Vehicle rams worshippers leaving London mosque, one suspect arrested

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Emergency crews attend to the scene after a vehicle hit pedestrians near a mosque in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain, at past midnight Sunday. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)
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Police are seen near Finsbury Park after reports of vehicle ramming pedestrians in North London, Britain, at past midnight Sunday. (REUTERS/Ritvik Carvalho)
Updated 19 June 2017
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Vehicle rams worshippers leaving London mosque, one suspect arrested

LONDON: A van plowed into worshippers leaving a London mosque on Monday, injuring 10 people in what witnesses said was a deliberate attack on Muslims.

Eyewitnesses said the van was driven by an attacker who shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims.”
One man, who was already being given first aid at the scene before the vehicle was driven into pedestrians, has died but police said it was not clear whether his death was directly linked. Eight others are in hospital, with two in a very serious condition.
The incident was being treated as a potential terrorist attack, said Prime Minister Theresa May, which if confirmed would make it the fourth since March in Britain and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.
"This had all the hallmarks of a terrorist incident," said Neil Basu, senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing. "This was an attack on London and all Londoners."
Police said the 48-year-old man who was driving the car has been arrested and taken to a hospital as a precaution. He will be given a mental health evaluation.
The crash occurred shortly after midnight when police received reports of a collision between a van and pedestrians.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, said on Twitter: “We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims.
Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, tweeted that the van had “intentionally” run over people leaving night prayers held during the holy month of Ramadan.
Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with those injured in “this terrible incident.” The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was “totally shocked.”
The Finsbury Park mosque was associated with extremist ideology for several years after the 9/11 attacks in the United States but was shut down and reorganized. It has not been associated with radical views for more than a decade.
London police have declared the crash a major incident and closed the area to normal traffic.
People had been attending prayers in the area as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Britain’s terrorist alert has been set at “severe” meaning an attack is highly likely.
Earlier this month, a van veered into pedestrians on London Bridge, setting off vehicle and knife attacks that killed eight people and wounded many others on the bridge and in the nearby Borough Market area. Three Muslim extremists who carried out the attack were killed by police.
Manchester was also hit by a severe attack when a bomber killed more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande concert.

— With Reuters and the Associated Press.


No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

Updated 17 July 2019
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No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

  • Many lawmakers, business community fear dire economic outcome
  • A majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons are opposed to a no-deal Brexit

LONDON: The battle to become Britain's next prime minister enters the home straight on Wednesday with both candidates hardening their positions on Brexit, putting the future government on a collision course with Brussels.
Ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace Theresa May, and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, are now both referring to Britain's departure with no overall deal in place as a realistic prospect.
The business community and many lawmakers fear dire economic consequences from a no-deal Brexit, which would lead to immediate trade tariffs for some sectors including the automotive industry.
Johnson and Hunt are taking part in a final question-and-answer session later on Wednesday before the result of the vote by Conservative Party members is announced next Tuesday.
The new party leader will be confirmed as prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II on the following day.
Britain has twice delayed its scheduled departure from the European Union after 46 years of membership as May tried and failed to get her deal with Brussels through parliament.
The two candidates vying to replace her have vowed to scrap a "backstop" provision in the agreement that Brussels insisted upon to keep the Irish border open.
Their latest attacks on the measure during a debate on Monday prompted a plunge in the value of the British pound.
The currency fell again Wednesday to its lowest level against the US dollar in over two years.
"The tougher stance from both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt in terms of their rhetoric on Brexit is clearly weighing on the pound," said market analyst Neil Wilson.
"Make no mistake, this decline in the pound is down to traders pricing in a higher chance of a no-deal exit."
The backstop has proved a key stumbling block in the Brexit process.
The measure would keep open the post-Brexit border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member the Republic of Ireland whatever the outcome of negotiations over the future relationship between London and Brussels.
Johnson announced early in his campaign that he would not sign up to it and would pursue a no-deal Brexit if required, leading his opponent to follow suit.
However, European leaders have been adamant that the backstop must remain a part of any divorce deal, raising the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who will become European Commission president in November, said the draft withdrawal agreement provided "certainty".
She also broached a possible further delay to Britain's departure, saying: "I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date, should more time be required for a good reason."
Johnson has pledged that under his leadership, Britain will leave "do or die" on the current deadline of October 31.
A majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons are opposed to a no-deal Brexit, but attempts to pass legislation blocking the scenario have failed.
Reports this week suggested Johnson is considering plans to end the current session of parliament in early October, leaving MPs powerless.
Finance Minister Philip Hammond said Wednesday it was "terrifying" that some Brexit supporters thought that no deal would leave Britain better off.
And in a speech in London, May said the "best route" for Britain was to leave with a deal.
Delivering her last major address, she railed against the trend towards "absolutism" in Britain and abroad, and urged her successor to compromise.
"Whatever path we take must be sustainable for the long term, so that delivering Brexit brings our country back together. That has to mean some kind of compromise," she said.