Van Attack on Controversial London Mosque Kills One, Injures Ten in Apparent Act of Terror
An apparent terror attack, in which a man driving a van plowed into a crowd of worshippers outside a well-known London mosque, has killed one person and injured ten more.
The attack took place just after midnight at the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London.
Crowds of Muslim worshippers were leaving an evening prayer session linked to Ramadan when the white van approached at speed and smashed into them.
The attacker was held captive by members of the public until police officers arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder.
Witnesses told the BBC that during the attack he was shouting “Kill all Muslims” and “I want to kill Muslims”.
Authorities confirmed that one man died. Ten were injured – eight were taken to hospital while two were able to leave after being treated at the scene.
Finsbury Park mosque has a historic association with extremism and once had convicted terrorist Abu Hamza as its imam, though it has since reformed.
Authorities have not officially classified the attack as an act of terror, but Prime Minister Theresa May has described it as a “potential terrorist incident”.
Counter-terror police have opened an investigation but are yet to identify any other suspects.
The Finsbury Park Mosque has a chequered history and was previously well known as a safe haven for extremists.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 19, 2017
The extremist cleric Abu Hamza – known for his hook hand – was the mosque’s imam from 1997 to 2003.
He was later imprisoned in the UK, then extradited to the US where he was imprisoned on terror charges.
The mosque was shut down after Hamza left and later reopened with new management. There is no suggestion it has any current links to terror or extremism.