Friday, 23 June, 2017

London vehicle hits pedestrians, police say 'number of casualties'

Kenny Thornton | 19 June, 2017, 15:43

"It's a very strong Muslim community in this area and what's happening today is I think the people must be extremely, extremely sad", Al-Sulaman said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said police were treating it as a "potential terrorist attack".

One person has died and eight others hospitalised after a van deliberately swerved into civilians near a mosque in north London.

A 48-year-old man was arrested at the scene and Metropolitan Police are investigating the atrocity. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Police man a cordon at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London Monday, June 19, 2017. Another told The Guardian that he was told "two people were stuck under the van" and that the police "were quick to the scene".

"Some of them wanted to beat him up, but were stopped by the ones that were holding him until the police came", he said.

Police had said hate crimes had risen after the London Bridge attack and they had stepped up their visible presence at places of worship.

"Due to the nature of this incident, extra policing resources have been deployed in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan", the police statement concluded.

Police said they were first called shortly after midnight.

Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: "I'm going to kill Muslims". Many also said the backdrop of the attack was rising Islamophobia. Two others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Council says van struck people leaving mosque
Local people observe prayers at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London Monday, June 19, 2017 . Vanzella said she saw police put a man into a police auto and take him away, but she didn't see them arrest him.

The area was crowded with worshipers attending evening prayers for Ramadan. According to the 2011 Census, half the population in the borough aged under 25 are from nonwhite ethnic backgrounds. The mosque, which today operates largely as a community center, rose to worldwide notoriety in the early 2000s, due to its links with Egyptian-born radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

In 2015, the mosque's former imam, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, was sentenced to life in prison in US District Court in Manhattan on 11 terrorism-related charges.

- Since then, the mosque has worked to turn its reputation around and now operates mostly as a community center.

"I will chair an emergency meeting later this morning".

The area of north London where a vehicle ploughed into worshippers who had left a nearby mosque early Monday is vibrant, ethnically diverse and home to a strong Muslim community.

The attack comes at a time of political turmoil in Britain, as May, weakened by the loss of her parliamentary majority in a June 8 election, plunges into divorce talks with the European Union.

He called the incident a "horrific terrorist attack". The London Ambulance Service said it was responding to the incident.

- "London is a city of many faiths and many nationalities". Muslims now are observing Ramadan, during which they fast from dawn to dusk and engage in intense prayer and feast at sundown. It's no different to Manchester, Westminster or London Bridge. Its director, Iman Atta, said: "We have put out numerous safety leaflets to mosques to ensure vigilance so that congregations are safe".

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that he was "totally shocked".

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