London: Man drives into crowd of people leaving mosque; 1 dead

By Ray Downs   |   Updated June 20, 2017 at 12:07 AM

June 18 (UPI) -- Police in London arrested a man after he "intentionally" drove a vehicle into several pedestrians near a mosque Sunday, leaving one person dead.

London Metropolitan Police said in a statement that one death has been confirmed and eight people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals. Two more people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

The victims were worshippers leaving a mosque in London's Finsbury Park.

The suspect has been identified as 47-year-old Darren Osborne, a father of four who was described by neighbors as "strange" and "aggressive." People who witnessed the attack said Osborne shouted that he wanted to "kill all Muslims."

"This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting," said London metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick. "We treat this as a terrorist attack and we in the Met are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country at what has happened."

"During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship," said Harun Khan, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain. "My prayers are with the victims and their families. It appears from eyewitness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia."

"Everyone was shouting 'a van's hit people,'" one eyewitness told the BBC. "There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park Mosque that seems to have hit people who were coming out of the mosque after prayers."

"He just came into all of us. There was a lot of people. We got told to move straight away," another witness said. "I was shocked, shocked, shocked. There were bodies around me."

According to Sky News, witnesses said Osborne said, "I've done my bit" after ramming into several people.

Onlookers then tried to physically retaliate against Osborne, but an imam on the scene protected the suspect until police arrived.

The Muslim Welfare House released a statement calling for calm.

"We have worked very hard over decades to build a peaceful and tolerant community here in Finsbury Park and we totally condemn any act of hate that tries to drive our wonderful community apart," the statement read.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn released a statement on Twitter following the incident.

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

Community leader Abjol Miah said anti-Muslim sentiment has increased lately but he was optimistic about the possibility of people coming together.

"People are going to wake up tomorrow...communities from all different backgrounds, and they're going to be in shock to hear worshipers in front of a mosque were attacked in the same way that people were attacked on the London Bridge," he said.

On June 3, terrorists rammed a van into pedestrians on the London Bridge and then proceeded to stab several people in the area. Seven people were killed in the attack. All three suspects also died.

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