A man who reportedly announced he wanted to “kill Muslims” drove a van into a crowd early Monday morning in London’s north end, striking several pedestrians near a mosque in the U.K. city.
Police said the 47-year-old driver — who was held by the crowd until officers arrived — has been arrested for attempted murder and the “commission, preparation or instigation” of terrorism. A residential area in Cardiff, Wales, is also being searched, according to London’s Metropolitan Police.
The crash occurred shortly after midnight, when the multiethnic neighbourhood was crowded with Muslims leaving the Finsbury Park mosque after Ramadan prayers. Muslim leaders called it a hate crime and asked the public to stay calm.
‘Hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed.’
— Theresa May, U.K. prime minister
Officials said eight people were taken to hospital and one person died at the scene, though the London Ambulance Service later said it transported nine people.
Two other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Police said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fatality, noting that the person had apparently fallen ill prior to the attack.
“A man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene” at the time of the attack, said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, senior national co-ordinator for counterterrorism.
“It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack.”
Harun Khan of the Muslim Council of Britain — citing eyewitness accounts and videos taken at the scene — appeared to confirm this later in the morning. He said a “white man in a van intentionally plowed into a group of worshippers who were already tending to someone who had been taken ill.”