Finsbury Park Attack

One Dead in Terror Attack Outside North London Mosque

A van rammed into crowds of people leaving prayers in Finsbury Park.
June 19, 2017, 7:24am
Police officers in Finsbury Park, where one person has been arrested after a vehicle struck pedestrians. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA

In the early hours of Monday morning a van ploughed into crowds outside north London's Muslim Welfare House, killing one and injuring eight.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan condemned the incident as a "horrific terrorist attack", and the London Met Police have confirmed that counter-terrorism officers are investigating. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee later this morning.

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The attack comes towards the end of Ramadan, and happened around 300 metres from Finsbury Park mosque, as worshippers were heading home after prayers. Witnesses say the van was driving at around 50mph as it mounted the pavement, with one telling The Guardian, "It was deliberate, it was not an accident."

The person driving the van – a 48-year-old man – was reportedly detained by members of the public before police arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder. There are reports that Mohammed Mahmoud, imam at the mosque in the Muslim Welfare House, protected the man from angry onlookers until officers arrived.

One witness has told VICE's Henry Langston, who is on the scene, that while the driver was being arrested, he taunted worshippers, claiming he'd do it again.

Local people observing prayers in Finsbury Park this morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The Muslim Welfare House – the apparent target of the attack – has appealed for calm in the community, saying in a statement:

"We have worked very hard over decades to build a peaceful and tolerant community here in Finsbury Park and we totally condemn any act of hate that tries to driver our wonderful community apart. We would appeal for calm at this time … All of our efforts should be towards getting justice for the victims and ensuring our community stays the diverse, tolerant and welcome place we know it to be."

Following the attack, Diane Abbott MP – whose constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington borders Finsbury Park – tweeted, "Police must urgently review security for all mosques." Sadiq Khan has said more police will be deployed today to protect Muslims observing Ramadan.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP, whose constituency includes Finsbury Park, has said he is "totally shocked at the incident", and that he will attend prayers in the area later today.

Pro-Islamic State social media accounts are already trying to capitalise on the attack, according to terrorism analysts, using the incident to incite Muslims.

This is the third terror attack so far this year in London in which a van has been driven into crowds of people, following the Westminster attack in March and the London Bridge attack at the beginning of June.

This story is ongoing and will be updated.