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Finsbury Park: Suspect named in terror attack on mosque

Posted at 8:56 PM, Jun 18, 2017

(CNN) -- London is once again waking up to another terror attack.

Here's what we know so far about an incident in which a van drove into pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque, north London, in the early hours of Monday morning, injuring several people.

The 47-year-old driver of the van is now being held for terrorism offenses, the Met Police said in a statement. Earlier reports had given the man's age as 48. According to multiple UK media outlets, the man is Darren Osborne of Cardiff.

Earlier in the day, searches were carried out at a residential address in the Cardiff area in Wales, the Met Police statement said, and authorities confirmed that the van used in the attack had been rented from a car company in Wales.

"This is being treated as a terrorist attack and the Counter-Terrorism Command is investigating," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing.

Police are asking people who witnessed the attack to come forward.

GALLERY: London mosque hit by 'terrorist attack'

UK Prime Minister Theresa May also called the incident a terror attack when she addressed reporters outside Downing Street Monday. Earlier, she chaired an emergency meeting of Cabinet members, police and security personnel, the Downing Street press office told CNN.

"This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship and, like all terrorism in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal. It seeks to drive us apart and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship which we share in this country," she said.




What happened

-- The incident unfolded as evening Ramadan prayers ended.

-- Just after midnight Monday, a van ran into a group of people in London's Finsbury Park neighborhood.

-- The driver of the van, a 47-year-old white man, was wrestled to the ground by people at the scene and held until police arrived. He is being held on terrorism offenses, the Met Police said in a statement. He's being identified as Darren Osborne of Cardiff, according to several UK media outlets.

-- Muslim Welfare House CEO Toufik Kacimi said the attacker shouted "I did my bit, you deserve it."

-- Imam Mohammed Mahmoud of the Muslim Welfare House stopped an angry crowd from turning on the van driver, telling the furious mob: "Do not touch him."

-- The van bears the logo and phone number for Pontyclun Van Hire in south Wales. Authorities later confirmed the van had been rented in Wales.

-- UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said the attacker "did not appear on the security services' radar" and "we didn't have any prior knowledge of him from the security services."

The investigation

-- The Metropolitan police's Counter Terrorism Command forces are investigating the incident and authorities are asking witnesses of the attack to come forward to aid in the investigation.

-- Searches are being carried out at a residential address in the Cardiff area in Wales, a Met Police statement said.

-- Police said they believe the attacker acted alone, despite earlier reports from witnesses, who said they saw two other people flee the scene.

-- Extra officers have been deployed to "reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan," according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

-- The Prime Minister said police decided to treat the incident as a terror attack within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call.

-- Residents in Finsbury Park had criticized authorities for not declaring the incident as terrorism almost immediately. Police publicly announced they were treating it as a terror attack more than eight hours after the event.


-- All of the victims were from the Muslim community, police said.

-- One man was found dead at the scene, according to police, but it's not clear if he was killed during the attack. Police said he was already receiving first aid when the attack unfolded.

-- Two people were treated at the scene, May said, and eight others have been taken to three hospitals. Two of them are seriously injured.

The community

-- Islington's Seven Sisters Road, where the attack took place, is home to at least four mosques, and would have likely been filled with worshipers leaving late-night taraweeh prayers.

-- The Islington borough of north London, of which Finsbury Park is a part, is home to a large Muslim community. Around 10% of the borough's population is Muslim.

-- Opened in 1994, Finsbury Park Mosque is an unassuming five-story red brick building in residential north London, close to Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium. The mosque, which today operates largely as a community center, rose to international notoriety in the early 2000s, due to its links with Egyptian-born radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

-- Abu Hamza, who was the mosque's imam from 1997 to 2003, was later extradited to the United States, where he was convicted of supporting al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, and sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

-- Since then, the mosque has worked to turn its reputation around and now operates mostly as a community center.


-- Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu praised citizens who helped in the immediate aftermath of the attack: "Their restraint in the circumstances is commendable."

--The Finsbury Park Mosque "condemns in the strongest terms" a "heinous terrorist attack" early Monday, according to a statement released by the mosque. The mosque called it a "callous terrorist attack."

-- Mohammed Kozbar, trustee and mosque general secretary, said that the attack was aimed at "killing Muslims returning home after Ramadan prayers."

-- UK Communities Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC that "clearly, from what we've seen and what we know already, this is a hate crime attack."

-- London Mayor Sadiq Khan paid tribute to "the fantastic response from the police and emergency services."

-- Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said, "We take all forms of hate crime and violent extremism incredibly seriously."

-- UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, "We must all continue to stand together, resolute, against all those who try to divide us and spread hate and fear."

-- Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said he is "shocked by this horrific and cruel attack" and appealed "for people and the media to remain calm and respectful of those affected."

-- Muslim Council of Britain said in a statment that "ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship. My prayers are with the victims and their families."

-- The head of Tell MAMA, an anti-Islamophobia group, says anti-Muslim hate crime in the United Kingdom has increased noticeably after the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.

-- British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who hosted an Iftar at his home last night for the local Muslim community, said "we must never allow hatred to breed hatred."

-- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said "the appalling attack on Muslims in Finsbury Park is an attack on us all and on the culture and values of our country."

-- White House press secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump "has been made aware" of the attack and the White House sends its "thoughts and prayers" to the "victims and their families."

CNN's Carol Jordan, Steve George, Alla Eshchenko, Katie Polglase, Ryan Prior and Darran Simon contributed to this report.

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