London officials vow to up protections for mosques after an overnight attack

It is understood he rammed into a crowd of worshippers who were helping a man who'd collapsed. "It is this determination to show we are united against hatred and terror that reflects the true spirit of people in this country".

He was arrested on suspicion of "the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder", the police said.

British newspapers The Guardian and Daily Mirror identified him as Darren Osborne, who lives with his partner and four children in Cardiff, Wales, according to his former friends.

In the hours immediately following the attack, the Metropolitan Police in public statements described it as a "vehicle in collision with pedestrians".

The family of a man suspected of driving a rented van into Muslim worshippers after they left prayers at a north London mosque said they are devastated at the "madness" of the attack.

Mohmoud insisted that the Muslim community in Finsbury Park is mild-mannered, calm and are not associated with violence and added that their mosques are incredibly peaceful - so much so that people were praying for the victims of the attack, and ignited Mohmoud's strong hope that the people's unity to fight against extremism never falters.

Witness Abdiqadir Warra told AFP the van "drove at people" and that some of the victims were carried for several metres along the road.

The London Ambulance Service took nine people to three London hospitals.

One man claiming to be a longtime friend told the Daily Mirror that he studied at Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College in Western-Super-mare, in North Somerset.

He said: "By God's grace we managed to surround him and protect him from any harm".

France and Germany quickly condemned the attack and Egypt's Al-Azhar institution, the leading authority in Sunni Islam, condemned it as "sinful".

"It's unbelievable, it still hasn't really sunk in", he said.

The mosque's current leaders say they support inter-faith dialogue and want to serve the community in north London, which is located near Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal soccer club. It was also claimed by IS.

Just three days ago, an Islamophobic hate crime watch group met with members of the nearby Muslim Welfare House - located just feet from Monday's attack - to warn about safety precautions during Ramadan.

Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said he recognized that many Muslims would be angry about the attack, and he appealed for calm but he also warned of a rising tide of anti-Islamic sentiment.

It also reported that the night before the attack, Mr Osborne was allegedly thrown out of local pub Hollybush after "cursing Muslims" durign an immigration row.

Meanwhile, an Imam is being praised for reportedly protecting the Finsbury Park suspect.

Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House, told Sky News the attack clearly targeted Muslims, saying the driver acted deliberately and was not drunk or mentally ill.

May chaired an emergency response meeting Monday morning.

"We hear about radicalization in mosques", said Zara, who like many local residents declined to give CNN her last name.

The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a notorious hub for the "radicalised" but has changed markedly in recent years under new management.

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