Police have confirmed that one person has died and eight others have been severely injured in a terror-related incident at a North London Mosque.
In the early hours of Monday morning, as local Muslims gathered to break their fast during the month of Ramadan, a white van mounted the pavement and ploughed into several people, killing one and leaving many injured. The incident, which took place outside the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury, is being treated by London’s Metropolitan Police Force as a terror attack.
Police were alerted of the incident shortly after it happened and rushed to the scene to arrest a 48-year-old man who is believed to be responsible. Astonishingly, heroic members of the public had already chased him down once he left his vehicle, and had managed to pin him to the floor.
Scotland Yard confirmed one dead at the scene, with eight being treated for severe injuries and two more for minor injuries.
Prime Minister Theresa May has called an emergency COBRA meeting to discuss the incident and has said it is being treated “as a potential terrorist attack”. Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also been quick to condemn the incidents, labelling them as “horrific and cruel”. He has also released a statement imploring people to stand together during this difficult time.
Eyewitnesses to the attack have said the man was well aware of what he was doing, and even blew kisses after he was arrested. Speaking to the BBC, 18-year-old Abdul Abdulahi, who witnessed the attack, said there is now a danger that the attack will only add “fuel to the fire” and lead to further violence on London’s streets:
“The man targeted Muslims, he knew what he was doing. The route he took was only allowed for buses and taxis – he wasn’t meant to be on that road. So his incentive was a racist attack.
“Radicalisation will just increase now. People will act up. It will just add fuel to the fire.
“It was a very shocking scene. I heard many shouting at the man – why did you do this?
“The attacker was blowing kisses when he was arrested. He looked indifferent – he knew what he was doing.”
Many Londoners have been quick to rally around the Muslim community and defend them amid growing tensions due to recent events in the capital. Local resident Alice who has lived in the area for 27 years, spoke of her anger at the scene of the attack and the need to show “solidarity” with the Muslim community:
“I’m furious and really upset. I came down here today to show solidarity.
“I wanted a non Muslim white woman to come down to show them that they are not alone.
“There has always been a mixed community in the area. I just want everyone to feel welcome.”
The Met Police are urging anyone with information about the attack to come forward, while extra police have been put on the streets of the capital.