London police are responding to what they termed a “major incident” tonight: a vehicle that ran over numerous pedestrians who had just left a mosque in the Finsbury Park section on the city’s north end. Metropolitan Police said early this morning that one man has died and eight other people were injured.
The driver of the vehicle, a large white van, was arrested on the scene. While police have not released his identity, he was described in numerous accounts as being a white man. The Financial Times spoke to one witness who said the driver “looked happy” and was waving to onlookers as he was arrested. Another witness told BuzzFeed that the driver said he was going to “kill all Muslims.”
Police have thus far declined to say whether they are labeling the incident in a neighborhood popular with immigrants as a terrorist attack.
U.S. cable news networks jumped on the story, which extends a particularly violent spring in the U.K. Earlier this month came a similar vehicular attack on pedestrians on London Bridge followed series of stabbings carried out by ISIS-affiliated assailants. Last month a suicide bombing killed 22 people and injured dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
In the initial hours, the mosque incident was not easy to follow on television, as police restricted access to cameras as the worked to secure the scene. “We’re being held some distance away from where the van was,” said Phil Black on CNN, as footage from the pre-dawn hours showed a line of uniformed police, flashing lights and passers-by milling around, and little else in the frame.