Victim of Finsbury Park attack says Darren Osborne attempted silent escape after driving into worshippers


A first aider hit in the Finsbury Park terror attack has told ITV News of the moment Darren Osborne drove into him and others in a rented van – then quietly tried to escape in the ensuing melee.

Yassin Hersi was hit while helping fellow Muslim Makram Ali, who had fallen over after prayers at the local mosque in north London in the early hours of 19 June last year.

Mr Hersi’s distressed family soon saw him among the victims on a Snapchat video.

And he told ITV News how he didn’t tell his loved ones his exact location for fear his hijab-wearing wife and daughters could be targeted.

Osborne has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder at London’s Woolwich Crown Court.

Mr Hersi was one of nine injured in last year’s attack, which claimed Mr Ali’s life.

Grim CCTV footage captured the moment the white hire van swung off the road and into the group.

Mr Hersi remembers asking other worshippers to give Mr Ali some air after he had initially fallen to the pavement – then seeing “a shadow” heading towards the group.

“(My) mind worked quickly,” he told ITV News. “Shadow coming, bang coming. That’s the distance between them.”

After being hit, Mr Hersi remembers seeing people “running in different directions in shock”, a person with a bleeding head and another unconscious, while he tried in vain to stand up – while fearing a follow-up attack.

“What come into my mind was terrorists,” he said. “When (Osborne) came off the van first I thought he was going to kill us. Maybe he’s got a gun or pistol or something.”

But instead the attacker remained passive.

“He didn’t say anything, he just came off,” Mr Hersi said. “He just walked past me and other badly wounded people, he just passed us.

“His intention was to disappear in that crowd.”

Mr Hersi remembered Osborne being set upon and using “his force by kicking, punching – whatever he can to escape”.

Local imam Mohammed Mahmoud soon ordered the angry crowd to stop before the Welshman was restrained and taken away by police.

Mobile phone footage quickly circulated of the aftermath of the attack.

It was on social media that Mr Hersi’s wife and daughters saw him among the injured after learning from a family friend he had been hit.

“It was just like all alarm bells,” wife Rakhia Ismail told ITV News. “My husband in an accident. My three daughters were sitting around me.

“Before that, they were going to social media to find out what’s going on.

“My daughter say ‘oh my friend says this is your dad on Snapchat on the ground’ and I couldn’t believe it.

“And I just looked and then I had to take all the mobiles from them because I just thought it would just get worse for them.”

Mr Hersi called his wife to confirm he was “Ok” but resisted the urge to ask them to come to him in his hour of need.

“The fear I have that night: she’s wearing a hijab, my daughter’s wearing a hijab. If I (tell) them I’m there and told them the location I was they (would all be) all coming,” he said.

“So that is the fear that terrorism causes in our community. When you can’t even call your family and say ‘look I’m there, I’m seriously wounded, can you come and see me?'”

Seven months on, Mr Hersi is still struggling to walk as he recovers from the broken ankle and damaged tissue in his left foot.

And he remains angry at attempts to diminish Osborne’s responsibility for the terror.

“You see some people try to still defend (him). Some of people, they’re claiming he had a mental illness, which is not the case. He had absolutely nothing wrong with him.”

He went on: “The guy who came all the way (from) Cardiff, managed to rent a car, taking all that highway, driving and passing all that community. Targeting one particular community.

“He’s a terrorist. He’s an enemy of our country. He’s an enemy for any human kind.”



Source : http://www.itv.com/news/2018-02-01/victim-of-finsbury-park-attack-says-darren-osborne-attempted-silent-escape-after-driving-into-worshippers/

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