Worshippers urged to attend prayers at mosque cordoned off in stabbing search

A mosque that was sealed off by armed police during the hunt for suspects after a fatal stabbing has urged worshippers to attend Friday prayers as normal.

The Metropolitan Police said the victim, believed to be in his early 20s, was found with stab wounds in Elmton Court, Cunningham Place, north-west London, at about 6.15pm on Thursday.

The suspects are believed to have run towards Regent’s Park and the London Central Mosque, which was cordoned off as officers searched the premises.

On Friday morning, Scotland Yard was unable to provide an update following its 11.30pm statement which said the cordon remained in place and the suspects were still at large.

Unconfirmed reports from witnesses said they saw two men being detained in handcuffs, and the mosque urged worshippers to carry on as normal.

An armed police officer and a police dog and handler outside the London Central Mosque, near Regent’s Park, London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
An armed police officer and a police dog and handler outside the London Central Mosque, near Regent’s Park (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“All staff and attendees to the mosque are safe and we look forward to seeing you all at Friday prayers tomorrow in sha Allah,” a statement said.

The victim was treated at the scene by medics from the London Ambulance Service but died later in hospital, the Met said.

The force tweeted that the attack was not terror-related.

Armed officers could be seen searching stairwells and the outside area at the back of the mosque – including one part of the building under a large patio – at well past 11pm.

All staff and attendees to the Mosque are safe our prayers are with the victim and his family. we look forward to seeing you all at Friday prayers tomorrow In Sha Allah

— LondonCentral Mosque (@iccukorg) March 28, 2019

At about 11.30pm, the cordons around the mosque were moved and roads reopened, and armed officers could also be seen leaving the scene.

Witness Bahir Moulana told the Press Association that, as he was walking towards the mosque, the police were pushing people back before they closed the main gate.

With a number of armed officers at the scene, the 39-year-old said it gave him the “jitters”, especially following the recent attack at two mosques in New Zealand.

“I saw all the blue lights and my heart was in my mouth,” Mr Moulana said.

Police said no arrests have been made (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Police said no arrests have been made (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

With worshippers eventually let out of the building, he added: “There was one girl who said she saw two guys run in. Someone else told me the police were chasing them.”

Mr Moulana said he saw two people being detained and put in handcuffs by police at the mosque.

“The police just surrounded them. I saw that at around 7pm,” he added.

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