14 Injured After Car Slams into Muslim-Owned Shop in Sydney, Australia22 May 2020
14 people, including a 13-year-old girl, have been hospitalised after a car slammed into the Hijab House clothing shop in Sydney, Australia on Thursday afternoon. The driver of the vehicle, a 51-year-old named Sabri Nasser, was released after being arrested following the crash, only to be arrested again.
So far, the causes behind the incident remain unclear. Videos taken by onlookers seem to suggest that the vehicle has been driven into the shop deliberately. However, police have told members of the press that they are still trying to identify a motive.
The vehicle appears to have slammed into the Hijab House store deliberately
The shocking incident took place Thursday afternoon, in the Waterloo Road of Sydney’s Greenacre District. Videos taken by onlookers and witnesses shows Mitsubishi SUV revving its engine long enough to smoke its tyres before launching towards the shop at the turn of the traffic lights. Before crashing into the shop, the SUV rammed to the car in front of it with enough strength to push it away without losing speed even as the driver of the car locked on the brakes.
14 people were injured in the crash which saw onlookers scrambling to help in its wake. Those injured in the crash were taken to the nearby Bankstown, Canterbury and Liverpool hospitals. 13 of the survivors were discharged shortly after while a 13-year-old girl who was injured during the crash remains in hospital, but is in stable condition. According to NSW Ambulance spokeswoman Caitlin Murphy, the survivors are “lucky to be alive.”
The owner of the shop, Tarik Houcher, said that the shop was especially busy due to Eid, describing the situation as “surreal” and “heartbreaking”. He said that his shop had been targeted with racially and Islamophobia-motivated attacks before and said he feared this was such an incident.
The 51-year-old driver of the vehicle was arrested
In the aftermath of the crash, police have arrested a suspect who was identified as 51-year-old Sabri Nasser. Although he was released, he was arrested again shortly after and is still being held by the police.
“Quite clearly from the footage, he’s pushing the vehicle in front of him quite hard in order to smoke the tyres like that. But what has caused that to happen, I can’t say,” said Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said last night.
According to witnesses, including the driver of the car that he rammed into, he was “driving very calm.”
“He was not injured. There was no blood on him. He was not screaming or asking for help. He was just sitting in shock,” said Dr Nafi Musa, a local healthcare official who was on the scene.
According to the police, Nasser said that he was having a number of medical issues and blamed them for the crash. Police said that he is a known bad driver and has been linked to two similar road incidents which are also under investigation.
It is expected Nasser will be charged for a number of driving-offences.
The situation is developing.