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  • Police at the scene after a vehicle rammed pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of north London, U.K., June 19, 2017.

    Police at the scene after a vehicle rammed pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of north London, U.K., June 19, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

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"We call it a terrorist attack as we called it in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge," the chairman of the mosque said.

One person died and several others were injured in north London early Monday after a van rammed into worshippers leaving a mosque, witnesses said, in what British police described as a "major incident."

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According to a police statement, the 48-year-old driver of the van was in custody. The Metropolitan Police also confirmed that all the victims are Muslims and the case is being investigated as a possible terrorist attack.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she would lead an emergency meeting later Monday about the case. “All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene,” she said.

In an address, she stated that: "This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship and, like all terrorism in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal. It seeks to drive us apart and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship which we share in this country.

Men praying after the London Mosque attack.

"We will not let this happen. This morning we have seen a sickening attempt to destroy those freedoms and to break those bonds of citizenship that define our United Kingdom.

"It is a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible."

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The Muslim Council of Britain said the vehicle hit people as they were leaving Finsbury Park mosque.

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the 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."

The Muslim Welfare House praised the bravery of its imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, who helped to calm the situation as members of the public detained the attacker.

Assistant Secretary-General Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain said the van had deliberately swerved into a group of people who were helping a man who was ill and had fallen to the ground.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the attack. The Most Rev. Justin Welby said: "The freedom to worship without fear is a right we cherish as a nation and was won at great human cost over many years. The appalling attack on Muslims in Finsbury Park is an attack on us all and on the culture and values of our country."

"A number of passers-by, or friends, or people who had come by from the mosque, were gathering around him to help take him to his family, take him to his house," Versi told Reuters.

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"At that moment in time, basically a van swerved into them deliberately," he said, citing a witness at the scene.

He said the driver had run out of the van but a group of people caught him and held him until police arrived.

One man was pronounced dead at the scene. Eight pedestrians were taken to three separate hospitals and two others were treated at the scene for minor injuries, the police said.

Mayor Sadiq Khan urged residents to remain calm and vigilant. “While this appears to be an attack on a particular community,” he said, “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.”

Khan told BBC Radio 4's Today program: "Terrorism is terrorism, whether it's Islamist-inspired or inspired by others."

Leaders Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn arrived at the scene of the attack Monday. The Guardian reported that her willingness to talk to the people affected is notably faster than her response to the Grenfell Tower fire last week.


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