Just after midnight in the early hours of Monday morning, a man in a van mounted a sidewalk near a North London mosque and plowed through pedestrians, leaving one person dead and injuring eight others.
“He went into the bus lane and took a sharp left to run people over. He did it on purpose,” one eyewitness told Sky News.
The incident occurred near Finsbury Park Mosque and has been described by Met Police as a terrorist attack.
“This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting,” Met Commissioner Cressida Dick told media at the scene. “We treat this as a terrorist attack. We in the Met are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country.”
“I saw 6 or 7 people on the floor” – Witness describes the moment a white van hit people leaving a mosque ‘on purpose’ in Finsbury Park pic.twitter.com/OhWvLctek2
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 19, 2017
The man responsible has since been identified as Darren Osborne, 47, a father of four, from Cardiff, in the U.K.
He reportedly shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims” before mounting the curb and racing his van towards a group of people huddled around an elderly man who’d collapsed prior to the incident.
“I had been walking when I saw a man on the street. People said he was sick and that he’d collapsed. After a minute I looked up and saw a van driving at high speed,” witness Abdikadar Warfa told the Press Association. “It was driving on Seven Sisters Road but instead of continuing on Seven Sisters Road it turned left and went through the people.”
— Alexander Britton (@adbritton) June 19, 2017
Imam Mohammed Mahmoud had just finished leading prayer at the Finsbury Park Mosque when the incident occurred.
“Around five minutes after we finished prayers, a brother came in quite panicked and said that somebody had run over a group of people and tried to kill them,” Imam Mahmoud told The Guardian.
“It was deliberate. He drove at 90-degree angle. It was enough to make people fly off to the side and he dragged two people underneath him. One of whom we are worried that he may be paralysed for life because he couldn’t move his arms and legs and said he couldn’t feel them.”
— CNN (@CNN) June 19, 2017
Imam Mahmoud along with several others detained Osborne and protected him from angry onlookers before police arrived at 12:20 a.m.
“Some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches,” Imam Mahmoud told The Guardian. “By God’s grace, we managed to surround [Osborne] and to protect him from any harm. We stopped all forms of attack and abuse towards him that were coming from every angle.”
As he was held by locals, Osborne is alleged to have said: “I did the job… I done my bit. I’d do it again, I’d do it again.”