Authorities say one person is dead
in north London and at least 10 are injured after a man drove a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians near a local mosque that had just completed evening prayers.
The incident, which occurred shortly after midnight on Monday, is being investigated as a potential terrorist attack.
London’s Metropolitan Police say a 48-year-old man has been arrested in the Finsbury Park area of north London. Authorities say the man was detained by members of the public at the scene before his arrest, and that he has since been taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Eight people had been taken to the hospital, and two people had been treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Police man a cordon at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London Monday, June 19, 2017. | Reuters
The incident occurred near the Muslim Welfare House, a community center down the road from several local mosques, according
to the U.K.’s Muslim Council. The mosques had been holding evening prayers for the holy month of Ramadan and were likely to have hosted hundreds of worshippers over the past week.
Cynthia Vanzella, a woman who lives near the scene, told CNN she heard the collision from her home
and went to a window to see people “desperately trying to make some signs to a police car.”
“I saw a lot of people injured,” she said. “They were helping on the pavement and trying to help them to get to the scene.”
“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,” a witness told the Press Association
“I was shocked, shocked, shocked,” he added. “There were bodies around me.”
The chairman of the Finsbury Park mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, described the incident as a “cowardly attack
” and said there were many injuries.
There was confusion and dismay among witnesses and bystanders in the aftermath of the incident. Anxious crowds gathered at police cordons surrounding the area to wait for news.
Miqdaad Versi, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council, said the incident reflects growing fear within the community about a rising tide of Islamophobia
in the country. “People have been worried about this for a long time,” he told HuffPost.
“People are shocked. People are terrified,” Versi, who was not at the scene, went on. “It’s an important time. It’s the last 10 nights of Ramadan, and that’s why there are such big crowds.”
In a statement
early Monday, the Muslim Council’s secretary general, Harun Khan, condemned the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment following a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in the country.
“Muslim communities have been calling for increased action to tackle the growth in hate crime for many years and transformative action must now be taken to tackle not only this incident but the hugely worrying growth in Islamophobia,” Khan said.