Armed police are being deployed amid heightened security at Scotland s mosques after a terror attack on worshippers in London. Darren Osborne, 47, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder1 after a van was driven into pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque in the early hours of Monday morning. Police Scotland said it would have an increased presence at the country s 84 mosques to provide reassurance to local communities. One man died in London following the attack on those leaving evening prayers after breaking the Ramadan fast. Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: I m going to kill Muslims. Police confirmed searches were being carried out at a residential address in the Welsh capital. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, of the Metropolitan Police, said: Our thoughts are with all those affected by the incident at Seven Sisters Road and their families, friends and communities.
This is being treated as a terrorist incident and is being investigated by the counter terrorism command. The investigation is ongoing and we are working fast to know the full details of how and why this took place. All the victims were from the Muslim community and we will be deploying extra police patrols to reassure the public, especially those observing Ramadan.
Earlier in the day, security minister Ben Wallace confirmed the attacker was not known to the intelligence services. He said: What I can say on this case is this individual, so far as we know at the moment, was not known to us, but we are aware of a rise in the far right. The attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, struck as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the incident as every bit as sickening as the recent atrocities in London and Manchester. After meeting faith leaders at Finsbury Park Mosque, she said: The terrible terrorist attack which took place last night was an evil borne out of hatred and it has devastated a community. I am pleased to have been here today to see the strength of that community coming together, all faiths united in one desire to see extremism and hatred of all sorts driven out of our society.
There is no place for this hatred in our country today and we need to work together as one society, one community, to drive it out, this evil which is affecting so many families. Police and community leaders have praised those who restrained the van driver and stopped others from attacking him before police arrived. Imam Mohammed Mahmoud was hailed for his efforts to calm the chaotic situation in the aftermath of the attack and was said to have used his body to shield the suspected terrorist from the fury of onlookers. Witnesses said the suspect was smiling and waving as he brought carnage to Seven Sisters Road, with video posted online showing him give a nonchalant wave as police put him in the back of their vehicle. Other footage showed a scene of chaos as people could be heard shouting and screaming amid the chaos, with bloodstains visible on the pavement. One witness described being surrounded by bodies in the wake of the incident outside the nearby Muslim Welfare House.
Another witness, who wanted to be identified as Abdulrahman, which is not his real name, said: I managed to get the driver of the van. He wanted to run away and was saying I want to kill Muslims. So he came back to the main road and I managed to get him to the ground and me and some other guys managed to hold him until the police arrived. Abdulrahman claimed the driver said Kill me , as he was being held on the ground. He is also alleged to have told the injured: You deserve it. Officers were in the immediate vicinity as the attack unfolded and responded within one minute. Police declared it a terrorist incident within eight minutes. After chairing a meeting of the Government s Cobra emergencies committee earlier, Mrs May said the attack was every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life as the recent string of terror attacks apparently motivated by Islamist extremism. We will stop at nothing to defeat it, she added.
Eight people were taken to hospital, with one since discharged, while two others were treated at the scene. All of the casualties were Muslims. Police said it was too early to say if the man who died did so directly because of the attack, as he was already receiving first aid from the public at the scene when it happened. Images of the van used in the attack showed it was rented from Pontyclun Van Hire in Pontyclun, near Cardiff. South Wales Police are working with officers from London on the investigation. Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid also visited the scene and said he will seek advice from the local community as to what measures the authorities can take to give Muslims across the country maximum reassurance that they are being protected.
The perpetrator of this attack – and those terrible attacks that we saw recently in Manchester and London – their intention is to seek to divide society . My message to them is that they will always, always fail, he said. Flowers have been laid near the scene, with one card reading: This is an attack on all Londoners – and on my community. In a statement, the Muslim Council of Scotland condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms . It said: This attack was aimed directly at the vibrant Muslim community during the month of Ramadan at a time when many families would have been returning home after night time prayers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured and anyone affected by this tragedy .
Our heart goes out to the people of London who have been through so much in the last few months and are still waiting for news on many friends and family in the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This attack goes to show how hate and terrorism has no religion or face . The motive of these people is to spread division .
Together, as a united community, we can defeat those who seek to divide us. Assistant Chief Constable Nelson Telfer, of Police Scotland, said: There is no specific threat to Scotland, however, Police Scotland is increasing armed patrols in response to the attack in London. We continue to engage with all communities providing reassurance and appropriate support.
Communities absolutely do defeat terrorism: if you see or hear something that could be terrorist related, act on your instincts and call the police on 101 or, in emergency 999, or in confidence on 0800 789 321.
- ^ has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder (www.scotsman.com)
Police want to speak to a man about an attempted armed robbery of security guards outside a Tesco supermarket in Clacton. Officers have launched an appeal to find Scott Paley, from Dagenham, as part of an investigation into an attempted robbery2 of two security guards outside Tesco3 in the Brook Retail Park, London Road, on January 18. Paley, 43, is described as being 5ft 6ins tall, and has connections to London and Canvey4.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Serious and Organised Crime Unit at Essex Police on 101. They can also give information independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org6. No personal details are taken by Crimestoppers, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not have to attend court.
Call for Belfast City Hall security to be increased after heroin addict is seen ‘shooting up’ in iconic building
Call for Belfast City Hall security to be increased after heroin addict is seen ‘shooting up’ in iconic building
Fears are growing that Belfast City Hall is becoming a hub for illicit drugs activity after it was claimed a heroin addict was seen shooting up in a toilet. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/call-for-belfast-city-hall-security-to-be-increased-after-heroin-addict-is-seen-shooting-up-in-iconic-building-35835915.html
Fears are growing that Belfast City Hall is becoming a hub for illicit drugs activity after it was claimed a heroin addict was seen shooting up in a toilet. A council employee said they then saw the man fleeing half-naked in full view of tourists and visitors shortly before lunchtime on Tuesday.
Belfast City Council admitted that drug-taking paraphernalia was found in the City Hall toilets, while sources have told the Belfast Telegraph that drugs are a huge problem in the landmark building. The upsurge in illegal activity has coincided with a hike in visitor numbers, particularly with the exhibition centre in the west wing attracting more people through its doors.
There are plenty of hidey-holes for drug addicts to make use of, a City Hall insider told this newspaper.
There s also a daily and nightly gathering of drugs users at the Cenotaph. The eyewitness, who asked to remain anonymous, said they saw the man taking heroin before running out of the toilets on the ground floor of City Hall near the main entrance with his trousers hanging off him and no top on .
The shooting-up incident happened a day after a man in his 30s died from a suspected overdose in the toilets of a KFC restaurant in north Belfast. High Sheriff of Belfast Tom Haire revealed that he has had people removed from the Cenotaph for drinking alcohol, and called for increased security and more cameras at City Hall.
With increasing numbers of people around and in light of recent terror attacks in England, we need to bolster security both inside and outside the grounds, he said.
Our security staff do an excellent job, but we need more manpower, and although there already is CCTV in City Hall, we could do with bringing more cameras in. Mr Haire said he was familiar with problems of people gathering at the Cenotaph and said he was in favour of closing it off to the public.
My office overlooks the Cenotaph and I actually had to call security to ask them to remove half-a-dozen people drinking alcohol there, he said.
The DUP politician also said there should be a review of public toilet provision in the area because City Hall is often the first port of call for people who have no business being there . Councillor Jim Rodgers said he was becoming increasingly concerned about the city s drugs problem and he backed calls for security to be beefed up.
I ve had many complaints about people taking drugs not just within City Hall itself, but in the grounds as well and there has been a rise in the number of people using the loos to take drugs, said the Ulster Unionist.
Drugs is a major problem and we must do everything we can to address it.
I certainly don t want someone to be found dead from an overdose on council premises or anywhere else. UUP colleague Jeff Dudgeon said the incident was the downside of City Hall being widely open to the public.
There is a problem with heroin in the city and drugs misuse generally, he said.
We have significant security at City Hall, but you can t stand over everyone walking in and out.
Councillor Tommy Sandford said the unfortunate incident was something that every one of us should be worried about .
Hopefully it s a one-off . I m just sorry that it happened at all, he added. Belfast City Council said there was no attempt to pursue or apprehend anyone, and the identity of the person or persons involved is not known to us .
We can confirm that drug-taking paraphernalia recently was found in the City Hall toilets, it added.
However, it is inaccurate to say that a person was disturbed in the act of injecting drugs.
We are liaising closely with the PSNI and will continue to do so . There have been occasional discoveries of drugs paraphernalia in the grounds, including the Cenotaph area, but we would stress these finds are occasional.
In all such matters, we liaise closely with the PSNI . The grounds are monitored by CCTV and we also employ a contracted security company to patrol the grounds.