Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Van strikes crowd outside mosque in London; one person is arrested

LONDON — A van drove into pedestrians early Monday in London, reviving anxieties in the British capital, which has endured two recent terrorist attacks involving vehicles.

Police say the driver is a 48-year-old man who has been arrested and taken to a hospital.

The van struck a crowd of worshippers leaving a mosque early Monday morning, killing one person and injuring several others. Eight of the injured were taken to hospitals and the rest were treated at the scene.

Several hundred worshippers would have been in the area at the time after attending prayers as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Police said the Counter Terrorism Command was investigating the crash. Britain's terrorist alert has been set at "severe" meaning an attack is highly likely.

Prime Minister Theresa May described the crash early Monday morning as a "terrible incident."

She said, "All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene."

The incident Monday, which police were called to at 12:20 a.m., occurred on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park, a neighborhood where many immigrants live.

Witnesses on the scene, as well as numerous accounts on social media, said the pedestrians were hit outside the Finsbury Park Mosque or the close by Muslim Welfare House, a community center.

"We have been informed that a van has run over worshipers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque," the Muslim Council of Britain said on Twitter. "Our prayers are with the victims."

"Our prayers and thoughts with those injured outside Muslim Welfare House in Seven Sisters road hit by a van mounting pavement," MEND, a nonprofit organization that fights Islamophobia and encourages British Muslims to get more involved in media and politics, wrote on Twitter.

A witness, Mahroof Mohammed, was having his evening tea at a Somalian restaurant on Seven Sisters Road when he heard people running.

He went outside and saw several injured people. "There were seven or eight, three of them were bleeding badly," Mohammed said. "They were all leaving the mosque when they got hit by the van."

Mohammed said that most of the victims he saw were men, but he also saw one old woman injured.

"An old man was severely injured," his walking stick right next to him, Mohammed, a local businessman, said. "His family said he passed away."

Boubou Sougou, 23, was leaving the gym on the intersection of Seven Sisters and Isledon Road when he saw people bleeding in the parking lot of the Finsbury Park Mosque.

"There were around five people that were injured, one old man was severely injured," Sougou said.

"His family had gathered around him, trying to resuscitate him."

On social media, witnesses said they believed the victims had been performing Tarawih, the evening prayers performed by Sunni Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Police arrived about 15 to 20 minutes after the incident, Mohammed said. "It was three local men that were holding the man from the van until police came and put him inside the van," he said.

Mohammed said that the man being held was white and had heavily tattooed arms and that he was not speaking.

Sougou added: "I saw the attacker attempting to run away but people from the mosque held him back," he said. "Some of them wanted to beat him up, but were stopped by the ones that were holding him until the police came."

The Finsbury Park Mosque opened in 1994 and became a hotbed of Islamist militants, including Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman convicted of conspiring to kill Americans as part of the Sept. 11 attacks, and Richard C. Reid, who attempted to down a U.S. jetliner in late 2001 with explosives packed in his shoes. In 2015, the mosque's former imam, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, was sentenced to life in prison in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on 11 terrorism-related charges.

The mosque was raided by authorities in January 2003, and in February 2005, it was completely reconstituted — "run by a new board of trustees with a new management team, new imams, a new name and new ethos," according to its website. Five stories tall, with enough space for 1,800 worshippers, it is a major house of worship for North London, in an area known for a large immigrant population.

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, said in a Twitter post that "our thoughts and prayers with those who got injured and effected by this cowardly attack in Finsbury Park area" and that there were "many casualties in the floor."

The mosque states on its website: "The work of the new management reflects the proper role of a mosque — as a place of worship, religious learning and social interaction. It also presents the true teachings of Islam as a religion of tolerance, cooperation and peaceful harmony amongst all people who lead a life of balance, justice and mutual respect."

On March 22, a 52-year-old Briton rammed a car into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, fatally injuring four of them, and then stabbed a police officer to death before he was gunned down by police.

On June 3, 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 men were shot to death by police.

Comments
Top 5 at noon: Your insiderís guide to Gasparilla 2018; St. Petersburg spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Smacks Bayou; and more

Top 5 at noon: Your insiderís guide to Gasparilla 2018; St. Petersburg spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Smacks Bayou; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:YOUR GUIDE TO GASPARILLA 2018Some 300,000 carousers are expected to gather on Saturday for Gasparilla 2018, Tampaís pirate invasion. All the fuss centers around the legend of Jose Gaspar (nic...
Updated: 10 minutes ago

FBI: Marine flares ignited at Florida mall not a terrorist act

LAKE WALES ó Police say two devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.According to the FBI, bomb technicians examining the contents of a backpack found at Eagle Ridge Mall in Lake Wales on Sund...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Smacks Bayou

St. Pete spilled up to 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water into Smacks Bayou

ST. PETERSBURG ó It may be a new year but the city finds itself still dealing with an old problem: spills at its sewage plants.The city announced Thursday that two spills at its Northeast sewage plant at 1160 62nd Ave. NE had been contained.But the r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jobsiteís ĎThe Tempestí balances reverence and irreverence in a busy Shakespeare tribute

Jobsiteís ĎThe Tempestí balances reverence and irreverence in a busy Shakespeare tribute

TAMPA ó The Tempest begins with shadow play, a ship tossed on high seas. Projected onto a backdrop, the shadow of that ship looks proportionate to the waves that rock it. You see this, even as a daemonic holds a toy replica in her hand, the actual sh...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

ST. PETE BEACH ó A year ago, the longtime owners of the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center acknowledged they couldnít afford the improvements it needed. They sold the 382-room hotel to a Texas company.Now the new owner has launched a $15 million...
Updated: 1 hour ago
This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

MoviePass is a film nerdís dream. The subscription service allows users to see one movie a day at a theater for a single monthly cost. The service isnít new, but itís become popular among a lot more than movie buffs in the past few months.During its ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

From the food editor: Mastering the frittata, with help from a lot of mozzarella cheese

Letís talk about frittatas. Specifically, how I can never seem to make one that actually tastes good. They are described in blogs and cookbooks as an easy, breezy dish suitable for using up leftovers lingering in your fridge. Like a quiche, but low-c...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Gas is off to an expensive start this year ó the most expensive start since 2014. Florida pump prices jumped 10 cents in the past week to hit $2.54 per gallon Monday, 18 cents more than last month, according to AAA The Auto Club Group. Tampa Bay gas ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA ó Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their teamís first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Deputies seek hit-and-run driver who seriously injured bicyclist in Plant City

Hillsborough County deputies are searching for the driver who seriously injured a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Dover on Monday morning.Deputies say the suspect was driving a Toyota Camry that is now missing part of its right front air dam afte...
Updated: 3 hours ago