Wednesday, June 23, 2021

    One dead after van rams pedestrians near London mosque; treated as potential terrorist attack

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    Naija247news Media, New York
    Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.
    • A vehicle collided with pedestrians in London’s Finsbury Park area
    • Metropolitan Police said there were “a number of casualties”
    • One man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said
    • Witness reports indicated a van ran into multiple people who were leaving a nearby mosque

    A vehicle drove into a crowd of people near a mosque in the Finsbury Park Area of London, authorities said earlier Monday morning.

    Police in London said there were a number of casualties and one person had been arrested for an incident on Seven Sisters Road. One man was pronounced dead at the scene and eight people were taken to hospitals, authorities said.

    London police said the van driver, aged 48, was found detained by members of the public at the scene of the incident. He was then arrested and will be subject to a mental health assessment, police said.

    Investigation of the incident is being carried out by the British police’s counter-terrorism command, and British Prime Minister Theresa May said it is being treated as a potential terrorist attack.

    Witnesses reported that the van collided with pedestrians who were on their way home from a prayer at a mosque in the area, according to multiple outlets.

    “From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. Everybody was shouting: ‘A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people’,” one woman who lives opposite the scene told the BBC.

    “There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park mosque that seemed to have hit people who were coming out after prayers had finished. I didn’t see the attacker himself, although he seems to have been arrested, but I did see the van.”

    May said her thoughts were with those who had been injured. She is now scheduled to chair an emergency response meeting on Monday.

    Britain’s opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement that he was “totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight.”

    “I’ve been in touch with the mosques, police and Islington council regarding the incident,” he said. “My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event.”

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the incident “a horrific terrorist attack” in a post on Facebook on Monday morning.

    “We don’t yet know the full details, but this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan,” he wrote. “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.”

    The incident followed a series of attacks in Britain. Eight people were killed and 50 injured on June 3 when three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars.

    On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead. His attack killed five people. And on May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.

    This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

    —Reuters contributed to this report.

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