Vehicle rams worshippers near London mosque

2017-06-19 05:24
An armed police officer mans a cordon on the Seven Sisters Road at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

An armed police officer mans a cordon on the Seven Sisters Road at Finsbury Park where a vehicle struck pedestrians in London. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

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London - One man was killed and eight people hospitalised when a van ran into pedestrians near a mosque in north London in an incident that is being investigated by counter-terrorism officers, police said on Monday.

Police said there were "a number of casualties", adding that they were called to reports of "a vehicle in collision with pedestrians" at 00:20 (23:20 GMT).

The 48-year-old male driver of the van "was found detained by members of the public at the scene and then arrested by police," a police statement said.

"We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims," the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, said on Twitter.

Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, said the van had "intentionally" run over people leaving night prayers for the holy month of Ramadan.

An AFP reporter could see a helicopter and many emergency vehicles at the scene, which was closed off by a large police cordon.

Traffic was shut down on a section of Seven Sisters Road, where the incident happened.

"We saw lots of people shouting and lots of people injured," David Robinson, 41, who arrived just after the accident, told AFP.

The London Ambulance Service said it had sent "a number of resources" to the scene.

Threats to mosque

The mosque is near Seven Sisters Road and was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has entirely changed under new management.

Its former imam Abu Hamza was jailed for life in New York on terrorism charges in 2015.

He preached there from 1997 to 2003 before being jailed for inciting violence. He was later extradited to the United States.

In 2015, the mosque was one of around 20 that took part in an open day organised by the MCB to promote better understanding of Islam following Islamist-inspired attacks in Paris.

Despite the change in leadership and new focus on community relations, the mosque received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Read more on:    uk  |  security  |  religion

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