London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned an apparent anti-Muslim car ramming incident outside a mosque in north London on Monday as a “horrific terrorist attack.”
“The Metropolitan Police are responding to a horrific terrorist attack on innocent people in Finsbury Park,” he said in a statement posted to his Facebook page.
Khan confirmed that one person was dead after the attack, eight were being treated in the hospital for their injuries, and two people were treated at the scene.
A van driven by a 48-year-old man ran into pedestrians just after midnight local time, in an incident that is being investigated by counterterrorism officers, police said earlier.
“We don’t yet know the full details,” Khan said, “but this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.”
The mayor described the attack, which appeared to specifically target Muslims, as “an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect.” He also likened it to “the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is the MP for Islington North, the constituency where the mosque is located, tweeted his shock at the attack. “My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event,” he wrote.
I'm totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight. pic.twitter.com/1ffKijNs73
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 19, 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May decried the “terrible incident,” saying in a statement that her “thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene.”
The neighborhood has two mosques, and several hundred worshipers would have been in the area after attending prayers as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and end the day with an iftar meal at sunset.
An unnamed resident who witnessed the incident said the driver “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. We got told to move straight away. 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.”
The mosque near Seven Sisters was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has become much more liberal in the past decade. Its former imam Abu Hamza, who preached there from 1997 to 2003, was sentenced to life in prison in New York on terrorism charges in 2015.
That same year, the mosque was one of around 20 that took part in an open day organized by the MCB to promote better understanding of Islam following the deadly terror attacks in Paris that year.
Britain has been on high alert following a pair of attacks in recent weeks that claimed the lives of some 30 people. Its terror alert has been set at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.
Earlier this month, three terrorists carried out a vehicular attack followed by a stabbing spree in London that left eight people dead and dozens wounded. The attackers were killed by police.
In Manchester in late May, a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including many children, at an arena where a pop concert had just ended.
Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
In March, a terrorist drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, killing four, and fatally stabbed a policeman guarding the gates of parliament before being shot dead by armed officers.
Agencies contributed to this report.