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London mosque attacker: ‘I want to kill all Muslims’

Ambulances arrive in the Finsbury Park area of north London where a vehichle hit pedestrians on June 19, 2017. Several people are injured, police said Monday, adding that one person had been arrested. | Photo Credit: AFP

LONDON: All the victims of a van attack on worshippers at Finsbury Park Mosque were Muslim which clearly indicates that the attacker had deliberately targeted Muslims.

“All the victims were from the Muslim community,” counter-terrorism police co-ordinator Neil Basu told reporters, adding that the man who died was already receiving first aid before the incident.

The van swerved towards the people outside the Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the biggest in the country just as they began to assist the man, who had collapsed.

Witness Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi told BuzzFeed News that the suspect allegedly screamed: “He (the driver) was screaming… ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims,’ I’m going to kill all Muslims’. He was throwing punches.

“He turned left into the alleyway, and he just drove at people,” eyewitness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP.

“Some of them he took a few metres. A man was inside in the van, I saw with my eye, and the old man was also on the ground, and I see some people were also injured. Some of them were very bad.”

Locals then pounced on the driver and pinned him down while waiting for the police to arrive.

“The man, he tried to escape… but they caught the driver,” Warra said.

Eyewitness Khalid Amin told BBC television that the van turned deliberately left and “just hit the people”.

One man was trapped under the van and people tried to lift up the vehicle to free him.

Amin said that when people seized the driver, “he was shouting: ‘All Muslims, I want to kill all Muslims.’ Literally, he said that. Word by word.”

Police said that one man had been arrested at the scene and that no further suspects had been identified.

– ‘It’s a terrorist attack’ –

Another eyewitness, who gave his name as Athman, told AFP: “People were screaming: ‘It’s a terrorist attack, it’s an attack, this guy attacked us’, and I had to run back and tried to save people who were still alive and giving water, helping the police.

“While he was in the police van he was waving for victory, he was very happy.

“He chose the time and he chose the place and he chose his target. So, it’s the holy month of Ramadan.

“The time, he was planning for it, the target, he was planning for it, and the place — outside a mosque.”

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, called for Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to take action.

According to head of Muslim Council of Britain, the white man in a van “intentionally” runs over people leaving night prayers for the holy month of Ramadan.

The incident came after two terror attacks in London in the past three months involving vehicles ploughing into crowds of people, as well as the suicide bombing attack at a Manchester pop concert in May.

“People now have a big question about safety in London after all these terrorist attacks, and we want to assure them that they are safe, and that’s why we want to work with the police,” Kozbar said.

“People feel unsafe because after the terrorist attacks of London, Manchester, the increase of Islamophobia and hate crimes,” he added. “This is very worrying to the Muslim community.”

With AFP Inputs