A van hit pedestrians near a mosque in north London today causing injuries to several people, following which the vehicle’s driver was arrested, police said. The incident took place outside the Muslim Welfare House, which contains a mosque, on Seven Sisters road, the Guardian reported. The site is close to the Finsbury Park Mosque, from which worshippers were leaving after midnight prayers when the incident took place, Sky News reported. The police, who termed the collision a “major incident”, are investigating whether it was accidental or deliberate and it is understood that in the crash’s initial aftermath armed officers were deployed as a precaution, the Guardian said.
A witnesses told Sky News that at least ten people were hit by the van. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, 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.”
Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, tweeted that the van had “intentionally” run over people leaving night prayers held during the holy month of Ramadan. According to the Independent, footage of the incident showed injured people motionless on the pavement as angry crowds surrounded a white man believed to be the driver. London’s transport authority said on Twitter that the Seven Sisters road had been closed due to an “emergency services incident”.
The city’s ambulance service said in a statement on Twitter that it had sent “a number of resources” including ambulance crews, paramedics and specialist response teams to the scene. “An advance trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by car,” the statement said. An eyewitness who lives in a flat on Seven Sisters Road said she saw people “shouting and screaming”, the BBC reported. She told the BBC that the van seems to have hit people who were coming out of the Finsbury Park mosque after prayers finished.
Witnesses said the road was “backed up” with police cars, ambulance and fire engines. Earlier this month, three knife-wielding Islamist attackers unleashed a terror rampage in the British capital, plowing a van into pedestrians on the London Bridge before stabbing revellers in a nearby market, killing seven people. The attackers were killed by police.