Latest: Muslim man 'can't believe' his neighbour from Cardiff carried out London Mosque attack

Latest: A man held by police over the Finsbury Park attack has been identified as 47-year-old father of four Darren Osborne.

    Here’s what we know so far:

  • A man held by police over attack has been named as 47-year-old Darren Osborne;
  • Police were called just after 12.20am on Monday to reports of a vehicle striking pedestrians in Seven Sisters Road;
  • The Metropolitan Police said one man died following the incident;
  • A further eight people injured were taken to three separate hospitals, while two people were treated at the scene for minor injuries;
  • A 48-year-old man was detained by members of public at the scene and then arrested by police in connection with the incident;
  • Witnesses said the van struck pedestrians who were tending to an elderly man who had collapsed;
  • Police said no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police;
  • The investigation of the incident is being carried out by the Counter Terrorism Command;
  • The Muslim Council of Britain said the van intentionally ran over worshippers, and it called for extra security around mosques.

Update 6.16pm: A man held by police over the Finsbury Park attack has been identified as 47-year-old father of four Darren Osborne.

Osborne, from Cardiff, was arrested after pedestrians were targeted by a man driving a van near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early on Monday.

Witnesses described hearing the van driver, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: "I'm going to kill Muslims."

The man was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder but Scotland Yard said he was later arrested for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder.

Residents near Cardiff said said they were "shocked" after seeing photographs of their neighbour being arrested in London.

A police community support officer stands in front of a house in Cardiff as searches are carried out in connection with the attack near to the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London.

Police are searching a residential address in Pentwyn, where Osborne is listed as living, in connection with the attack.

Five residents identified images of the man being arrested as their neighbour, Osborne, who according to reports is originally from Somerset.

Saleem Naema, 50, and his young son also said the man pictured was their neighbour.

"I can't believe it," Mr Naema, a taxi driver, said.

"I know him. I've lived here for five years, he was already living here when I moved in.

"If I ever needed anything he would come. I just can't believe that he did that. I am a Muslim."

Police vehicles at the rear of a house in Cardiff, as searches are carried out in connection with the attack near to the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London.

Khadijeh Sherizi, who lives next door to Osborne, said: "It is definitely him.

"I saw him on the news and I thought 'oh my God' that is my neighbour.

"He has been so normal. He was in his kitchen yesterday afternoon singing with his kids.

"He was the dad of the family. He has kids. He lives next door. He seemed polite and pleasant to me.

"I just can't believe it."

The suspect, who is believed to have been from Weston-super-Mare, remains in custody at a south London police station.

The attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, struck as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque.

Update 3.05pm: An imam who prevented a mob attack on the suspected terrorist van driver has revealed how, as some locals treated the injured, others tried to punch and kick the attacker.

Mohammed Mahmoud said: "We arrived at the incident within minutes. We found the assailant on the floor.

"He had been restrained by about three people. The injured and the deceased’s brother were being tended to.

"We found a group of people quickly started to collect around the assailant.

"Some tried to hit and punch and kick him.

"By God’s grace we managed to surround him and protect him from any harm."

The imam said two men, who he described as brothers, helped prevent a vigilante attack as passions ran high and said they "extinguished any flames of mob rule".

He said a passing police van was the first on the scene.

Mr Mahmoud said: "There was a mob attempt to hurt him, so we pushed pushed people away from him until he was safely taken by police."

Witness Hussain Ali added the suspect was smiling and waving as he brought carnage to Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park, north London.

The imam was hailed as the "hero of the day" by Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House, outside which the attack took place.

Update 1.54pm: The suspect in the attack near Finsbury Park Mosque was not known to the security services, Security minster Ben Wallace has said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the Finsbury Park incident was "quite clearly an attack on Muslims".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn join others in Finsbury Park, north London, near where one man has died, eight people taken to hospital and a person arrested after a rental van struck pedestrians. PA.

Update 1.05pm: Theresa May has vowed that "hatred and evil" of the kind seen in the attack on a north London mosque will never succeed as the firm believed to have hired out the van used in the attack expressed their "shock and saddness" at events.

The firm believed to have hired out the van used in the attack near the Finsbury Park Mosque have said they are "shocked and saddened".

Photographs of the white van involved in the incident in north London, which is being treated as terrorism, feature logos of Pontyclun Van Hire.

Staff at the firm, situated near the village of Pontyclun in Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales, said they were co-operating fully with police.

A police van outside Pontyclun Van Hire in Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan, as a van hired from the company was found in Finsbury Park, north London, where one man has died, eight people taken to hospital and a person arrested after the vehicle struck pedestrians. PA.

In a statement handed to media outside the company, they said: "We at Pontyclun Van Hire are shocked and saddened by the incident that took place at Finsbury Park last night.

"We are co-operating fully with the Metropolitan Police investigation and our thoughts are with those who have been injured in this cowardly attack.

"We will not be making any further statement because of the ongoing police investigation but will continue to assist the police in any way we can."

Police were present at the premises, which is open seven days a week, throughout Monday.

Villagers from Pontyclun spoke of their shock at the apparent local connection.

Shop worker Helen Edwards said: "It was a shock to see the van was from Pontyclun, it brings it close to home. When it’s so close to home it’s even scarier."

Hannah Jenkins, 23, from Talbot Green, who works in the Spar shop in Pontyclun, described it as a close-knit community.

"I think everyone is in shock. This is a small village in Wales and you don’t expect something like this here," she said.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaking in Downing Street after a COBRA meeting following an incident in Finsbury Park, north London.

Update 12.14am: Theresa May has vowed that "hatred and evil" of the kind seen in the attack on a north London mosque will never succeed.

The Prime Minister was speaking following a meeting with security officials and ministers in the Government’s Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall.

She confirmed that police believe the man who drove a van into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in the early hours of Monday acted alone.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May said the attack had "once again targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives - this time, British Muslims as they left a mosque, having broken their fast and prayed together at this sacred time of year".

She added: "Today we come together, as we have done before, to condemn this act and to state once again that hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed."

Mrs May said that the attack on Muslims was "every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life" as the recent string of terror attacks apparently motivated by Islamist extremism, adding: "We will stop at nothing to defeat it."

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid meets a member of the local community in Finsbury Park, north London.

Update 11.29am: Police in London recorded a spike in the number of Islamophobic incidents in the wake of the London Bridge outrage earlier this month, with 20 recorded on June 6 - compared with a daily average of 3.5.

It was the highest daily tally for 2017, and also higher than the numbers registered after the Paris attacks in November 2015, and the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013.

In a speech last week, a former police chief warned that anti-Muslim sentiment online has been "relentless" following the London Bridge attack on June 3.

Mak Chishty, an ex-Metropolitan Police commander who had been the country’s most senior Muslim officer before his retirement, said: "The backlash has been something of a different scale."

While the circumstances and suspected motivations behind the Finsbury Park incident are yet to be made clear, it comes amid mounting concern over far-right extremism in the UK.

Warnings that the threat could be growing were raised after the conviction of Thomas Mair for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox last year.

The Government’s Prevent and Channel programmes, which work to intervene before individuals are drawn into violent extremism, have seen a rise in the number of referrals linked to far-right ideology.

Counter-terrorism police have said that, while the threat is not of the same gravity as that posed by Islamic State or al Qaida, there are extreme right-wing groups attempting to provoke violence and sow discord.

Figures on terror-related arrests have shown an increasing number of white suspects are being held.

In the year to the end of March, there were 113 arrests of white people, compared with 68 in the year before - an increase of 66%.

The white ethnic group accounted for 37% of all terrorism-related arrests in the 12 months, compared with 26% in the previous year.

Statistics on individuals’ ethnicity are not broken down by type of suspected extremism.

Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society think tank, said: "Coming a year after the murder of Jo Cox, we have witnessed what appears to be another hateful act in the community.

"It is looking increasingly likely that this is the latest example of a growing threat of far-right extremism in the UK.

"The Government must ensure urgently the security services have all the resources they need to investigate and prevent extremism-inspired attacks of whatever origin."

Update 10.30am: The Muslim Council of Britain has called for extra security around mosques, describing the Finsbury Park van attack as "the most violent manifestation" of Islamophobia.

The council’s secretary general Harun Khan said he expected authorities to step up security "as a matter of urgency", adding many would feel "terrorised" following the incident outside the Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters Road.

He said: "According to eyewitness accounts and videos taken after the incident, it appears that a white man in a van intentionally ploughed into a group of worshippers who were already tending to someone who had been taken ill.

A police van outside Pontyclun Van Hire in Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan, as a van hired from the company was found in Finsbury Park, north London, where one man has died, eight people taken to hospital and a person arrested after the vehicle struck pedestrians. PA.

"We do not know how many were injured or killed, but our prayers are with the victims and families.

"During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship. It appears from eyewitness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date.

"Given we are approaching the end of the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid with many Muslims going to local mosques, we expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency.

"Muslim communities have been calling for increased action to tackle the growth in hate crime for many years and transformative action must now be taken to tackle not only this incident but the hugely worrying growth in Islamophobia.

Many will feel terrorised, no doubt be angry and saddened by what has taken place tonight.

"We urge calm as the investigation establishes the full facts, and in these last days of Ramadan, pray for those affected and for justice."

Witness Abdikadar Warfa shows reporters a picture of a man who he says was taken away by police after an incident in Finsbury Park, north London, where one man has died and eight people were taken to hospital after a vehicle struck pedestrians. PA.

Mohammed Shafiq of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim organisation which speaks out against extremism, said: "I utterly condemn the senseless and evil van attack against Muslim worshippers outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in London.

"According to eyewitnesses this was a deliberate attack against innocent Muslims going about their life.

"We should make clear that if this attack is confirmed as a deliberate terrorist attack then this should be classed as an act of terrorism.

"The British Muslim community requires all decent people to stand with us against this evil violence.

"Rampant Islamaphobia has been on the rise for a number of years and those on the far right have perpetuated hatred against Muslims.

"They should be called out for their hatred.

"The days ahead will be difficult, but with unity and tolerance we will prevail. We will not allow these far right extremists to divide our diverse communities.

"Enough is enough, my condolences and prayers for all the victims and their families. They are in my prayers."

Labour leader and local Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn expressed his shock at what had happened, writing on Twitter: "I’m totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight.

"I’ve been in touch with the mosques, police and Islington council regarding the incident. My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event."

Meanwhile, chairman of the mosque at Finsbury Park, Mohammed Kozbar, tweeted: "Our thoughts and prayers with those who got injured and effected by this cowardly attack in Finsbury Park area, many casualties in the floor."

Update 8.58am: An attack on a group of worshippers near a mosque by a man in a white van is being treated as terrorism, police said.

One man died after the driver, described as a large white man, targeted people near the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early on Monday.

Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: "I’m going to kill Muslims".

A forensic tent stands next to a van in Finsbury Park, north London, where one man has died, eight people taken to hospital and a person arrested after the vehicle struck pedestrians. PA.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "This is being treated as a terrorist attack."

Mr Basu said eight people are in hospital and two others were treated at the scene.

All of the casualties were Muslims, he added.

He said: "The attack unfolded whilst a man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene; sadly, he has died.

"Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation.

"It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack."

A van in Finsbury Park, north London, where one man has died, eight people taken to hospital and a person arrested after the vehicle struck pedestrians. PA.

The attacker struck as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque.

One witness described being surrounded by bodies in the wake of the attack outside the nearby Muslim Welfare House.

Another witness, who wanted to be identified as Abdulrahman, which is not his real name, told the Press Association: "I managed to get the driver of the van.

"He wanted to run away and was saying ’I want to kill Muslims’.

"So he came back to the main road and I managed to get him to the ground and me and some other guys managed to hold him until the police arrived, for about 20 minutes I think, until the police arrived."

Abdulrahman claimed the driver said ’Kill me’, as he was being held on the ground.

Mr Basu thanked members of the public who detained the driver, saying "their restraint in the circumstances was commendable".

The driver has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Earlier: One man has died and eight people have been taken to hospital after a van was driven into pedestrians near a north London mosque.

The van driver, described by eyewitnesses as a large white man, was detained by members of the public after the attack in Seven Sisters Road at 12.20am on Monday.

One witness described being surrounded by bodies in the wake of the attack outside the Muslim Welfare House, close to Finsbury Park mosque.

Another said the attacker shouted about killing Muslims as he was held by local people.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: "One man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Officers are in the process of informing next of kin. A post mortem examination will be scheduled due course.

"Eight people injured were taken to three separate hospitals; two people were treated at the scene for minor injuries."

Commenting on reports that the van driver also produced a knife, the statement went on: "At this stage there are no reports of any persons having suffered any knife injuries.

"The driver of the van - a man aged 48 - was found detained by members of public at the scene and then arrested by police in connection with the incident.

"He has been taken to hospital as a precaution and will be taken into custody once discharged.

"He will also be subject of a mental health assessment in due course."

The force said the investigation of the incident is being carried out by the Counter Terrorism Command.

Some witnesses at the scene said more than one attacker may have been involved.

But the Met said: "At this early stage of this investigation, no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police, however the investigation continues."

The force added: "Due to the nature of this incident extra policing resources have been deployed in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan."

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Police have confirmed this is being treated as a potential terrorist attack.

"I will chair an emergency meeting later this morning.

"All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene."

The attacker struck as the area was busy with worshippers who had been attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque.

One resident told the Press Association he jumped out of the way as the van struck pedestrians.

The man, who did not want to be named, said: "The gentleman went straight down this road, people were just conversing, talking, just doing what we’re doing.

"And he just came into all of us. There was a lot of people.

"I was shocked, shocked, shocked. There were bodies around me.

"Thank God I just moved to the side, I just jumped. Everyone is hurt. Everyone is actually hurt."

Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi said he was among a group of people helping an elderly worshipper who had fallen down when the van swerved towards them.

He told BuzzFeed: "I think at least eight or 10 people got injured. Luckily I managed to escape. And then the guy came out of his van and I got him.

"He was screaming, he was saying, ’I’m going to kill all Muslims, I’m going to kill all Muslims’. He was throwing punches.

"Then we managed to get him on the floor. Then he was saying, ’Kill me, kill me’. I said, ’We are not going to kill you. Why did you do that?’ He wouldn’t say anything."

But another witness at the scene said the attacker did not say anything.

Aweys Skeikh Ali said: "No, no, he was shocked."

The Muslim Council of Britain confirmed that worshippers had been targeted in the attack.

Secretary general Harun Khan said: "During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship.

"My prayers are with the victims and their families. It appears from eyewitness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date.

"Given we are approaching the end of the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid with many Muslims going to local mosques, we expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency."

Mr Khan added: "Many will feel terrorised, no doubt be angry and saddened by what has taken place tonight.

"We urge calm as the investigation establishes the full facts, and in these last days of Ramadan, pray for those affected and for justice."

There has been an increase in hate crime reports since the Manchester Arena bombing and the London Bridge attack.

Video posted online of the aftermath of Monday’s attack showed a scene of chaos as people tried to help the injured.

One man could been seen giving CPR to a victim in the street while another man’s head injury was treated with a makeshift dressing.

People could be heard shouting and screaming amid the chaos and bloodstains were visible on the pavement.

In one video, a group of men are seen holding the suspect to the ground as they call for the police.

Abdikadar Warfa said: "I saw a man underneath the van. He was bleeding. My friend said he had to lift the van.

"I was busy with a man who tried to escape. My friend said he said some words, but I didn’t hear it.

"They (people who were hit) were mostly young. They are very bad.

"I tried to stop him (the suspect), some people were hitting him but I said stop him and keep him until the police came.

"He was trying to run away but people overpowered him. He was fighting to run away."

One man, who gave his name as Mohin, said his cousin was caught up in the incident.

The 32-year-old told the Press Association: "There were a lot of people in the street, crossing the street, going to mosque for prayers, for forgiveness, just to pray and go home and eat.

"They are doing their usual daily routine - they did not expect a van coming out of nowhere hitting them.

Images of the van showed it was rented from Pontyclun Van Hire in Pontyclun, near Cardiff.

Finsbury Park mosque was once infamous as the stamping ground of hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza.

But it was raided and shut down and later reclaimed by the local Muslim community, who have transformed it into a place which actively promotes better community relations across faiths.

In 2015 it was the target of an attempted arson when a white man with a jerrycan full of petrol tried to light it and throw it over the railings in front of the site before fleeing on a moped.

PA

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Related Articles

Finsbury Park attack suspect 'has been troubled for a long time'

Theresa May heckled during visit to site of London mosque attack

Imam hailed for bravery after holding and protecting van attack suspect

This is what the Muslim Council of Britain had to say on the Finsbury Park attack

More in this Section

Nicola Sturgeon tells Scottish parliament second independence referendum plans are on hold

This Science Museum exhibition charts the last 500 years’ evolution of robots

A newly-discovered parrot species has already been declared endangered

How virtual reality is helping patients to ‘see’ their back pain


Lifestyle

Inistearaght: The Blasket that looks like a Skellig

Meet the woman turning the oceans’ trash into photographic gold

20 years later, people are still spellbound by Harry Potter

A passion for Harry Potter - the books that taught a generation about friendship, courage and learning

More From The Irish Examiner