Identity of London mosque attacker revealed
THE man accused of ploughing a car into a crowd of people outside a north London mosque has been identified as a father-of-four Darren Osborne.
The 47-year-old Welshman has been held by police after the rampage and is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and terrorism offences, The Sun reports.
Officers have also raided addresses in his home city of Cardiff in the wake of the attack, which killed one and left 10 injured.
British Security Minister Ben Wallace said authorities were aware of rising far-right activity but were not aware of the suspect before the incident, AP reports.
Mr Osborne's mother told the Daily Mail the attack was an "atrocity".
"I'm not going to defend him but he is my son and it's a shock. It's not just robbing a bank it's an atrocity," she said.
The driver was seen smiling and blowing kisses as people lay bleeding around him after the white van ploughed into the crowd as people left evening prayers shortly after midnight on Sunday.
A local shopkeeper, who didn't want to be named, said locals pinned down the driver as he yelled hateful comments.
"We heard words that made people want to do bad things to him," he told news.com.au, refusing to repeat what the driver had said. "It made people realise he did this on purpose."
"The thing that got me was that he was so calm. Even when he killed the guy he was laughing, blowing kisses. That's cold hearted."
Video from the scene shows the driver waving and blowing kisses as he is packed into a police van. He will undergo a mental health assessment.
This is one of the men arrested,happily grinning whilst being handcuffed. The ambulances have been reported to not have arrived. The other 2 men have escaped!! I do wonder why he has not been labelled a terrorist though!!! These Videos Need To Go Viral So The Media Can Stop Protecting & Editing As They Like !!! Make Dua for all In Shaa Allah #finsburypark @bbcnews @foxnews @itvnews @skynews @cnn
'HE WAS WAVING AND LAUGHING'
The vehicle mowed down around 10 people on the street outside the Muslim Welfare House and around the corner from Finsbury Park Mosque just after midnight on Sunday.
Witnesses told how the man timed his drive to coincide with the end of evening prayers and deliberately swerved into the crowd sending people flying. Two people were trapped under the van and it's feared one could be paralysed.
Hussein Ali told news.com.au the attacker "chose to get as much casualties as possible; he came exactly at the time to get as much people as he wanted".
He ran for his life after hearing a loud bang but said others told him the man was "proud" and "waving his hand and laughing" after carrying out the attack.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the man fled from the van or was pulled, however he was captured by members of the Muslim community who held him there until police arrived. The local Imam is being hailed as a hero after urging restraint from the crowd.
Witnesses reported him saying he "wanted to kill all Muslims" and "I did my bit" after carrying out the attack. Video posted on social media shows the man being put into a police van and waving and blowing kisses to those outside.
Witness Ratip Al-Sulaimen, who was nearby in a coffee shop at the time, said he arrived to see complete chaos and the driver on the ground.
"The people caught him and they started hitting him and he said, 'I've done my bit'," he told news.com.au.
"We are one community, we don't want people to divide us."
Police confirmed one man was pronounced dead at the scene and counter-terrorism officers are investigating. Eight people have been taken to three separate hospitals.
The suspect has been taken to hospital in handcuffs. He will be subject to a mental health assessment.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, said: "London has woken up to the news of another appalling attack on our city.
"London is a city of many faiths and many nationalities. An attack on one community is an attack on all of us.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, said all of the victims were from the Muslim community.
"I would like to thank those people who helped police in detaining the man and worked with officers to calmly and quickly get him into our custody.
"Their restraint in the circumstances was commendable."
The attack follows a spate of terror incidents in the UK including at Borough Market where eight people died in early June. Twenty-two died in a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May and a police officer was killed in Westminster in March.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Today's attack falls at a difficult time in the life of this city, following on from the attack on London Bridge 2 weeks ago - and of course the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower last week, on which I will chair another meeting of Ministers and officials later today."
"But what we have seen throughout - whether in the heroism of the ordinary citizens who fought off the attackers at London Bridge; the unbreakable resolve of the residents in Kensington; or this morning the spirit of the community that apprehended this attacker - is that this is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people."
'I'M GETTING SCARED'
The increasingly frequent attacks have left locals fearing for their safety.
Crouch End man Emmanual Begedi, 24, said two of his friends were injured and he first heard about it when he received a video from one on his phone.
"Every two weeks we're seeing things like this. It's snowballed. We love this country so why are things happening like this?"
"We don't know where it's going to be next. It's ridiculous, I'll be honest, I'm getting scared."
Hassen Hammouda, 20, is in London on holiday from Tunisia and said he couldn't believe what was happening in front of him.
"The is the first time I've seen anything like this. Of course I'm scared, it's crazy, man".
'MAINSTREAM MEDIA' SLAMMED
The attack happened in the London Borough of Islington, close to Finsbury Park station, a major underground and suburban rail interchange in the capital's north. Arsenal football stadium is nearby.
Early reports suggested there may have been three attackers, however police have not confirmed this.
Some witnesses and locals outside the police cordon told media they were unhappy about the response from police and media, which did not immediately declare it a terrorist incident.
The chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, Mohammed Kozbar, has complained that the "mainstream media" was unwilling to call the attack a terrorist incident for many hours.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd says police "immediately" treated a fatal incident outside a London mosque as a suspected terrorist attack.
Police were called to the scene shortly after 12.20am local time and a helicopter circled overhead as emergency services treated people on the street and took them away on stretchers.
A woman who lives opposite told the BBC: "From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. ... Everybody was shouting: 'A van's hit people, a van's hit people!'"
One witness, identified only as Rayan, told CNN it was clear that the attacker at Finsbury Park had deliberately targeted Muslims.
"He tried to kill a lot of people so obviously it's a terrorist attack," said Rayan. "He targeted Muslims this time."
Injured pedestrians were taken away on stretchers as the road filled with police, emergency services and bystanders, including many Muslim worshippers who had just left the mosque and began praying on the street for those hurt.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said police were "responding to a horrific terrorist attack on innocent people."
He added: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. I am grateful to our emergency services, who responded quickly and have been working on the scene throughout the night.
"This was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.
"While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect."
Islamaphobic attack in finsbury park right now. A van randomly swerved off the main road and ran over several muslim men. pic.twitter.com/FM2RP0Fd4d— 🕊 (@__ABDULQAADIR) June 19, 2017
Muslim Welfare House CEO Toufik Kacimi issued a statement saying the community was "horrified at this incident" and sent "thoughts and prayers to the victims and those injured."
He issued particular thanks to Imam Mohamed Mahmoud, "whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life."
Mr Kacimi appealed for calm and said speculation was unhelpful, adding that he had met with local MP Jeremy Corbyn.
"We have worked very hard over decades to build a peaceful and tolerant community here in Finsbury Park and we totally condemn any act of hate that tries to drive our wonderful community apart," he said.
"Muslim Welfare House has always welcomed the whole community. Only a few days ago, we hosted a Great Get Together in memory of [murdered Labour MP] Jo Cox, attended by people of every faith and background."
Mr Kacimi told Sky News one witness had heard the driver say, "I did my bit", after getting out of the van.
Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque, told The Sun: "Whoever did this, he did it to hurt people and it's a terrorist attack.
"We call it a terrorist attack as we called it in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge."
A spokesman from Finsbury Park Mosque on St Thomas's Road told news.com.au worshippers were leaving at the time of the incident "200 metres away", but he did not know if it was a targeted attack.
Secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain Harun Khan said in a statement: "My prayers are with the victims and their families. It appears from eye witness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.
"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date."
He urged the authorities to increase security outside mosques "as a matter of urgency" and said action needed to be taken to tackle the growth in hate crime over the past few years, acknowledging that many would feel "terrorised" after the incident.
London Ambulance Service Director of Operations Kevin Bate said: "We were called at 12.15am to reports of a road traffic collision at Seven Sisters Road.
"We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist response teams to the scene. An advance trauma team from London's Air Ambulance had also been dispatched by car."
The Muslim Association of Britain tweeted: "Tragic to hear of attack against worshippers at Finsbury Park. Our thoughts are will those injured in the attack. We condemn this heinous attack on Muslim worshippers, and we call on the authorities to act promptly to capture the perpetrators."
'IT WAS REALLY UGLY'
Local resident Cynthia Vanzella told Sky News: "It was really ugly. I saw at least two people on the floor not moving and police officers trying to do chest massage on them."
Earlier, she tweeted: "Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them. I just hope they did."
Lil shordy posted: "My mums friend is in a coma after the Finsbury Park attack."
Ali Habib said he was on the scene and that a friend "doesn't know if his family are safe at the moment."
WELSH VAN USED IN ATTACK
The vehicle appears to have been a hire car from Pontyclun Van Hire, based near Cardiff in Wales.
Prime Minister Theresa May said police had confirmed it was being treated as "a potential terrorist attack" and that she would chair a COBRA emergency response meeting on Monday.
UK Labour leader Mr Corbyn said he was "totally shocked at the incident" and had been in touch with local mosques, the council and police.
"My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event," he said.
Meanwhile, a shirtless, far right activist went on a Twitter tirade, implying the nearby mosque was to blame for the incident, despite the fact members of the mosque were targeted.
Finsbury Park Mosque has been at the centre of controversy in the past. Radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri was barred from the north London place of worship after years of struggle and police closed it down in January 2003 amid a major al-Qaeda associated investigation, the BBC reports.
In 2003, the mosque was raided by the police and shut down before it was reclaimed in 2005 by the local Muslim community and transformed with the help of the Muslim Association of Britain.
In November 2015, the Metropolitan Police said they were treating as a hate crime an attempted arson attack. Police released CCTV footage showing a suspect throwing over the railings what police said was a can filled with petrol.
The incident follows a series of terror attacks in Britain. Eight people were killed and 50 injured on June 3 when three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars.
On May 22, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert an Ariana Grande Manchester, killing 22 people and hospitalising 59.