A terror attack on a group of worshippers near a mosque was "quite clearly an attack on Muslims", Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said.

One man died after pedestrians were targeted by a man driving a van near Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early on Monday.

Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: "I'm going to kill Muslims."

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The suspect, described as a large white man, was arrested by police on suspicion of attempted murder.


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Ms Dick spoke as Security Minster Ben Wallace confirmed the man was not known to the security services.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's World At One, Mr Wallace 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 alleged 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 has condemned the incident as "every bit as sickening" as the recent atrocities in London and Manchester.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: "This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting. We treat this as a terrorist attack."

She added: "This is an appalling attack on a wonderful, happy, integrated community here in London.

"Sadly we have suffered a number of attacks and very sad events over the last few weeks.


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"This has shocked the Metropolitan Police as much as it has shocked everybody else and we have come here to try to say to people who are feeling utterly devastated, right here and in the wider communities, in particular in our Muslim communities, that we will be doing everything we can in our power to protect you and to support you.

"We take all forms of hate crime incredibly seriously and we want to stop people becoming violent extremists of any sort, however we can.

"Clearly it takes more than just the police.

"People of this community have a very good working experience with the local police, they will be seeing more police in the area - particularly around religious establishments, they will see more officers on the streets, they may see more armed officers on the streets as well."

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "This is a truly horrific terrorist attack on our city, where innocent bystanders were deliberately targeted after returning from the Taraweeh Ramadan prayers.

"My thoughts and prayers, as I'm sure the thoughts and prayers of all of London and the country, are with all those affected by the attack last night, particularly the man who tragically died last night at the scene."

He paid tribute to the "fantastic response" from the emergency services as well as the local community and worshippers who detained the driver until police arrived, and the imam who stopped local residents from taking their anger out on the attacker.

"This attack behind me in Seven Sisters, the attack in Manchester, the attack on London Bridge, the attack on Westminster Bridge are all an attack on our shared values, our shared values of tolerance and freedom and respect," he said.

"And we will not allow these terrorists to succeed."

Mr Khan added: "These have been a terrible few weeks for London, unprecedented in recent times.

"We have seen the horror of the fire at Grenfell Tower, we have seen the attack on London Bridge and before that on Westminster Bridge and we saw last night the terrorist attack here in Seven Sisters.

"We will stay a strong city, we will ensure we are not cowed by terrorism, and we will not be defeated.

"We are united today and we are going to carry on being a united city."


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Asked if Islamophobic terrorism has been underestimated, he added: "Terrorism is terrorism.

"It doesn't matter whether you are inspired by a perverse version of Islam or whether you are inspired by other motives to terrorise others.

"The intention is the same, to divide communities, to make us stop leading the lives that we do."

He said there has been a "spike in hate crime", in particular Islamophobic hate crime, after the London Bridge attack.