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One Person Has Died after Man Hit Pedestrians in London. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 19, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[23:59:48] CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: This is all the latest information that we're getting. It's just seconds before 5:00 a.m. and it's daybreak in London. Most people perhaps have not woken up this news yet and they will be doing so very shortly indeed.

And we continue our breaking news coverage of the incident in London.

I'm Cyril Vanier.


A van hit pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood. London police say one person has died. At least eight people are wounded. Counter terrorism command is investigating this incident. Two witnesses say they saw three men leave that van.

They say police arrested one and the other two fled. Police won't say whether they are seeking other suspect at this hour.

VANIER: Now this neighborhood is said to have a large Muslim population. The mosque once had links to the radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

The Muslim Council of Britain said worshipers were hit as they left the Finsbury Park mosque. One witness described what she saw.


CYNTHIA VANZELLA, WITNESS: Well, what happened is that usually some of the Muslims when they seem to start prayers in the mosque they just gather in this little corner to talk for a bit. And I'm guessing, I'm not sure but I'm guessing now because it's Ramadan, there is maybe more of them until a little bit later maybe, you know, it's so hot. That's the problem today as well.

So I'm guessing that maybe they were the victims because they were desperate -- I saw many of them crying, screaming, trying to get police and ambulance around. So I'm guessing that if someone we know or people in the corner maybe they were there.

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the people that you saw crying trying to get police attention, they appear to be Muslim because they were wearing Muslim garb or how could you tell. VANZELLA: Yes. Yes, they're all wearing the white Muslim -- I don't know the name of that dress, but yes.


VANZELLA: Some kind of people in there but mostly them. And because I'm so used to see them there everyday, I just assumed that they were there, some Muslims between the victims I saw on the floor.


VANIER: A witness speaking to CNN's Ana Cabrera there just moments after the incident.

Let's go to our Ian Lee, who's reporting from the scene.

Ian -- we're getting some important information at last, some tended to say, from the London police. And they are now -- they're telling that the counter terrorism command is leading the investigation. That already tells us something as to how they view this.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's something that we've been hearing from people, eyewitnesses from the beginning, Cyril, that these people say that this was a deliberate attack against these people, against this Muslims. People here have been calling this a terrorist attack even though the police have said that they're still investigating this incident.

So you have eight people injured, one person killed in this incident and from eyewitnesses, they were telling us that this van deliberately hit these people.

I spoke with one man Abdkadir Warfa (ph) who told me what happened after that van hit the people. Take a listen.


ABDKHADIR WARFA, WITNESS: Heard the sound of the van drove over people. Initially I point out to me and my brother and we saw a driver who was trying to escape and he's using by force, pushing the people and the people (inaudible) with him and they keep on the ground until it the police came. The people who (inaudible) on the ground was around eight people -- some of them with just hideous bleeding of their head. The van drove into the side -- into the (inaudible).

And I don't know why the driver go to this way. The road is just big enough to drive and what is to our left is not a road. It's just for parking and (inaudible).

LEE: Does it look like the driver deliberately tried to hit --

WARFA: That's kind of my sense. It was deliberate -- no doubt.

LEE: No question that it had been an accident.

WARFA: No doubt and no question. I believe that was deliberate. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: So Cyril, that is why it's going to be one of the questions that police are going to ask the driver now in custody, a 48-year-old man we are told is why he carried out the attack. And this is something though that we have seen that's different from previous incidents like this, previous attacks, terrorist attacks here in London is that the perpetrators are usually killed at the scene.

So they were able to apprehend this man. They'll be able to question him. The other thing that we've been hearing about is that there could have been multiple people in the van at the time.

One eyewitness told me, he believes there could have been two people. Another person told me, eyewitness told me that there could have been up to three people in the van at the time.

[00:05:03] Now the police aren't saying anything about that whether they are looking for, or whether there were other people in the fan. But that's going to be another crucial thing going forward.

Was this one person just carrying out this sort of what looks like to be an attack at this time? Or were there other people involved.

CHURCH: And that is the point. And we're watching very carefully, of course, this last statement coming out from authorities, very carefully worded. One man was killed at the scene, eight people injured and taken to hospital as you pointed out there.

A 48-year-old man taken into custody -- he would have been questioned now for some hours. But police are not saying outright that this was terrorism. But of course, the indication here when they're saying the investigation now under the control of counter terrorism command is very telling, indeed, isn't it.

LEE: That's right. And for the police, when it comes incidents like this they want to be accurate. That's the most important thing for them -- to get information out there to the public but also to be accurate and not put out something that they'll later have to retract.

So that's probably why we're seeing this slow flow of information since the aftermath. Even though they have this man in custody that they're able to talk to him, able to ask him questions. They are very careful and deliberate about putting out information, once they have it confirmed.

But you know, this is a community that is really feeling this latest incident. I spoke with a man just recently and I asked him. I said, what are you going to do going forward? What does this mean for the community? This is a man who, you know, at the mosque, he would do the called-up prayers. You talk to the people and they said, you know, just being more vigilant.

They feel that they have to be more vigilant. They don't believe that the police were providing enough protection for this mosque, for the community, although this is a police force that has been stretched quite tight because of attacks happening at different places.

But going forward though, they one thing they did stress though was that the city needs to remain unified -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Our Ian Lee near the scene there, bringing us up to date on events on this incident and talking to a number of eyewitness.

Many thanks to you. We'll come back to you very soon.

VANIER: And Phil Black is also on the scene in Finsbury Park. Earlier he spoke with a witness.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You were in the area, I understand and when you heard something had happened you ran towards the scene. Please describe what you saw.

RATIP AL-SULAIMAN, WITNESS: Yes, I was like sitting with my friend just two minutes away from there. We were sitting in the coffee shop. And one of our friend he had his mobile and he show us what's going on. He said look, there is an incident in front of the mosque.

There's some van crushing the people. It's a big van crushing the people in the mosque. So we just run straightaway and I see lots of -- I see police, ambulance, people lying on the floor and the van, as well.

BLACK: How many people had -- did you see who were hurt by this?

AL-SULAIMAN: About eight to ten people I think. The ambulance, they take and I see two people as well running away from the van.

BLACK: You saw two people running from the area.

AL-SULAIMAN: From the van. From the van. There was three people in the van. One has been arrested and two people, they ran away.

BLACK: Did you see the man who had been held and detained by people.

AL-SULAIMAN: Yes, I did. Yes.

BLACK: And do you know what -- were they -- was he detained just by people who saw this unfold? It wasn't by police, is that right? By bystanders?

AL-SULAIMAN: That's right. Yes. That's right.

BLACK: It must have been a terrible thing to see here in your community near the mosque where you pray.

AL-SULAIMAN: Yes. It's very sadness because yesterday we were praying for unity because what's happened in the Grenfell Tower is a very sad thing. People, they lost their life and people like, you know, it's a sad thing what's happened. And the leader of the council is (inaudible), the leader of the mosque. And we were -- there are lots of people in the mosque praying for unity, praying for the people which lost in the Grenfell Tower, praying for Jo Cox as well, the one killed -- the MP killed.

So we're looking for peace. We're looking for unity. We don't want people to divide us. This is our message to everybody.

BLACK: Are you worried that your community has been deliberately targeted here tonight?

AL-SULAIMAN: I can't say they are targeted -- the community. I can say like this attack is like by criminal. It's an attack on people like it doesn't matter who you are, a Muslim or Christian.

[00:10:02] These are criminal people. They do these things to anybody. These people, they have probably mental problem or drugs or whatever because nobody like in the right mind to come and jam or killing people because we see this one before like a few weeks ago or one month ago in London, the terror attack and everybody like scared, worried about it.

And now we see it repeated again. And we don't know yet. We can't say who's done it, why it's been done, what is the things behind it. Nobody knows yet the truth, you know,

BLACK: This is true. We don't know. And we can't stress that enough. The police have not said why this has happened tonight, what the motivation was, who did this. But I've been speaking to people here tonight (inaudible) and they are sad and angry that this happened to them outside their mosque. I imagine that you could understand why that's the case.

AL-SULAIMAN: Yes, I think this area, especially this area is full of, you can say, it's a Muslim majority in this area. Lots of people here like from Algeria, from Tunisia, from Morocco, from the Arab countries. And lots of people as well like from Somalia. It's a very strong Muslim Community, this area.

And what's happening today I think is the people must be extremely, extremely sad. And the people here are very concerned like they say this is a terror attack. It's not actually accident or incident.

And the people they want to see the media report the truth because now I think that trust is go away because people they don't trust the media, especially like people they say when something happening to the Muslim people, the media is not reporting. But if another thing happened to different people, the media will be there straightaway.

So this is like can affect the relationship between the community, between the Muslim community, the other minority, the black community, the other minority community. This can affect them, you know and everywhere.

BLACK: We have to make that it doesn't happen, right?

AL-SULAIMAN: Yes, hopefully because we pray for unity and we pray for people because these people they try to separate the community. They try to make a division; make, you know, hate us.

And I don't think they will succeed because we are feel -- we feel like yes, this might happen but we're still looking for peace, looking for unity, looking for -- because we are all looking for unity, looking for peace because all religions -- Islam, Christian or (inaudible) -- all religion is like looking for peace. Nobody looking for trouble or crime.

BLACK: Indeed. Ratip -- thank you very much for sharing all of that with us tonight. We're very grateful.

AL-SULAIMAN: Thank you.

BLACK: Good night. Good luck to you and your community.


CHURCH: Our Phil Black talking to an eyewitness there, Ratip Al- Sulaiman. And Phil Black joins us now, live again from the scene. Phil -- what more are you learning now?

BLACK: Well, just here to stress an important point in that interview -- Rosemary. You heard Ratip al-Sulaiman talk about the belief that there was more than one person in the vehicle that was involved in this incident. He talked about two men running away.

We've heard those accounts from various people but crucially the police in their most recent statement to us which was only a short time ago. So they're not aware -- they need further suspects.

They're not looking for anyone else. No one has reported the possibility of further suspects. So then they're holding one man in custody while he's in hospital at the moment as a precaution, they say. And he will be taken into police custody as soon as he has been checked and deemed to be healthy and discharged.

But there is that inconsistency from the witness accounts that we've been hearing through the morning and that police statement. But of course, what we know now is that at least one person has been killed, eight injured seriously enough to be taken to hospital.

CHURCH: Yes. And we'll wait for authorities to shed more light on this. Our Phil Black, joining us there again from the scene. Many thanks to you. We'll come back to you in a moment.

VANIER: Let's bring in David Rohde now, CNN's global affairs analyst. He joins us from New York.

David -- crucially, in its latest statement the London Metropolitan police is telling us that the unit that is investigating is the counter terrorism unit. That says a lot.

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It does. And I think that's a clear sign that they, you know -- this appears to be a terrorist attack. And you know, frankly the sooner they can -- they should wait and they could act with (inaudible) support. [00:14:54] But you're hearing this in, you know, interviews with people in the community that there's a real concern that this won't be labeled a terrorist attack and, you know, there's a general sense among Muslims here in the United States that attacks on them are taken less seriously and that their lives are valued less than American or British lives.

CHURCH: And David -- explain to us the process that authorities go through in confirming whether or not an incident like this is in fact a terrorist attack. What is the criteria?

ROHDE: I think they would -- right now they're sort of scouring this person's social media activities, seeing any statements he's made that would show a motivation for this. There was a mention -- and again, I want to emphasize I don't have any extra details here -- there was a mention that they were -- the attacker was in custody in the hospital. That could be slowing down their efforts to interrogate this person in terms of their motivation.

So the British police are very careful. They're much slower than American officials sometimes. And they're also often praised for that. But again, you can the concern, you know, in the community there about, you know, why isn't this being called a terrorist attack yet.

VANIER: But David -- this is a terror attack. And again we're basing ourselves on the police statement here saying that the counter terrorism unit is investigating. So if this is a terror attack, how do you connect the dots between the three prior terror attacks in London? I mean, I beg your pardon, in the U.K. -- two of which were in London, one was in Manchester. How do you connect the dots between that and this?

ROHDE: I mean I would, you know -- my sort of working definition of terrorism is again, using violence, particularly violence against civilians to achieve some kind of political goal and that's very true in all four attacks. These are completely innocent victims, you know, attacking unarmed people for no reason whatsoever is completely unjustifiable so.

You know, this is terrorism. It doesn't matter who the victim is. Using violence, terrorizing civilians is completely unacceptable and in my view that applies in all four of these attacks.

CHURCH: David Rohde, CNN global affairs analyst joining us there. No doubt we will talk to you again very soon. But many thanks.

VANIER: U.K. government officials are reacting to the news with online statements. London's mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted this, "Emergency services are on the scene and investigating a major incident at Finsbury Park. Follow Met Police U.K. and London Ambulance for details.

CHURCH: And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote this. "I'm totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight." VANIER: And no doubt we'll have more reaction from officials as they start to wake up. It's only about 20 minutes past 5:00 a.m. local time in London.

We'll have more on this breaking news in just a moment. Stay with us.


CHURCH: We want to recap our viewers across the globe on our breaking news we're following out of north London. Police say a vehicle hit pedestrians, at least one person has died and the counter terrorism command is investigating. At least eight other people were wounded.

Now British Prime Minister Theresa May says the police are treating this as a potential terror attack. Authorities say one person was arrested but won't say if they're seeking other suspects.

VANIER: The incident took place in the Finsbury Park area near a mosque. The Muslim Council of Britain tweeted that it was informed that a van ran over people as they were leaving that mosque.

Witnesses tell CNN that three men exited the van. One of the men was arrested by the crowd that handed him over to law enforcement. The other two, according to witnesses, ran away.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman tells CNN it's too early to say if this is a terror incident. But just a reminder, moments ago the British Prime Minister Theresa May said this was being treated as a potential terror incident.

CHURCH: So let's bring in CNN law enforcement contributor, Steve Moore, to get some more information on this.

And Steve -- so we're hearing from the Prime Minister of Britain; she's saying the police are treating this as a potential terror attack.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, this is as we discussed about an hour ago, this is the fact that they haven't said anything to the public, saying that it's not a terrorist attack, this follows right along.

I believe that every indication they've gotten so far leads them to believe it's possibly a terrorist attack. But in an abundance of caution they're not willing to put all their weight down on the ice yet.

VANIER: And Steve, what is law enforcement doing right now? We know that the person who was driving the van, or one of the people, because again eyewitnesses say they saw several, is a 48-year-old male, that he was taken to hospital and that he will then be taken into custody.

MOORE: They are creating the world's quickest and most detailed biography on him than you can imagine. They are going into every single thing about him from his parents to the people he hung around with to his Web site or web presence to social media -- anything about him that they can come up with, they are going to locate immediately. And that includes associates, friends and like-minded people who might have been involved or sympathetic to what he did.

CHURCH: And Steve -- as we mentioned, the Prime Minister of Britain -- police treating this as a potential terrorist attack -- she has also indicated that she would chair a Cobra meeting this morning this morning. That's an emergency meeting there in London.

And of course, this in the aftermath of the attack in Manchester and then on the Westminster and London Bridge; this has been a particularly difficult time for Britain and certainly Theresa May feeling an incredible amount of pressure at this time.

MOORE: I can't imagine what she's going through because now you've got terrorist attacks -- several against the general population by ISIS-sympathetic groups. And now you have a potential retaliation.

And here's the problem. ISIS and international terrorist groups want to destabilize governments. Their goal is anarchy and if they can't get anarchy, they at least want a war between Islam and the -- what they would -- ISIS would call infidels.

And so by getting somebody to retaliate, they have achieved their goal. Whoever did this, if this is an attack on Muslims because of the ISIS-inspired attacks then they have played right into ISIS' hands.

VANIER: Steve -- are mosques going to have to need reinforced security?

MOORE: Yes. Yes. For years in America and around the world, temples -- Jewish temples have needed security like this. In America, even Christian churches are getting security and sadly now, mosques are going to have to do the same thing.

[00:25:10] VANIER: All right. Steve Moore -- CNN law enforcement contributor -- thank you very much.

CHURCH: And we will back with more of our breaking news coverage in just a moment. Do stay with us.


VANIER: Welcome back as we continue to follow breaking news out of north London.

And let's recap the facts. Authorities are saying that a vehicle hit pedestrians shortly after midnight local time; this happening in the area of Finsbury Park. One person died on the scene and at least eight others were injured.

British Prime Minister Theresa May crucially says that authorities are now treating the incident as a potential terrorist attack. Police were called to the incident on Seven Sisters Road right after midnight local time. Officials say the van's driver was arrested but they won't say if they're seeking other suspects. CHURCH: Witnesses tell CNN three men got out of the van. One of them was taken into custody and the other two apparently fled. The incident took place in a neighborhood near a large mosque. The Muslim Council of Britain tweeted that it has been informed that a van ran over people as they were leaving the mosque.

[00:30:01] So let's go now to our Ian Lee. He is still at the scene there. Ian, I know you've had an opportunity to talk to many different people. I witnessed reports there, what are people telling you now. Now that we are learning from Prime Minister Theresa May, that the police are treating this as a potential terror attack.

LEE: Rosemary, that's something we have heard all night from people various eyewitnesses every single one sight that this was deliberate, that they don't believe that this could have been an accident to any way just to go through a series of events from what eyewitnesses told me is that it started with an elderly man who was felt ill and he collapsed. That's when a crowd had gathered around to help this man. And then from according to eyewitnesses that's when the van hits into this crowd of people that this was shortly after midnight, so about five hours ago.

They say that the driver tried to flee the scene, but they were able to apprehend him. They said that he struggled of trying to get away. Now, a number of eyewitnesses have said that there were other people in the van. One eyewitness said that there have been one person, another saying about that there is a total of three people in the van. So, that's something that police are going definitely to be looking into. Although they say right now that they are not confirming or denying that there were other people in the van.

They've been very careful when it comes to releasing information about this incident. Once that driver was apprehended, that they were able to hand him over to the police. We're told that he is at a hospital now just as a precautionary measure. And then once he is released he will be taken into custody. You have eight people injured in this incident. One person killed then one witness was telling me how they had to drag someone from underneath the van as he was stuck and trapped in there.

And what you're seeing behind me is kind of what we have been seeing all night the last few hours. That you just have the police here, they've cordoned off the scene which is, about maybe a 100, 200 meters down the road of where is this incident that took place. And they've been thorough in their investigation just giving out little bits of information, but we now know that this is being investigated by the counter terrorism commands who definitely looks like it's beginning to be treated more like a terrorist attack, that is something that we've heard from people all night. They say that this was a terrorist attack. These were a group of Muslims who were targeted because they were Muslims. Again, that's what these eyewitnesses were saying. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes, and that seems to be the signs we are getting from authorities. Ian Lee reporting there live from the scene, we'll come back to you very soon. John Vause, CNN ANCHOR: Now we are joined now by Talha Ahmad, he is the spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, he joins us on the phone. Mr. Ahmad, I read the statement that the Muslim council put out a short while ago. You used the word Islamophobia to describe the context in which this took place.

TALHA AHMAD, MUSLIM COUNCIL BRITAIN SPOKESPERSON: Yes, you know, Islamophobia is been in the rise in the U.K. for some time. There's been some other violence including attacks in mosques. But obviously, what we have seen in Finsbury Park which is about two miles from where I live. And I prayed at that mosque few days ago. The reports are that it is deliberate attack targeting Muslims, and it's true that extremely concerning.

CHURCH: Yes, and that appears to be what the Prime Minister Theresa May has indicated saying, that the police are looking that this is a potential terrorist attack. It has been some time before they indicated that and of course they have to be very careful in the aftermath of an incident like this. Talk to us about your concerns going forward, if indeed this is confirmed to be this, which seem to be all the indications now that the counter-terrorism command is investigating this.

AHMAD: Well it is -- I don't think there are sufficiently strong words to describe how concerned we are because of, you know, now is month of Ramandan and many Muslims pray in the evening which runs while into midnight and often after midnight.

And so targeting them is very easy. There are also mosques at least 1,500 or so across the country, and people will be going into their (INAUDIBLE) in few days time. So it's hugely concerning because these (INAUDIBLE) each target from Muslims attending mosques, for example. It can have few years other repercussion in times of a Muslim sitting fate but also for the wider safety and security of our society.

[00:35:02] VAUSE: So what message are you putting out to the Muslim community, telling them we heard some of the eyewitnesses speaking to our reporters on the ground that they were afraid and that therefore, they were following sort of different guidelines as of now or as of recently that they shouldn't go out alone or that they shouldn't go our as a group so they could have each other's backs. What guidelines or guidance, if any, are you giving to the Muslim community?

AHMAD: It's a difficult one. No terrorist of any kind should be able to change our lives in a way that we become very constraint and frightened. So we should be going about our daily lives defying these kinds of lunatics. Where at the same time we need to be vigilant especially, mosques, I think they have to be a lot more vigilant and revisit their security in terms how to make sure. Because tomorrow -- today, it was aimed at people living at mosques but tomorrow it could be another mosques that maybe subjected to an attacks.

So, I don't think anyone can give a definitive guide, that's so what people can do. I don't think people should be paranoid and restrict their lives in anyway. But at the same time, we need to be vigilant. And whereas possible avoid going about on your own at times when it may not be safe to do so.

CHURCH: It certainly is critical that people are vigilant at this time. But talk to us about the level of security and indeed already in existence at various mosques across London and indeed at across Britain. And what it could mean if you increase security, would that be a consideration at this point?

AHMAD: Well, I think the problem is at -- you've got (INAUDIBLE) kind of Mosque. They mosques which are very well established at larger, well resourced, they have good, good security system in place. But most mosques are actually relatively smaller, they neither have the capacity nor the resources to ensure a very strong security.

The other thing I think that we need to -- we want to see is that for a long term there's been concern about whether the law enforcement agency is where giving sufficient strategy to mosques and security around mosques. But we were starting to want to see that police forces stepping up their, you know, effort to reassure mosques and mostly there's a Muslim community that there are sufficient police forces, sufficient officers on the -- on, and about -- and also there are (INAUDIBLE) security in a significant way.

VAUSE: Are you saying that you're calling on the government to put law enforcement in front of mosques across the U.K.?

AHMAD: Well, I am not suggesting that. I don't think that there are for bit for every Mosque. But I think, certainly, police into prioritize so their visibility and patrolling have to be increased.

CHURCH: All right, Talha Ahmad talking to us there, the spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain. We appreciate you joining us.

VAUSE: And we'll be back with more of our breaking new coverage in just a moment. Stay us with CNN.


[00:41:49] CHURCH: Welcome back to our viewers from all the around the world. We want to bring you up to date on the "Breaking News" we are covering a van has hit pedestrians in North of London. One man died at the scene and at least eight other people were injured. Prime Minister Theresa May says police are treating this incident as a potential terrorist attack. And we have also heard from two witnesses who say three men got out of that van. They say one of them was taken into custody and the other two fled the scene. London police won't confirm if they are looking for more suspects at this time, but they believe they have arrested the driver of that van.

VAUSE: And police were called to the scene just after midnight, local time. Now, this happened near the Finsbury Park mosque. We haven't confirmed that worshippers were deliberately targeted. The Muslim Council of Britain said on Twitter, "We've been informed that a van has ran over worshippers as they left Finsbury Park mosque, our prayers are with the victims."

Earlier, our colleague, Ana Cabrera, spoke with Hillary Briffa. She was on the street and witness the aftermath of the incident.


HILLARY BRIFFA, EYEWITNESS: (INAUDIBLE) a lot of commotion on the street, a lot of yelling, a lot of running. And I could see to my window so run down join (INAUDIBLE) to look what's happening. And we ran up the (INAUDIBLE) toward the mosque, the mosque entry right next to (INAUDIBLE) station. And I want to go shopping that in car collided with people who are exiting from -- into the dark Mosque prayer (INAUDIBLE).

So there was a lot of commotion going on. There was a white van that which have been all over it (INAUDIBLE) hammering around it and shouting at the man (INAUDIBLE). Moved the especially they are like hit everybody. And (INAUDIBLE) that these were in a pushing for all of us back so I didn't get too much close there. Everybody has been pushed back. And, (INAUDIBLE) the crowd wanted to get (INAUDIBLE) this is act of Islamophobia (INAUDIBLE) and are like are some (INAUDIBLE) told this is an act of terror.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: So let me sap you for just a moment Hillary because I'm having a hard -- little bit of a hard time hearing you. I want to make sure I understand what you just said. Did you hear people shouting that they believe this was an act of terror?

BRIFFA: Yes. That in (INAUDIBLE) that I'd like to (INAUDIBLE) attack and to be -- and people were shouting that it was an act of terrorism, even though his white. These are the kind of comments that most people were yelling out and people saying, very agitated and trying to get close to the attack scene where it's the media, this is an act of.

The police were begun pushing back from the cordon. They were saying we can't give you information at the moment and (INAUDIBLE) people have been injured, we need to get everybody to fall back as possible so that we can get emergency services through. They put the cordon back along (INAUDIBLE) road up until down the road, the road was (INAUDIBLE) actually. So, I went back into my (INAUDIBLE) which they try to cordon and has been watching things unfold from the side.

[00:45:14] CABRERA: So, Hillary, did you see --


CABRERA: Did you see the person who may have been involved in this incident? Who may have been driving the vehicle?

BRIFFA: No, I've seen the vehicle and I saw a lot of people crowding around somebody that I could not see myself. There were lots of people and I'm in the interest of personal safety as well as I didn't want to get too close you because obviously that you never know what could happen next. But I guess (INAUDIBLE) it was a white van has now outside the station.

CABRERA: So it was a van?

BRITTA: Yes, a white van. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: An eye witness talking there to Anna Cabrera some hours ago. We will take a very short beak here, but on the other side of that break, we'll continue with that Breaking News on this van hitting pedestrians in North London. Police saying one man has died at the scene, at least other eight other People were injured, we're back in moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "CNN Breaking News."

CHURCH: We welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world as we recap "Breaking News" we're following out of North London. Authorities say a vehicle hit pedestrians. One person has died and at least eight others are injured.

[00:50:03] British Prime Minister Theresa May says police are treating the Incident as a potential terrorist attack and she will shortly chair an emergency meeting on the incident. Police say they were called to the scene on Seven Sisters Road right after midnight local time. Officials say the vehicle's driver was arrested but won't say if they're seeking other suspects.

VAUSE: Witnesses tell CNN three men exited the vehicle. One of them was taken into custody. Two others fled. The incident took place in the Finsbury Park area that's near a mosque. Muslim Councilor of Britain tweeted that it was informed a van ran over people as they were leaving the mosque. Let me also bring you the latest words from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who said this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londonist. Many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month Ramadan and also this from the mayor. While this appears to be an attack on a particular community like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge it is also an assault on all of our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect. Let's go back to Phil Black for the latest. Phil is on the scene where the collision took place. Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the statement from the London mayor Sadiq Khan that you just read out. It's clearly, well, it's the strongest that we have heard some far from any British official. He is calling it clearly a deliberate attack. He doesn't use the word terrorism but we know the British prime minister said this is a potential terror attack. The counter-terrorism command responsible to the investigation that is current happening.

But the mayor of London going further than anyone and saying this was a deliberate attack against the people here, many of them were worshipping and observing the prayers of Ramadan. That's what people here this morning have been telling us. They believe this was deliberate. They believe this was terrorism against them. They're quite angry. They're quite upset about it.

The police are still being a little more circumspect in the language that they are using. They are talking about having one man in custody. They are trying to determine just what his motivation was. He's currently in hospital. This is the man they say they believe was the driver of the vehicle. They say that he will also be given a mental health assessment in due course as well.

So the police as they undertake this investigation are still clearly keeping all of their options open, but from very high level British officials we are now hearing the possibility, the likelihood that, yes, this was in fact some deliberate form of terror attack or potentially.

CHURCH: And, Phil, there is a great deal of caution here and the words being used by authorities understandably because the fear is what would happen going forward now given what we know so far.

BLACK: Indeed. The possibility, if this was a terror attack, then you have to think about what the consequences are not just for this community, not just for this particular Muslim community, but for London and indeed the United Kingdom more broadly. You have to start to think about what this person's motivations were. If this was some form of reprisal against the Muslim community for other recent Islamist attacks, then that well, it changes the dynamic in a city, in a country that was already significantly tense and on edge because of the violence being carried out here in recent months.

This, well, it really strikes back against all efforts to maintain unity, to insist there would not be division, to insist that London remains tolerant and united and does not blame the Muslim community specifically for the violent actions of a few. But the people that we've been talking to here this morning, they and members of this local Muslim community, they strongly see this as an attack against them. And more than that, they say it is a continuation of a recent trend.

They believe Islamophobic behavior, actions, hatred in public against their mosques, against people on public transport, abuse on the streets, these sorts of things. They all say have been on the rise in recent months, and if this was an attack against their community then this fits that trend.

But we do have to say crucially the police aren't saying that yet, although we do now have this very strongly worded comment from the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who says clearly this was a deliberate attack against innocent people.

VAUSE: Phil, stand by, please. I want to bring a new piece of video and pictures to our viewers that were provided to CNN by witnesses on the scene, and they show a man being detained and then later arrested by police. Let's just take this in for a second.

Now, the London metropolitan police have not yet released an image of the person they have arrested, but just a reminder to our viewers they do say they have a 48-year-old man in custody, that he is currently in hospital, and they will be taking him into custody after he is released from hospital.

Phil, we saw that very, very brief video. It just gives us a sense however of the chaos surrounding the scene.

[00:55:05] And I have to say also it seems the composure of the crowd who just apprehended a man, law enforcement was not there, and then brought him to police after flagging down a police car.

BLACK: Yes, the videos that we've seen of those moments immediately following, immediately following where the car drove through, plowed through the crowd, there's moments where the crowd appears to detain a person. It does give a sense of the chaos. You can hear lots of raised voices. Some of that video and I think it's the one you just saw. You can actually see the police officers seemingly putting themselves between the crowd and the man who has been detained, who looks -- well, he doesn't look entirely comfortable there, but clearly a very chaotic scene that followed what appears to have been this incident just a short distance from where I'm standing.

VAUSE: Phil Black reporting live from London. CNN has several teams on the ground. We continue to bring you eyewitness accounts to try and piece together exactly what happened. What we know so far however, eight people were injured, one person died at the scene. The British government is treating this as a potential terror attack, and the mayor of London in a statement just moments ago was saying this does, indeed, look like a deliberate attack. This is happening near a mosque in North London.

Stay with us. We'll be back in just a few moments and continue our breaking news coverage.