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London van incident: Pedestrians hit near Finsbury Park mosque

  • Just after midnight a van drove into pedestrians near a Muslim welfare organisation in the London suburb of Finsbury Park
  • One person has died, Metropolitan Police confirmed
  • Eight people have been taken to hospital, two treated at the scene
  • Two in hospital are in a 'very serious' condition
  • Police have launched a counter-terrorism investigation

London attack: one dead, eight injured

Police have launched a counter-terrorism investigation as a van incident leaves one person dead and eight injured in the north London suburb of Finsbury Park.

PM May, Jeremy Corbyn visit mosque after attack

Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have visited Finsbury Park mosque to offer their support after the van attack.

It's now 2pm in London, about 14 hours after a van ploughed into a crowd of people. Ten people were injured, two seriously, and a man was found dead - however police have not confirmed if he died as a result of the incident or another medical condition.

As the country's leaders speak to the victims' friends and family members in north London, celebrities have blamed tabloid newspapers for causing the incident, which police are treating as an act of terrorism.

Singer Lily Allen and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling are among those to slam the UK media, saying it radicalised the man who drove the van.

That concludes our live coverage of today's events - thanks for sticking with us.

Read a wrap of how the day unfolded here

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives near the scene where a van struck pedestrians.
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives near the scene where a van struck pedestrians. Photo: AP

Attack 'sickening': Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May has said hatred and evil will never succeed, as she spoke to the media after the van attack.

"This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city: the second this month and every bit as sickening as those which have come before," she said outside 10 Downing Street.

"It was an attack that once again targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives, this time British Muslims as they left a mosque after prayers."

Mrs May said extra police resources will be deployed to provide reassurance.

She said Britain had been far too tolerant of all forms of extremism in the past.

Reuters

Theresa May speaks about the van attack outside 10 Downing Street.
Theresa May speaks about the van attack outside 10 Downing Street. Photo: AP

Imam 'told witnesses to stop attacking van driver'

We're hearing more now about the Imam who stepped in to stop the van driver being attacked.

Two witnesses who spoke to the BBC said angry men were shouting at the driver and trying to hit him as "pandemonium" unfolded.

"The driver was dragged out of the car and pinned to the floor and people were hitting him and punching him ... they were angry with his actions," one witness said.

"The Imam actually came out of the mosque and said 'do not hit him, pin him down and call the police which is the right thing to do'. He's given us good words of advice."

In a statement, the chief executive Muslim Welfare House - which is near the scene of the attack - praised an Imam called Mohammed Mahmoud who "showed bravery and courage" and "helped calm the immediate situation after the incident".

Two victims in 'very serious' condition

The NHS is expected to release an update on the condition of the victims soon.

However, speaking a little while ago, Neil Basu - Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police - said some are in a serious condition.

"I do note at least two are very serious, so again our thoughts go out to their families and friends, who must be very shaken," he said.

The "priority" for police will be to interview the van driver, which will happen as soon as he has gone through the formal custody process.

Van driver arrested 'over suspicion of attempted murder'

The 48-year-old man accused of driving the van has been arrested over suspicion of attempted murder, police say.

Neil Basu has thanked the people who worked with police, to help them calmly take the driver away.

The Guardian reported angry witnesses wanted to confront the man, before an Imam from a nearby mosque stepped in.

"I would like to thank those people who worked with police to detain the man, and worked with officers to calmly and quickly get him into our custody," Mr Basu said.

"Their restraint in the circumstances is commendable, by members of the community who must have been incredibly shaken, incredibly scared, and incredibly angry."

He said the van used in the attack was examined, but nothing was found that would cause concern to the public.

Extra policing resources have been deployed across London to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan.

Mr Basu called on Londoners to remain calm and vigilant.

"This has been an incredible challenging time for London and the emergency services are stretched," he said. "Nevertheless, we will all do absolutely everything we can with our partners to protect London.

"Now is the time, once again, for London to stand together to face those who seek to divide us."

A police officer talks to Finsbury Park locals near the scene where a van hit pedestrians.
A police officer talks to Finsbury Park locals near the scene where a van hit pedestrians. Photo: AP
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Police at the scene 'instantly'

Neil Basu from the Metropolitan Police says officers were on the scene "instantly", despite reports from witnesses that a police response took up to half an hour.

"From 21 minutes past midnight this morning, police received a number of calls to Seven Sisters Road following a van having collided with pedestrians," he said.

"Officers were in the immediate vicinity at the time, actually as the attack unfolded, and they responded instantly. Additional officers were on the scene within ten minutes."

Mr Basu said one man was pronounced dead at the scene, eight were taken to hospital, and two did not require hospitalisation for their injuries.

"All the victims were from the Muslim community," he said.

He praised members of the community for coming to the aid of injured victims, as well as holding down the suspect before his arrest.

Police inspect a hired van near Seven Sisters Road, where one man died in what police are treating as a terrorist attack.
Police inspect a hired van near Seven Sisters Road, where one man died in what police are treating as a terrorist attack. Photo: Getty Images

'This was an attack on London'

Neil Basu, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, has just given an update on the investigation.

Speaking at New Scotland Yard, the counter-terrorism co-ordinator confirmed the person who died in the attack was a man who had collapsed on the footpath before the van hit.

"The attack unfolded while a man was already receiving first aid from the public at the scene, and sadly that man has died," Mr Basu said.

"Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation. It is too early to state if his death was as a result of this attack."

Mr Basu said the thoughts of police were with everyone injured in the attack, as well as their friends, families and their wider community.

"This is being treated as a terrorist attack, and the counter-terrorism command is investigating," he said. "This was an attack on London and all Londoners, and we should all stand together against extremists, whatever their cause."

The scene at Finsbury Park where the attack unfolded.
The scene at Finsbury Park where the attack unfolded. Photo: AP

No other suspects sought, police say

Police say they are not seeking anyone else over the van attack, despite some witness reports that three men were in the van that ploughed into a crowd of people.

"At this early stage there are no other suspects, however the investigation continues," Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Eight people injured by the van were taken to three hospitals, while two people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The driver is expected to be released from hospital, where he was taken as a precaution, and will be taken into custody.

Forensics officers examine the crime scene on Monday morning.
Forensics officers examine the crime scene on Monday morning. Photo: Getty Images

Van driver 'threw punches' after attack

Abdul Rahman has told the BBC he was one of the bystanders who held down the suspected attacker before police arrived. 

He said a van deliberately ran over about 10 people on the footpath, before the driver jumped out and began throwing punches.

"When this man came out from his van, he was still passing punches. 'I want to kill more people, I want to kill more people'," Mr Rahman said.

"So literally we got him to the ground, me and my friend, until the police came. We had to hold him around 20 [minutes] to, I would say, half an hour. He was a strong guy.

"He wanted to continue to run away, but luckily people who came out of there, out of the mosque, helped."

Mr Rahman said he repeatedly asked the driver why he had driven into a crowd of innocent people, but the man would only respond: "Kill me, kill me".

"Maybe he didn't want to get arrested," Mr Rahman said.

Some witnesses cried while they waited for police to arrive, while others were injured on the ground. One of those injured was Mr Rahman's close friend.

"He's very, very, very injured," he said. "He's got a brain injury, hit by the van."

Mr Rahman said he and his friend had gone to get coffee from a late-night shop after breaking their fast, when they stopped on the footpath where an elderly man had collapsed.

The crowd that had gathered to give the man first aid was then hit by the van.

"When this van came, he probably wanted to go to the mosque," Mr Rahman said.

"When he saw this gathering, he thought maybe it was people coming from the mosque. Actually it was people trying to help someone on the ground, which was an old man. I think he passed out."

A police forensics officer examines the scene at Finsbury Park, where one person was killed and eight were injured in a ...
A police forensics officer examines the scene at Finsbury Park, where one person was killed and eight were injured in a van attack. Photo: Getty Images

Suspect was detained by people at the scene: witnesses

Witnesses have told the BBC and Sky News that the driver of the van that hit pedestrians was detained by people in the vicinity until police arrived.

Abdul Rahman said he held the man down for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Witnesses have reported the van deliberately swerved to hit 10 or more people.

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'He did what he did deliberately': local Muslim leader decries attack

The chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House community centre near where the attack occurred, Toufik Kacimi, said the driver of the van consciously drove to hit people.

"He did what he did deliberately to hit and kill as many Muslims as possible," Mr Kacimi told Sky News. He said a witness had heard the driver shout "I did my bit".

 

The Finsbury Park attack: photo gallery

Images of the scene where one person was killed and others injured after a van reportedly swerved to hit pedestrians on a London street. 

 

Home secretary calls for unity

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, whose portfolio includes national security matters, released the following statement:

My thoughts are with all those affected by the appalling incident at Finsbury Park. I am in contact with the Metropolitan Police who have confirmed it is being investigated by their Counter Terrorism Command.

Yesterday, like so many others around the country, I took part in the Great Get Together to celebrate the values of Jo Cox. It was powerful and moving to see the community come together in a show of solidarity.

We must all continue to stand together, resolute, against all those who try to divide us and spread hate and fear.

London mayor declares attack 'horrific' terrorism

"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," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement on social media. 

"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."

Mr Khan said police had deployed extra officers to protect Londoners, including communities observing Ramadan.

'We expected it': Muslim youth leader

"In many ways this [attack] was inevitable," Muhbeen Hussain, founder of British Muslism Youth, told the BBC.

"We expected it, because we've seen numerous types of Islamophobic attacks.

"They're not just small attacks we're talking about, from verbal abuse to real attacks on individuals and attacks on mosques, which have been taken as retaliation in a sense from after other attacks that we've seen, whether that's been in Manchester or London."

Local people observe prayers at Finsbury Park after a vehicle struck pedestrians.
Local people observe prayers at Finsbury Park after a vehicle struck pedestrians. Photo: PA
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Potential terrorist attack: May

British Prime Minister Theresa May said police had labelled the Finsbury Park incident as a possible terrorist attack. 

"I will chair an  emergency meeting later this morning," Ms May said. "All my thoughts are with the victims,  their families and the emergency services on the scene." 

Man arrested to undergo mental health check

The Metropolitan Police said a 48-year-old man arrested in connection with the attack had been taken to hospital "as a precaution". His mental health will be assessed. He will then be taken into custody. 

No other suspects have been detained or reported, police said. 

Eight people taken to hospital

Deputy director of operations with the London Ambulance Service, Kevin Bate, said eight patients had been taken to three hospitals.

More than 60 medics responded to the incident near a Muslim welfare organisation. 

 

One person killed

The Metropolitan Police in London have confirmed one person has died after a van struck pedestrians on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park. 

Police have launched a counter-terrorism investigation.

'This is the most violent manifestation to date': Muslim leader condemns attacks

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the incident at Finsbury Park appeared after months of intensifying Islamophobia.

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