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One dead after a 'van hit Mosque worshippers' in Finsbury Park, London

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5:06am 19th June 2017
(Updated 3:36pm 19th June 2017)

A van has hit up to 10 worshippers leaving a Muslim welfare centre in north London, according to the Muslim Council of Britain.

The Metropolitan Police say they are dealing with a "major incident" as a result of the collision in Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park.

The council said on Twitter: "We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims."

It added later that the collision occurred outside the Muslim Welfare House, which is nearby the mosque.

Theresa May has described the incident as "terrible", adding: "All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones, and the emergency services on the scene."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who constituency is nearby North Islington, said: "I'm totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight. I've been in touch with the mosques, police and Islington council regarding the incident.

"My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event."

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) Harun Khan said: "During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship. It appears from eyewitness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date.

"Given we are approaching the end of the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid with many Muslims going to local mosques, we expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency."

A delivery driver who was on a bike about three cars behind the incident, Mohammed Abdullah, says he saw the van take a sudden left turn.

"I think he done it on purpose. I was on a ped. He was about three cars in front of me. He came in a bus lane and took a sharp left.

"He went on top of the people. He actually ran them over. It was a white van.

"There was three of them. Two of them ran away. The other was held at the scene until the police came. Some people wanted to beat him up.

"I've seen about six or seven people on the floor. Most of them was male. It was exactly the same time as the prayers finished. As soon as it finished, this guy came. I think (the road he took) is a blocked road - It's not even a through road.

"The other two got away. They must be somewhere around Finsbury Park. They ran away somewhere."

He said the man arrested did not say anything.

"He had a tattoo on his back. He was not ill. He was not drunk. He got arrested by five or six police officers. They took him away. They never dropped him or nothing."

He said in his opinion it was a terrorist attack.

Ratip Alsulaimen, who ran to the scene from a coffee shop, said between eight to 10 victims were taken away by ambulances.

Another witness, Abdikadar Warfa, said: "I saw a man underneath the van. He was bleeding. My friend said he had to lift the van, I was busy with a man who tried to escape.

"My friend said he said some words, but I didn't hear it.

"They (people who were hit) were mostly young. They are very bad."

Pictures on social media suggest the collision occurred at the entrance to Whadcoat Street.

London Ambulance Service say they have sent a "number of resources" to the scene.

Dozens of police, fire and ambulance service vehicles have been sent to the area, armed officers are on the scene and a helicopter is overhead.

The Met Police said in a statement: "Police were called just after 0020hrs 18 June to reports of a vehicle in collision with pedestrians.

"Officers are on scene with other emergency services. There are a number of casualties being worked on at the scene.

"There has been one person arrested. Enquiries continue."

London Ambulance Service Deputy Director of Operations, Kevin Bate said: "We were called at 12.15am to reports of a road traffic collision at Seven Sisters Road.

"We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene. An advance trauma team from London's Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by car.

"We are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene.

"Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital."

Transport for London says Seven Sisters Road has been closed northbound between Hornsey Road and Rock Street.

UPDATE

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu - the senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing - has been speaking outside Scotland Yard.

Northumbria Police has offered a message of support to local communities in light of the tragedy outside a mosque in London last night.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan said:

"We know our communities will be concerned following the tragic events in London overnight which has seen one person killed and many more injured.

"The incident outside of Finsbury Park mosque in North London is being treated as terrorism by the Metropolitan Police and a man has been arrested.

"It will be concerning for members of the public here in Northumbria but we want to reassure people that there is nothing to suggest there is any specific threat to our communities in Northumbria.

"The national threat level has not changed and currently remains at 'severe' but there will be additional patrols in our region to make local people feel safe.

"Those additional patrols will also take place around all places of worship, including mosques, but again we would reiterate that there is no intelligence to suggest that these are at threat.

"There will also be increased patrols and engagement at prayer time during this final week of Ramadan.

"High visible patrols, including armed officers, will continue to take place in high footfalls areas such as the city centres and around transport hubs as they have done since last year.

"Members of the public should not be concerned about the patrols and we would encourage you to approach our officers and speak to them.  We are there to protect you and keep you safe.

"Neighbourhood officers and community engagement teams across the force will be speaking to local community groups to offer reassurance throughout the week."

Members of the public are reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police or by calling the Anti-Hotline on 0800 789 321 or visit here.

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