LONDON (CBSMiami) – Nearly a dozen people were injured and one man died in what police are calling an act of terror outside a mosque in north London.
A van rammed into a crowd of worshipers as they were leaving a prayer service Sunday night.
“The van literally turned left with no indication,” said Khalid. “And one of them was under the van, people were gathered around the van to actually lift the van up to get this guy up from under the van.”
Witnesses said the driver shouted ‘I want to kill all Muslims’ as they wrestled him to the ground and others rushed in to help the injured.
“There is one guy, blood running down his head, it was very horrific scenes,” said Abdul Abdullah.
The attack happened just after midnight as Ramadan prayers ended. The driver smashed into a group of people who were giving first aid to an elderly who had collapsed on the sidewalk. He later died, but it’s not clear if he was killed in the crash.
Ten people were hurt, eight were taken to area hospitals.
Police arrested the driver, a 48-year-old man, who was taken to a hospital and treated for unspecified injuries before being placed under arrest.
“Given the methodology, given what’s occurring, the tragic incidents across the country this had all the hallmarks of a terrorist incident,” said London deputy police commissioner Neil Basu.
The mosque’s chairman, Mohammed Kozbar, called the incident a “cowardly attack” in a statement on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers with those who got injured and [affected] by this cowardly attack in Finsbury Park area, many casualties in the floor,” Kozbar tweeted.
London police reassured Muslims that they will get extra protection through the rest of the holy month of Ramadan. But the promise was little comfort to some.
“I just feel like targeted by people, I feel unsafe, I don’t feel we should be like this as a community,” said
London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, drawing connections to other recent acts of violence in the UK tweeted in part —
“While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster, and London Bridge it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom, and respect.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to fight terror and hatred.
“There has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia,” she said after an emergency meeting with her Cabinet.
This was the fourth terrorist attack in Britain since March, the third aimed at pedestrians. Earlier this month on London Bridge, Islamic extremists used a vehicle and knives to kill eight people and wound many others before police shot and killed them.