Officials in London have levied terrorism charges again the man who plowed a rented truck into a crowd that had stopped to assist an ill man outside the Muslim Welfare House near Finsbury Park Mosque just after midnight today.
Darren Osborne, 47, a father of four from Cardiff, was reportedly kicked out of his local pub for disruptive conduct on Saturday night. After striking the crowd composed of Muslims who had finished up Ramadan prayers, police said he was restrained by the crowd until officers arrived. Witnesses said he declared, “I’m going to kill all Muslims — I did my bit.” Video shows Osborne telling the men restraining him to “kill me.”
Imam Mohamed Mahmoud was captured on video stepping in to keep the angry crowd from beating Osborne, yelling “move back” and “don’t touch him.”
The imam later told reporters that he and others “extinguished flames of anger or mob rule that would have taken charge.”
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The man who was receiving assistance at the bus stop — a father of six who reportedly suffered from heart problems — was killed, and the 10 injured included two disabled people and a woman in her 70s.
Metropolitan Police said they’re trying to determine if the man who died at the scene shortly after 1 a.m. perished as a result of the attack or other causes.
Osborne is being held for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder, police said. He is believed to have acted alone and initial reports of a stabbing at the scene were untrue.
“All the victims were from the Muslim community and we will be deploying extra police patrols to reassure the public, especially those observing Ramadan,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said. “We are working hard to protect all communities and the public will see additional officers patrolling across the city and at Muslim places of worship. This was an attack on London and all Londoners. We should all stand together against extremists whatever their cause.”
The East London Mosque was evacuated today after a phoned-in bomb threat; police swept the facility and couldn’t find any devices.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who met this morning with the UK’s Emergency Committee, called the attack “every bit as sickening as those which have come before.”
“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 that we share in this country,” May said. “We will not let this happen.”
She added that the assault was “a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms; and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible.”
“As I said here two weeks ago, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia,” she said. “That is why this government will act to stamp out extremist and hateful ideology – both across society and on the internet, so it is denied a safe space to grow.”
The White House did not issue a statement on the attack. Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at an off-camera briefing today that the administration sends “thoughts and prayers” to the victims.
“The president has been made aware of the attack in London and is receiving consistent updates from the staff,” Spicer said. “His counterterrorism advisor and other senior White House staff continue to track the situation and have been in frequent contact with their British counterparts since it occurred.”
Late this afternoon, State Department press secretary Heather Nauert issued a statement stressing the U.S. “strongly condemns last night’s attack that appears to have targeted Muslim worshippers in London.”
“We extend our sympathies to the families and community of the victims and our hopes for the quick recovery of those wounded,” Nauert said. “We commend the work of the first responders, and the courage of bystanders who apprehended the attacker and held him until authorities arrived. The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that UK officials would find helpful in this difficult time.”
“The United States stands in solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this terrorist attack and emphasizes our shared resolve to counter the plague of terrorism.”