Van attack on London Muslims suggests new polarization
Published 7:35 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017
LONDON — The rash of deadly terror attacks that has rattled Britain in recent months took an ominous new turn on Monday as Muslim worshippers became targets during the holy month of Ramadan, mowed down by an attacker who plowed a van into a crowd leaving prayers at two mosques in north London.
It was the same tactic Islamic extremists used in recent assaults on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Those attacks and a third outside a pop concert in Manchester have triggered a surge in hate crimes against Muslims around Britain.
British authorities, including Prime Minister Theresa May, and Islamic leaders moved swiftly to ease concerns in the Muslim community following the attack shortly after midnight that injured at least nine people in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood, which is home to a large Muslim population.
Authorities said the incident was being treated as a terror attack. One man died at the scene, although he was receiving first aid at the time and it wasn’t clear if he died as a result of the attack or from something else.
British media identified the suspect as Darren Osborne, a 47-year-old Briton and father of four living in Cardiff, Wales, who was not known to authorities before the attack.
Car rams police vehicle on famed Paris avenue; attacker dies
PARIS — A man on the radar of French authorities for extremism was killed Monday after ramming a car carrying arms and explosives into a police convoy on Paris’ famed Champs-Elysees Avenue, setting off a fiery blast and a cloud of orange smoke, officials said. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.
Gendarmes jumped out of the vehicle, ran to the car, smashed its windows and pulled out the driver in an apparent attempt to save him, according to witness accounts. The interior minister confirmed that he died.
No one else was injured despite the crowds of tourists and others walking down the avenue on a hot, sunny day, the Paris police department said.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called it an “attempted attack” and said it “shows once again that the threat level in France is extremely high.” The minister used the occasion to explain the continued need for a state of emergency, in place since 2015, and plans to extend it until Nov. 1, to be presented at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.
A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts. The body was kept out of view under a tent, and later police were seen removing it, in a body bag on a stretcher.