The driver of the van that plowed into worshipers leaving a mosque in London was ranting and raving about wanting to take lives — screaming, “I’m going to kill all Muslims,” a witness says.
Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi, who was in the area and watched the drama unfold, told BuzzFeed News the vehicle appeared to veer off the road and head straight for the worshippers.While police officials have not yet confirmed whether the incident was deliberate, witnesses and local religious leaders reported seeing the suspect “intentionally” ram into a group of people outside the Finsbury Park Mosque.
“This big van just came and went all over us,” Saleh Alamoudi said. “I think at least eight or 10 people were injured. Luckily I managed to escape, and then the guy came out of his van.”
After the collision, Saleh Alamoudi said the driver tried to flee on foot — but was stopped by he and two of his friends. They reportedly held down the man for roughly 20 minutes until police arrived.
“He was screaming before that,” Saleh Alamoudi told BuzzFeed. “He was saying, ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims, I’m going to kill all Muslims.’ He was throwing punches all over. Then when we managed to get him on the floor, he was saying, ‘Kill me, kill me.’
The Muslim Council of Britain has been referring to the early Monday incident as an “attack,” with at least one local leader claiming the mosque was targeted on purpose.
“Shocked and outraged to hear a van has intentionally run over worshippers leaving #Ramadan night prayers on Seven Sisters Road,” tweeted Harun Khan, secretary general of the council.
Video footage posted on social media shows what appears to be a white male being held by police and screaming.
The neighborhood where the incident happened is home to two different mosques and countless worshipers. Many were said to have been in the area after attending evening prayers as part of the Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.