Londoners hold vigil for Muslim terror attack victims

USA Today

The attack - the fourth terror assault to jolt Britain in four months - occurred just after midnight outside the Muslim Welfare House, which houses a mosque, on the Seven Sisters Road when some people were helping a man who had collapsed.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it is being "treated as a terrorist incident" adding: "The investigation is ongoing and we are working fast to know the full details of how and why this took place".

Almost a dozen people were injured a van crashed into pedestrians leaving a mosque in London.

The man, who did not want to be named, said: "The gentleman went straight down this road, people were just conversing, talking, just doing what we're doing". I think it's significant that they had the reputation historically of being one of the most militant mosques in London.

"He's got problems, but he's also got a wife and four kids, and we can't talk to his partner Sarah, she's somewhere safe", she said.

Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said that over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date.

Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi said he was among a group of people helping an elderly worshipper who had fallen down when the van swerved towards them.

Community leaders are praising a local imam for restraining a mob that had surrounded the man accused of driving a van into a crowd of worshipers near Finsbury Park Mosque in London.

"I tried to stop him (the suspect), some people were hitting him but I said stop him and keep him until the police came".

London Ambulance Service said later that eight patients were treated at the scene and taken to three London hospitals.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the attack and said it was deliberate and targeted "innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramzan".

"People were shouting this is an act of terrorism, even though he's white", another witness, Hillary Briffa, said, referring to the man taken away be police.

Eyewitness Abdul Rahman said the driver said he wanted to "kill all Muslims".

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"This is every mother's worst nightmare", she said.

A complicated picture emerged of his personal life, with neighbours describing him as a "family man" who was heard singing in his kitchen with his children on Sunday afternoon, just hours before he is alleged to have driven to London.

"We have a witness saying that the guy who did what he did, the driver of the van, said 'I did my bit, ' which means he's not mentally ill", Kacimi said.

Christine said she screamed in horror after spotting her son in TV footage of the attack.

Police have also denied rumors that a knife was involved.

She said security at mosques and other places of worship in the lead up to Eid Al-Fitr to reassure the community.

Mamhoud was joined by several other bystanders who formed a protective ring around the suspect until police hustled him into the back of a van, the Evening Standard reported. An imam prevented people from taking revenge on the man, he said.

The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with this month's London Bridge attack, when three men drove a van into pedestrians before embarking on a stabbing spree, and with another auto and knife rampage near parliament in March.

The terrorist alert in the United Kingdom has been moved to "severe", which indicates an attack is highly likely.

The van used in the attack bears the logo and phone number for Pontyclun Van Hire in south Wales. "We will stay a strong city", the mayor said.

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, described the attack as "cowardly".

Manchester was hit by a deadly attack on May 22 when a suicide bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert.

Prime Minister Theresa May's office says she has been told about the crash in north London in which a vehicle struck several pedestrians.

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