Culture

A Van Has Reportedly Plowed Into A Group Of Pedestrians In London And Caused Multiple Casualties

Please see updates on this incident at the bottom of this post.

Shortly after midnight in London (local time) on Monday, reports indicate that a large vehicle drove into a crowd on Seven Sisters Road. The Independent was one of the first outlets to relay news that London police received an initial call at 12:20am involving “a number of casualties” near Finsbury Park Mosque, although authorities have not yet confirmed that the incident was specifically targeted toward this venue.

CNN followed up with confirmation that ambulance services arrived on the previously specified road. London Metropolitan Police have provided few other details thus far, except that “there has been one person arrested.” At this time, it’s not known whether any deaths have occurred or if the vehicle intentionally or accidentally struck the pedestrians.

The area near the collision has been cordoned off, and according to social media reports, at least 15 emergency vehicles have responded.

Peter Bergen, a terror analyst who spoke with CNN, says that it wouldn’t be unusual for a crowd to gather outside a mosque after midnight:

“Ramadan, particularly in a country like the UK, where the days are very long in June, you know you’re fasting from dawn to dusk and you’re breaking the fast at night … Night comes pretty late in London this time of year. It wouldn’t be odd that you would have large numbers of people breaking their fasts and praying at this time.”

Two weeks ago, London was also the site of terror attacks on and near London Bridge. During that event, a vehicle killed multiple pedestrians before attackers entered a nearby restaurant and began stabbing people. Within minutes of the first calls to emergency services, police shot and killed the three suspects in those attacks.

UPDATE #1 – 9:40pm EST: The Associated Press tweeted a statement from the Muslim council, which says that the “van that struck pedestrians in London ran over worshippers leaving Finsbury Park mosque.”

UPDATE #2 – 9:50pm EST: CNN tweeted additional video from the scene.

UPDATE #3 – 10:45pm EST: CBS News reports that London authorities consider it much too “early to say” whether this was a terror attack. The arrested suspect remains in custody.

UPDATE #4 – 10:50pm EST: CNN adds (via correspondent Ian Lee) that bystanders at the scene apprehended the suspect prior to police arrival:

“It’s unclear if the driver of the van tried to get out or if the people were able to pull him out of the van, but what the eyewitness told me is that locals were able to apprehend him very quickly — and this is a man, according to the eyewitness — and were able to hand him over to police, where he was then arrested.”

UPDATE #5 – 11:50pm EST: Buzzfeed News reports an eyewitness statement from Saleh Alamoudi: “This big van just came and went all over us. I think at least eight or 10 people were injured. Luckily I managed to escape, and then the guy came out of his van.” Alamoudi also reported that the driver shouted, “I’m going to kill all Muslims.”

This is a developing situation, and we will report additional details as they arrive.

(Via The Independent, CNN & Associated Press)

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