London is once again waking up to bloodshed.
Mosques across the country are on a state of high alert after this morning’s terror attack, which saw a rental van driven into crowds in Finsbury park, North London.
It was the same tactic Islamic extremists used in recent assaults on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.
“We found about 15 to 20 people on the scene tending to the injured, administering CPR on the brother who is now deceased, and three people restraining the assailant”, he said, adding “they couldn’t hold him down and push back the people trying to hit him, so we pushed those people back”. Two were treated on site.
A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and terror offences. At 4:46 a.m. the Met stated that its Counter Terrorism Command was investigating the incident.
Police and community leaders have praised those who restrained the van driver and stopped others from attacking him before police arrived.
The Metropolitan Police Service, already stretched by investigations of the earlier attacks and a high-rise apartment fire that killed at least 79 people, said it was putting extra patrols on the streets to protect the public.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was a “horrific terrorist attack” aimed at “innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan”.
“This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship”, said May who later visited the mosque. Around 10% of the borough’s population is Muslim.
Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park mosque, described it as a “cowardly attack which is no different from the attacks in Manchester or London“, referring to the suicide bombing in Manchester in northwest England on May 22, which left 22 people dead. The mosque, which today operates largely as a community center, rose to global notoriety in the early 2000s, due to its links with Egyptian-born radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri. Terrorists seek to disrupt and disjoint daily life.
London’s Metropolitan Police said officers were called just after midnight Sunday to an incident on Seven Sisters Road.
The population in the streets surrounding the scene of the attack is one of the most diverse in the capital, with Orthodox Jews living alongside Muslim communities from Algeria, Somalia and West Africa in a traditionally working class district fast undergoing the effects of gentrification.
In a statement, Finsbury Park Mosque said it “condemns in the strongest terms a heinous terrorist attack“. British Security Minister Ben Wallace said authorities were aware of rising far-right activity but the suspect was not known to them prior to the attack.
“The attack on Westminster bridge, the attack on London Bridge, the attack in Manchester, the attack last night – all of these are attacks on our shared values of our freedom, of tolerance and of respect, and terrorism is terrorism whether someone is inspired by an Islamist narrative or other forms of ‘inspiration, ‘” he said.
Jonathan Arkush – president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews – also condemned the attack. “My prayers are with the victims and their families”, read the statement.
“Local and senior police officers regularly meet with faith leaders and will continue to do so following this attack to hear local concerns and provide reassurance to communities”.