In the latest terrorist attack to hit Britain, one man died early Monday after a van plowed into a crowd of worshipers leaving a mosque in North London. Ten other people were injured.
Counter-terrorism police were called out to investigate the incident, which occurred in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood just after midnight. A witness told the BBC that the driver said, “I want to kill Muslims,” as he tried to flee the scene. He was overpowered by bystanders and detained until police arrived.
Scotland Yard said they had arrested a 47-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder. The man’s name was not released. A witness told Sky News that two other people fled the scene of the attack, but police said there were no other suspects at present.
The incident follows only weeks after three Islamic attackers drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then went on a knife rampage through busy Borough Market, killing eight people. Vehicles have also been also used to attack the public on London’s Westminster Bridge, in Nice, France, and in Berlin.
Monday’s incident took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when worshipers traditionally fast during the daytime and worship at night. British media reports said that a crowd had gathered outside the mosque Sunday night to help an elderly worshiper who had collapsed; the man died after the attack, but it was unclear whether his death was due to the attack itself.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was “every bit as sickening” as the previous assaults that have hit Britain in recent months, including the massacre in the London Bridge area and the May 22 suicide bombing that hit an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, said the police would beef up patrols around mosques across London.
“All the victims were from the Muslim community and we will be deploying extra police patrols to reassure the public, especially those observing Ramadan,” Basu said. “This was an attack on London and all Londoners. We should all stand together against extremists whatever their cause.”