International desk: British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed yestyerday to fight terrorism in all its forms after a white driver ploughed his van into a crowd of Muslims in a suspected Islamophobic attack, reports AFP from London. It was the fourth terror strike in a tumultuous four months in Britain.
The man arrested on suspicion of carrying out a terror attack near a north London mosque is Darren Osborne from Cardiff, adds BBC. The father-of-four was held after a van hit Muslims who had been attending evening prayers in Finsbury Park. Ten people were injured in the incident which took place in the early hours of Monday after evening prayers in a mosque in Finsbury Park in north London. One man also died at the scene after falling ill for unrelated reasons just before the attacker struck. May condemned the assault as “sickening”, saying Britain’s determination to fight “terrorism, extremism and hatred… must be the same, whoever is responsible”.
The 48-year-old van driver was detained by people at the scene before being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The Finsbury Park Mosque said the van “deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers” at the mosque and the nearby Muslim Welfare House shortly after midnight.
Many linked the attack to an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes, particularly since a van and knife rampage in the capital on June 3 that left eight people dead, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.
London police chief Cressida Dick said the incident was “quite clearly an attack on Muslims” and promised a stepped-up police presence near mosques as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.
The attack unfolded as an elderly man was receiving first aid from members of the public in an unrelated incident.
The man later died, though it is not yet clear whether his death was linked to the attack, said Neil Basu, the police senior national counter-terror coordinator.
Witness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP the van “drove at people” and that some of the victims were carried for several metres along the road.
“He was shouting: ‘All Muslims, I want to kill all Muslims’,” another witness, Khalid Amin, told BBC television.
Ten people were hurt, all Muslims, with eight requiring hospital treatment. Two were in a very serious condition, police said.
Basu praised locals for detaining the man, saying their “restraint in the circumstances was commendable”.
France and Germany quickly condemned the attack and Egypt’s Al-Azhar institution, the leading authority in Sunni Islam, condemned it as “sinful” and urged Western countries to take steps against Islamophobia.
“Al-Azhar affirms its total rejection of this terrorist, racist, sinful act, calling on Western countries to take all precautionary measures to limit the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” it said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump expressed solidarity with the worshippers in a tweet but her father has so far remained silent.