THE FINSBURY PARK attack is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command – that indicates that the initial assessment is that this is a politically motivated and deliberate attack.
The Prime Minister confirmed at approximately 5am that the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack and she will chair an emergency response meeting later today.
The latest news on the casualties is that one man was pronounced dead at the scene of the attack. His next of kin are being informed. The precise cause of death will have to be established by a post mortem in due course. In addition, eight people have been taken to three different hospitals and two people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
The circumstances of the attack were reported by several witnesses and the stories have been difficult to confirm. The latest police information is that a 48 year old man drove a white van into a crowd of Muslims who were making their way home after prayers. There were some reports of stabbings, but the official news is that no stabbing injuries were dealt with by the emergency services.
Further information was given by an eye witness on the BBC, who said that an elderly man who had come out of prayers had been taken ill and collapsed on the ground. It was as people grouped round to try to help him that the van drover deliberately into the crowd.
The driver was taken out of the van and detained by members of the public. Police arrived quickly and arrested him. He was taken to hospital as a precaution and once he is discharged from hospital he will be held in custody. The police also intend to see that he undergoes a mental health assessment.
A very large number of police are still in the area. Soon after the incident took place there were reports that one or two other men had escaped from the van, but the police are now saying that no other suspects are being sought. Local police are managing the cordons around the area and are being supported by other police from neighbouring boroughs. The Territorial Support Group and other armed officers are also assisting. The police presence is prominent to assist the investigation and also to reassure the local community. The cordons have trapped some residents and worshippers who have not been able to leave or return home respectively.
The police are asking that anyone with information or who witnessed the event should contact the police on 101 or via Crimestoppers, who will take information anonymously, on 0800-555 111.
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Muslims run over as they return from prayer