Vehicle hits people near London mosque, several hurt

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A van rammed into pedestrians near a mosque in London today causing injuries to several people, following which the vehicle’s driver was arrested, police said.

London mosque
Photo Courtesy: NY Daily News

The incident took place just after midnight outside the Muslim Welfare House, which contains a mosque, on the Seven Sisters Road in the northern part of the city, the Guardian reported. The site of the incident is close to another mosque near the Finsbury Park on the same road.

Several worshippers were in the area after attending Ramzan prayers and are believed to be among those injured, according to eyewitnesses and reports.

The Metropolitan Police declared the collision as a “major incident” and said that there were “a number of casualties”. A man, believed to be the driver of the vehicle, has been arrested, they said.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May described the situation as a “terrible incident”, the Guardian said.

“All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene,” she said.

Counter-terrorism officers have joined regular police looking at the incident which is in its early stages.

Officials are investigating whether the collision was accidental or deliberate, the Guardian reported.

A witnesses told Sky News that at least ten people were hit by the van.

Harun Khan, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted that the van had “intentionally” run over people leaving night prayers.

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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.

The Guardian quoted an eyewitness, Boubou Sougou, as saying: “It was not an accident, I saw everything. People were badly injured. The van driver tried to escape but people grabbed him. He did not say anything.”

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.

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Another eyewitness, who lives in a flat on the Seven Sisters Road, said the van seemed to have hit people who were coming out of the Finsbury Park mosque after prayers finished, the BBC reported.

Witnesses said the road was “backed up” with police cars, ambulance and fire engines.

Reports said a helicopter could be heard circling over Finsbury Park and police have cordoned off the area.

Earlier this month, three knife-wielding Islamist attackers went on a 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.

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