A man driving a white van ploughed into pedestrians coming out of a mosque just after midnight on Monday.
LONDON — A 47-year-old man is being held on terrorism offences after the van he was driving ploughed into pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque in North London early Monday morning, killing one person and injuring 10.
Eight people were taken to local hospitals and two others were treated for minor injuries at the scene. A man was pronounced dead at the scene, though it is not clear if this was related to the attack or a previous illness.
A white van, rented from a Welsh-based company, went through a bus lane, mounted the pavement, and hit a group of worshippers leaving one of London’s biggest mosques just after midnight. The Muslim Council of Britain said the van's driver intentionally ran over worshippers who were breaking Ramadan fast.
The Imam, the leader of the mosque, came out to protect the attacker when the crowd tried to hit him, according to eyewitnesses.
The suspect was named as Darren Osborne and is from the Cardiff area, according to the BBC. He is understood to have four children.
According to eyewitness Khalid Amin, who spoke to the BBC, the attacker said: " target="_blank"I want to kill all Muslims."
Security Minister Ben Wallace told Sky News that the arrested suspect was not known to security services, but that he "clearly took advantage of a simple weapon, a vehicle, to make an attack on people going about their business."
Police believe the suspect acted alone, but searches are being carried out at a residential address in the Cardiff area, where Osborne has been living.
The sister of the suspect told Press Association that she is "very sorry for what's happened," speaking outside her house in Somerset. The family said he "has been troubled for a long time," according to the BBC, but that he is "not a racist."
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who chaired an emergency meeting later on Monday, said the attack "targeted the ordinary and the innocent" in a televised speech at 10 Downing Street.
"Today we come together as we have done before to condemn this act and state an act of hatred of this kind will never succeed in dividing us. Like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same goal: to drive us apart. We will not let this happen."
She added that extra police forces have already been deployed on the streets of London.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khah called the incident a "deliberate attack on innocent Londoners" that "appears to be an attack on a particular community." Like the attacks on London Bridge, Westminster Bridge, and Manchester, Khan called the latest act of terrorism "an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect."
Khan later visited the scene in North London and gave a statement urging the government not to cut spending on the Met Police Service:
Khan’s warning about police cuts follows similar pleas from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and both high-ranking and former high-ranking police officers in the final weeks of the election campaign.
Police responded to a number of calls to Seven Sisters Road Road shortly after midnight. The driver of a white van who rammed into pedestrians was arrested on suspicion of murder, police said in a statement.
A video of the arrest, which showed police loading the suspect into a police van while crowds shouted, quickly circulated online.
Toufik Kacimi, the CEO of the Muslim Welfare Council, called for "calm" and said that the police and Jeremy Corbyn, who is the MP for the constituency, had been very helpful.
The "guy did what he did deliberately and this is not a mental-health issue," Kacimi told Sky News, after an eyewitness told him that the attacker said "I did my bit."
The van-hire company in South Wales where the attacker rented the van, Pontyclun Van Hire group, said in a statement that they were "shocked" and "saddened" by the incident and were cooperating fully with police.
"We will not be making any further statement because of the ongoing police investigation but will continue to assist the police in any way we can," it added.
After the attack, men prayed on the pavement near the mosque in Finsbury Park.
There were a number of false reports immediately after the attack, including claims that there was more than one attacker, there were knives involved, and that emergency services took more than an hour to arrive.
One visibly shocked Muslim man in his mid-30s, who declined to be named, told Business Insider's senior reporter Rob Price that he was angry with police because they had allegedly taken over 30 minutes to arrive.
In a Monday-morning press conference, deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu confirmed that "no one else was in the van" and said that no knives were involved. He said emergency services were at the scene within 10 minutes.
As Britons were waking up to the news, the UK's Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed the attack was being investigated by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command.
Alex Spurgeon, a Finsbury Park resident, told Price that he "heard a helicopter very low overhead and a lot of sirens." The police were outside his front door the next morning, blocking access to Seven Sisters Road.
Spurgeon, who was at Muslim Welfare House for the Great Get Together on Saturday, said it was awful that "something this could happen so soon after such a positive community meeting."
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party and the MP for the constituency where the mosque is, visited the scene on Monday.
"As the local MP, I have met with Muslim community leaders at the Muslim Welfare House alongside Islington Council Leader Richard Watts, the council's Chief Executive Lesley Seary and the Metropolitan Police," Corbyn said in an emailed statement. "I call on everyone to stand together against those who seek to divide us."
US President Donald Trump had yet to comment on the attack by evening local time. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, said that he had been made aware of the attacks and was receiving constant updates.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families — and we've made it very clear to our British allies that we stand ready to provide any support or assistance that they may need."
Hundreds of locals came out for vigil organised by The Faiths Forum for London at the Finsbury Park Mosque Monday evening.
Earlier, people paid their respects by laying flowers outside the mosque.
Finsbury Park is a key transportation hub for the tube, buses, and trains. Transport for London left the following sign outside the tube station:
The Muslim Association of Britain called on politicians to treat this incident "no less than a terrorist attack" and for the government to do more to prevent hate crimes.
"We call on the government to do more to tackle this hateful evil ideology which has spread over these past years and resulted in an increase of Islamophobic attacks and division of our society, as well as spreading of hate," the association said in a statement.
The association’s president, Omer El-Hamdoon, called on all Muslims to be "extra vigilant following these hateful Islamophobic attacks."
David Curtis, 57, a practising Jew living in Finchley, North London, heard about the attack on the news this morning and came after synagogue. He told Price: "It just feels it's exactly what the terrorists have been trying to achieve ... They seek to divide communities.
He quoted Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered last year by a right-wing extremist, who said: "There's more that unites us than divides us."
A number of others have gathered to give support to the community and to promote peace.
The attack follows three high-profile terrorist attacks in the UK since March, all which the Islamic State has taken responsibility for.
In March, a 52-year-old Briton killed five people when he drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer office. Twenty-two people were killed in a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. In early June, eight people were killed when three men ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge.