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Crime

Good Samaritans Take Down Driver Who Crashed Van into Worshippers Outside London Mosque

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Members of the public took down the suspect who drove a van into a group of worshippers outside a north London Mosque early Monday, injuring 10 people and killing one in an attack officials have called “sickening.”

Scotland Yard has called the incident a terrorist attack.

The 48-year-old man allegedly drove the van into the crowd on Seven Sisters Road, near a Muslim community center and a mosque in Finsbury Park, shortly after midnight when worshippers had just finished Ramadan prayers, CNN reports.

It was members of the public who wrestled the suspect to the ground and held him down before police arrived, according to CNN. The Imam from the mosque urged the citizens not to harm the suspect, witnesses told the man. He was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder and the incident is being investigated as a terrorist attack, CNN reports.

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Eight people were hospitalized as a result of the attack while two were treated at the scene, Neil Baus, with the Metropolitan Police, said. All of the injured were members of the Muslim community, he said.

Police are investigating whether a man who was receiving first aid before the incident died as a result of the attack, according to the Associated Press.

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Witnesses said that the man called out “I want to kill Muslims,” as they tackled him, according to the AP and multiple other news sources.

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Adil Rana, 24, told the Press Association that several people were on the ground in the wake of the attack.

“The van was driving towards us to try and basically hit us at speed and everyone was shocked and people were screaming,” Rana said. “The driver jumped out and then he was pinned down to the floor and people were punching him and beating him, which was reasonable because of what he’s done.”

Eyewitness Hussain Ali described to the BBC the moment that the mosque’s Imam intervened.

“The leader of the mosque said ‘You do not touch him,’ ” Ali said. “He was sitting and holding him like that, people kept holding him.”

Police said early on Monday that there were no other suspects – and they are sending extra resources to places of worship, especially mosques, as the end of Ramadan nears.

“No matter what the motivation proves to be, and we are keeping an open mind, this is being treated as a terrorist attack and the Counter Terrorism Command is investigating,” Basu said. “This was an attack on London and all Londoners and we should all stand together against extremists whatever their cause.”

The Metropolitan’s Commissioner, Cressida Dick, said, “London has woken up to the news of another appalling attack on our city. My thoughts are with the family of the man who has died and with all those who were injured.”

James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

She added, “London is a city of many faiths and many nationalities. An attack on one community is an attack on all of us. Terrorists will not succeed in their attempts to divide us and make us live in fear.”

Meanwhile, Britain held another minute’s silence to remember those who died in the tragedy of Grenfell Tower in west London last Wednesday. Authorities say 79 people are known to have died but that figure is expected to rise.

The incident is the latest traumatic terrorism attack to hit the U.K., following the car and knife attack in Westminster in March, a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May, and the London Bridge and Borough Market attacks earlier this month.