Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

London police plead for calm after attack at mosque

"This was an attack on London and all Londoners and we should all stand together against extremists whatever their cause", said Neil Basu, senior counter-terrorism officer for the Metropolitan Police.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said hatred and evil would never succeed after a van ploughed into worshippers near a London mosque in a deliberate attack on Muslims as they left prayers at mosques in north London on Monday. He explained to me that the man was very violent, aggressive, and he came over him until the police arrival - but there were other people helping him because the crowd was extremely angry, unhappy, so some people started acting violently too.

One woman who said she lives next to the scene told the BBC that she had heard yelling and screeching outside her window.

She was due to hold an emergency ministerial meeting on Monday. "The situation is still unfolding and I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant".

The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with the London Bridge attack, when three men drove a van into pedestrians before embarking on a stabbing spree, as well as with another auto and knife rampage in Westminster in March.

Police said one man was pronounced dead at the scene and that the van driver, 48, had been detained by members of the public before being arrested.

London police closed the area to normal traffic.

Police have not named the man arrested, but the van bears the logo and phone number for Pontyclun Van Hire in south Wales.

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The newspaper said the arrested man is "white with black hair".

Our thoughts and prayers this morning are with the family and friends of the man who died and those who were injured.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd says police "immediately" treated a fatal incident outside the mosque as a suspected terrorist attack.

However, it said at this stage there are no reports of any people having suffered any knife injuries.

Witnesses explained that the driver mowed down worshippers shortly after a midnight service ended.

"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. "And he just came into all of us".

"There was a lot of people". I was shocked, there were bodies around me.

"After that we saw the van drive from the middle to the left-hand side onto the pavement where people were just walking".

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The Guardian quoted an eyewitness, Boubou Sougou, as saying: "It was not an accident, I saw everything". One person was killed and 10 were hurt.

"Everybody was shouting: 'A van's hit people, a van's hit people, '" she said.

British security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with official policy, said hate crimes directed at Muslims have increased almost five-fold in the wake of several attacks in Britain.

"We are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene". Eight of the injured were taken to hospitals and the rest were treated at the scene.

Another man, who gave his name as Mohin, said his cousin was caught up in the incident.

Police said the Counter Terrorism Command was investigating the crash.

- Extra officers have been deployed to "reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan", according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

- A statement released by the Muslim Council of Britain condemned what it described as a "terror attack".

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Witnesses have described the "horrible" moment a van was "deliberately" driven into pedestrians near a north London mosque.

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