London Mosque Van Attack: ‘Confusion and Anger’ in Finsbury Park

  • As Militants kill two Navy personnel in Pakistan

They prayed for victims of the high-rise apartment fire and recent terror attacks, only to find themselves targeted in Britain’s latest horror story.

Residents of Finsbury Park, where an attacker drove a van at crowds gathered near local mosques and a Muslim welfare center, expressed fear for their safety and anger at authorities in the wake of Monday morning’s attack.

The attack unfolded in the middle of a hot summer night as Muslims in the north London district gathered to talk and eat during a break between the traditional post-fast prayers of tarawih and tahajjud.

“There were people everywhere in the street, it was a busy time,” said Ibn Omar, 25. “There was screaming and shouting, just pandemonium.”

Ahmed Shakair, 25, left prayers at the nearby Muslim welfare center and witnessed a vehicle mounting the sidewalk with all four of its wheels.

He said there had been prayers for the Grenfell Tower victims before worshippers broke off to eat. “I came out … and started walking away when I heard screaming,” he said. “I saw a white van hurtling along at 40-50 miles an hour then it swerved onto the [sidewalk] … and smashed into a group.

Shakair added: “Remember there were 400-500 people on the street coming out at the end of prayers. So there were lots of people around.”

He recounted seeing “bodies all over the ground.”

Omar said it had been “an attack on Muslims practicing religion” — and one which occurred during the holy month of Ramadan.

“We have been warning that this would happen, that it is dangerous for Muslims because of far-right terrorism, but not enough has been done about it,” he said. “We’re not safe in our own community. If this was an affluent area then maybe the politicians, the authorities, they would care more. But this is a Muslim area, a mixed area. It is like what happened with the fire — people get ignored because they are poor.”

Many expressed similar sentiments, claiming that officials and local media had been slower to label the incident terrorism in comparison to recent attacks. However, Prime Minister Theresa May later said it had been declared a terrorist attack by police after only eight minutes.

In the meantime, two naval personnel were killed and three others injured when militants attacked their vehicle in Pakistan`s Balochistan province, the media reported.

The incident took place on Monday evening when four militants on two motorbikes ambushed the vehicle in Gwadar district`s Jiwani city and opened fire, senior security officials told Dawn news.

One victim died on the spot while one succumbed to injuries in a hospital on Monday night.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri condemned the incident and said: “We will not bow down before the terrorists.”

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

NBC with additional report from Zee