A vehicle struck pedestrians on a north London road early Monday morning, causing several casualties, police said. One person has been arrested. (June 18)
A van struck worshipers leaving a north London mosque early Monday morning, killing one person and causing several casualties, local media reported.
Metropolitan Police said they were dealing with a “major incident.” A Sky News producer at the scene said the crash took place shortly after midnight local time as worshipers were leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque at midnight Ramadan prayers. The Guardian reported that 10 people were hurt, three of them seriously.
Police arrested the van’s driver, identified as a 48-year-old man, and said he was taken to a hospital. They were trying to determine whether the collision was accidental or deliberate.
“We have been informed that a van has run over worshipers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque,” the Muslim Council of Britain tweeted early Monday. “Our prayers are with the victims.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’described the crash early Monday morning as a “terrible incident.”
She said, “All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene.”
One eyewitness who lives nearby told the BBC she saw people “shouting and screaming.”
Another eyewitness, Boubou Sougou, told The Guardian the driver deliberately hit people on the pavement. “It was not an accident,” said Sougou, 23. “I saw everything. People were badly injured. The van driver tried to escape but people grabbed him. He did not say anything.”
The Finsbury Park mosque was associated with extremist ideology for several years after the 9/11 attacks in the United States but was shut down and reorganized. It has not been associated with radical views for more than a decade.
Britain’s terrorist alert is set at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely, Sky News reported.
The incident comes weeks after a van hit pedestrians on London Bridge and knife-wielding attackers killed eight people nearby. Police killed the three attackers.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo
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