LONDON, U.K. - On Sunday night, a suspected “terrorist attack” shook a community in London after a vehicle rammed into worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque in the British capital.
The incident on Sunday came weeks after the troubled country faced three terrorist attacks in the three months and a massive blaze at an apartment block in recent days, that has killed dozens of people.
Reports noted that several people were injured in the incident that occurred on the Seven Sisters Road.
In a brief statement, the British police described the on-going situation in London as a “major incident” but authorities have not yet called it as a “terrorist attack.”
The police said that they received a call at around 12:20 am regarding the collision on Seven Sisters Road, which runs through the area around the mosque - adding that they feared several people were dead in the incident.
The police later added that they had arrested one suspect.
The Muslim Council of Britain said on Monday that worshippers were hit by a van as they left the north London mosque, adding, “We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left Finsbury Park Mosque.”
Meanwhile, an eyewitness quoted in a BBC report stated, “From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. … Everybody was shouting: ‘A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people’. There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park mosque that seemed to have hit people who were coming out after prayers had finished. I didn’t see the attacker himself, although he seems to have been arrested, but I did see the van.”
So far, reports have confirmed that at lease three people were seriously injured near the mosque and witnesses said they saw at least one person being loaded into an ambulance
Another eyewitness, describing the horror said the van was deliberately hitting the worshippers pouring out of the mosque - recalling, “The gentleman went straight down this road, people were just conversing, talking, just doing what we’re doing. And he just came into all of us. There was a lot of people. We got told to move straight away. I was shocked, shocked, shocked. There were bodies around me. Thank God I just moved to the side, I just jumped. Everyone is hurt. Everyone is actually hurt.”
A report in The Guardian quoted another eyewitness 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.”
Other witnesses described seeing three men in the van and said that two men ran away from the van, while one was nabbed.
However, officials have not confirmed the number of suspects in the van.
Meanwhile, Transport for London agency issued an advisory to residents living close by to seek a different route around if they planned to travel near Seven Sisters Road.
The agency said, “A503 Seven Sisters Rd is now closed N/B at Hornsey Rd & S/B at Rock St due to an emergency services incident. Seek alternative route.”
The London Fire Brigade also issued a statement on Twitter saying that they have employed various ambulance crews at the scene of the incident.
They said in a tweet, “We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene. An advance trauma tream from Lodnon’s Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by car.”
A huge police operation is currently underway near the scene of the incident.
Earlier this month, a van veered into pedestrians on London Bridge, setting off vehicle and knife attacks that killed eight people and left several other injured on the bridge and in the nearby Borough Market area.
The three Muslim extremists who carried out the attack were subsequently killed by the police.
The attack came days after the bombing in Manchester at an Ariana Grande concert, leaving several casualties.
Before that, in March, a British citizen, identified as Khalid Masood crashed his car at the Westminster Bridge before launching a stabbing attack on the grounds of Parliament, killing five people.
Masood too was shot and killed by the police.
After the three attacks, Britain's terrorist alert was set at "severe" meaning an attack is highly likely.