LONDON >>Six people, including three children, were injured today after a car ran into a large crowd gathered to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the northern English city of Newcastle. Police said there was no information suggesting the incident was terror-related.
Police believe a woman who had been celebrating Eid with her family was driving the car that struck the crowd outside the Westgate Sports Center, Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best said. Northumbria Police arrested the woman, 42, who remained in custody. The force said it was not looking for other suspects.
“We have no information to suggest this is terror-related, however, this is a serious collision with multiple casualties and extensive inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances around this tragic incident,” Best said.
The collision took place outside the sports center when many were just leaving a prayer gathering marking the end of Ramadan, according to the nearby Newcastle Central Mosque, which organized the family event called “Eid in the Open.”
“Immediately after the Eid prayers when the people were starting to leave the venue, a car collided with pedestrians. The injured were immediately attended to by the emergency medical services and the police,” it said.
Video on social media, apparently taken minutes after the crash, showed a field where dozens of people in Muslim dress, including children, screamed and rushed forward to see what happened.
The ambulance service said three children and three adults were being treated at a local hospital for injuries sustained in the crash. Two of the children were in pediatric intensive care and one adult was in the trauma unit, officials said.
Newcastle lawmaker Chi Onwurah said on Twitter that she was one of thousands celebrating Eid in the city. “I was at the prayers earlier and there was so much joy and unity. Thinking of those affected by what I am told was terrible accident,” Onwurah tweeted.
Extra officers were put on patrol to reassure people in the area. The incident came at the time when Britain is on high alert for terror-related incidents involving vehicles after a string of recent attacks.
A man drove a van into Muslim worshippers leaving two London mosques on June 19, killing one and injuring others. Police said that was a terror attack directed at Muslims.