrorists shared an ideology and both must be defeated.
Brendan Cox tweeted: ‘Far right facists&Islamist terrorists are driven by same hatred of difference, same ideology of supremacy&use same tactics.We’ll defeat both.
‘When islamist terrorists attack we rightly seek out hate preachers who spur them on. We must do the same to those who peddle Islamophobia’.
Mother-of-two Mrs Cox, who represented the Batley and Spen conctituency in West Yorkshire, was shot and stabbed as she arrived for a constituency surgery in Birstall on June 16 last year.
London Ambulance Service Deputy Director of Operations, Kevin Bate said: ‘We were called at 12.15am to reports of a road traffic collision at Seven Sisters Road.
‘We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene. An advance trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by car.
‘We are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene.
‘Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital.
‘More information will follow when we have it.’
Muhbeen Hussain, founder of British Muslim Youth, said: ‘We strongly condemn this horrendous suspected terrorist attack and pray for the innocent victims and their families that have been affected by this incident.
‘I have personally visited the scene of the attack and spoke to many eyewitnesses, many of whom were quite emotional after witnessing a murder and seeing many people being injured.
‘In less than a month, we have witnessed horrific attacks in Manchester, London Bridge, Borough Markets, a tragedy at Grenfell Tower and now this horrific attack.
‘We as communities stood united in all of these difficult times and we must come together once more.
‘I also urge anyone that has further information to speak to the police, so they have as much information as possible to deal with the on-going investigation.’
Member of the London Muslim Community Forum, Shiraz Kothia, also called for calm in the face of the tragedy.
He told MailOnline: ‘First of all we need to look after the community and make sure everyone is safe.
‘No matter what faith or ideology it is, we need to tackle extremism. I have worked with the Metropolitan Police after the Manchester and London Bridge attacks and we will continue to work with everyone in the community.
‘Everyone must remain calm. There is no faith to terrorism. Tomorrow is could be a synagogue or a church. We must come together to stop it.
‘We will be hosting some gatherings after this now and we will need the rabbis, priests, ministers and imams to come together.’
The incident comes almost three months to the day since Khalid Masood killed five people after mounting the pavement at Westminster Bridge and stabbing a police officer to death
Khuram Butt lies dying in Borough Market shortly after he was shot by armed police following another incident involving a van on London Bridge
Source: White Driver Ploughs Van Into Crowd Outside London Mosqeu, One Dead Scores Injured | News With Views
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