Panicked onlookers react to the accident.
Panicked onlookers react to the accident. Twitter

Driver smashes car into Muslims in Newcastle, UK

BRITISH police on Sunday said they did not suspect terrorism was involved when a car ploughed into a group of Muslims leaving Eid prayers in Newcastle, northeast England.

Six people were hospitalised after a car crashed into pedestrians outside a sports centre in Newcastle, but Northumberland police said "it is not believed to be a terror incident."

Crowds gather round the car in Newcastle, northeast England.
Crowds gather round the car in Newcastle, northeast England. Twitter

Northumbria Police said they arrested a 42-year-old woman, who remains in police custody.

They say a full investigation was underway to determine what happened outside Westgate Sports Center in the northern English city on Sunday morning. The ambulance service said three children and three adults were being treated at a local hospital for injuries sustained in the crash.

Social media videos show terrified families running across a field after the smash.

Video on social media, apparently taken minutes after the crash, showed dozens of people in Muslim dress, including children, screaming and rushing forward to see what happened.

A statement from the nearby Newcastle Central Mosque said the collision took place just as people were leaving Eid prayers.

"This woman, an African woman, came driving and just drove all over people," he told The Chronicle.

"The car was going on and people tried to stop the car. There were many injured people, two seriously."

Another witness, Asif Anwar, said: "The lady lost control of the car and hit some people. Two of them were kids.

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah, who said on Twitter that she was one of thousands celebrating Eid in the city, tweeted: "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."

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.

Police in Newcastle have put extra officers on patrol to reassure people.