Van slams into muslims

June 19, 2017

A van slammed into Muslim worshippers near a mosque in north London early this morning, killing at least one and injuring 10, British police and Islamic officials said.

Police are investigating the crash as a potential terrorist incident.

The driver of the van, 48, has been arrested and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. He will be given a mental health evaluation.

He was detained by the crowd at the scene until police arrived.

Metropolitan police said eight injured people were taken to three hospitals. Two others had minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

The Muslim Council tweeted that worshippers were struck by a van as they were leaving prayers at the Finsbury Park mosque. The council clarified that the incident took place outside the Muslim Welfare House, 300 meters away from the mosque.

The Finsbury Park mosque has been associated with hate preacher Abu Hamza and a number of terrorists — including shoe-bomber Richard Reid, who attempted to detonate explosives on a flight from Paris to Miami in 2001.

“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,” an unidentified local resident told the Press Association.

“There were bodies around me. Thank God I just moved to the side, I just jumped,” the witness added.

Footage showed injured people lying on the ground and angry crowds surrounding a man believed to be the driver of the vehicle, according to the Independent.

“Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them,” witness Cynthia Vanzella wrote on Twitter.

London police have declared the crash a major incident and closed the area to normal traffic. The London Ambulance Service said the injured are being taken to hospitals. Eyewitnesses reported seeing police give emergency medical treatment to at least one of the injured.

People had been attending prayers in the area as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Metropolitan Police said officers were called to the scene on Seven Sisters Road at 12:20 a.m. today. Many police cars and ambulances responded to the incident.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the incident “a horrific terrorist attack” and said “this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said an emergency response meeting will be held today, according to the Telegraph.

Earlier this month, a van veered into pedestrians on London Bridge, with attackers then stabbing and slashing eight people to death and wounding many others on the bridge and in the nearby Borough Market area. Three Muslim extremists who carried out the attack were shot dead by police, as bar customers threw bottles and chairs to defend themselves.

Manchester was also recently hit by a devastating attack when a bomber killed more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande concert. Before that several pedestrians and a police officer were killed in a car-and-knife attack in London.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.