A van rammed into a crowd of pedestrians in a Muslim section of London on Monday morning, killing one person and injuring 10 in what the mayor called, “a horrific terrorist attack.” The incident happened just as worshippers were leaving a mosque after morning prayers.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who urged citizens to remain calm and vigilant after the incident, said that while it appears to be a terrorist attack similar to that of Manchester, Westminster, and London Bridge, it is also “an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom, and respect.”
The driver of the van, 48-year-old Darren Osborne, was arrested after bystanders refused to let him leave the scene. Witnesses said Osborne shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims,” right before he jumped from the van and attempted to flee.
One witness, Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, described how he helped protect Osborne from an angry mob. “Some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches. By God’s grace we managed to surround him and to protect him from any harm,” Mahmoud said.
Other witnesses described the horrifying moments leading up to and after the attack. “This big van just came and went all over us,” witness Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi told BuzzFeed News. “Luckily I managed to escape, and then the guy came out of his van.” Saleh Alamoudi said the driver was “throwing punches all over.”
Attacks involving vehicles have shaken London in recent months. On March 22, 2017, a 52-year-old Briton rammed a car into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, fatally injuring four of them. He then proceeded to stab a police officer to death before police gunned him down.
And on June 3, 2017, three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, before launching a knife attack in nearby Borough Market. Eight people were killed before the police shot the men to death.
How to go about preventing these types of attacks from happening in the future has been a huge point of contention in Britain.