Man arrested over London mosque stabbing during prayers

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a stabbing during prayers at a London mosque.

The victim, a man in his 70s, was taken to hospital where his condition is said not to be life-threatening, after the attack, which is not being treated as terror related.

A 29-year-old man, who is believed to have been attending prayers at London Central Mosque in Regent's Park, central London, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder at the scene on Thursday.

The mosque said members of the congregation broke from their prayers and restrained the attacker until the arrival of the police.

Stabbing at London mosque
Eyewitness Abi Watik speaking to media outside London Central Mosque

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The incident is not being treated as terror-related at this time."

Mustafa Field, director of the Faiths Forum for London, told reporters outside the mosque that worshippers said it was "one stab, one strike, around the neck" of the victim.

He said: "Then the congregation members, some of them broke their prayers, and intervened, restrained the individual.

"The mosque security called the police, and the police were there within minutes, and he was restrained and taken away."

Witness Abi Watik, 59, told the PA news agency the victim had been stabbed once in the right shoulder moments after prayers had started.

"It has just started and he was waiting for them to start," he said.

"He was praying behind him and then he stabbed him. He (the suspect) was silent the whole time."

Mr Watik added: "We were shocked, we didn't know what happened, we saw the guy on the floor and blood on his shoulder and the knife on the floor.

Stabbing at London mosque
Police outside London Central Mosque in Regent's Park

"He was waiting for him I think to start praying. He was right behind him."

In response to the attack, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "I'm deeply saddened to hear of the attack at the London Central Mosque. It's so awful that this should happen, especially in a place of worship. My thoughts are with the victim and all those affected."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said police would be providing extra resources, writing on Twitter: "I'm deeply concerned by this incident at London Central Mosque.

"Every Londoner is entitled to feel safe in their place of worship & I want to reassure London's communities that acts of violence in our city will not be tolerated.

"The Met are providing extra resources in the area."