London crash: Van slams into crowd leaving mosque, one arrested

Several people were hurt after a van slammed into a crowd — including worshippers leaving a mosque — on a road in north London around midnight Sunday night, witnesses said, as police added that one person was arrested.

Witnesses told Sky News that the driver, described as a white man, appeared to hit the crowd “deliberately.” The crash immediately raised concerns of another terrorist attack in London; however, police did not reveal the possible cause.

Witnesses also told Sky News some 10 people were hurt, but police and medical officials would not confirm that.

“I could see at least two people on the floor, not moving,” witness Cynthia Vanzella, who said the nearby crash woke her up, told Sky News. “There were people sitting on the floor with their head in their hands.”

The neighborhood has two mosques, and several hundred worshippers would have been in the area after attending prayers as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Officers were called to the scene of the “major incident” on Seven Sisters Road at 12:20 a.m. Monday, Metropolitan Police said. The London Ambulance Service said it was responding to the incident. Police shut off the area to traffic as they investigated.

Earlier this month, a van veered into pedestrians on London Bridge, setting off vehicle and knife attacks that killed eight people and wounded many others on the bridge and in the nearby Borough Market area. Three Muslim extremists who carried out the attack were killed by police.

In March, Khalid Masood, a British citizen, crashed his car at Westminster Bridge before launching a stabbing attack on the grounds of Parliament, killing five people in all. Police shot and killed him, ending the massacre.

Britain’s terrorist alert has been set at “severe” meaning an attack is highly likely.

“Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital,” the London Ambulance Service announced early Monday.

“Our prayers are with the victims,” Britain’s Muslim Council wrote on Twitter after the crash.

The Finsbury Park Mosque is about a 20-minute drive north of London Bridge. The mosque was associated with extremist ideology for several years after the 9/11 attacks in the United States but was shut down and reorganized. It has not been associated with radical views for more than a decade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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