England mosque blast a terrorist incident, police say
LONDON: British police said they were treating a blast outside a mosque in central England yesterday afternoon as a terrorist incident, saying nails had reportedly been found at the scene.
West Midlands police said they were alerted to reports of a loud bang in Tipton near Birmingham shortly after 1pm. No injuries were reported, but the immediate area was evacuated.
“An investigation is being led by the West Midlands Counterterrorism Unit and it is being treated as a terrorist incident,” police said.
“Some residents have reported finding debris and nails in the area. This is being investigated by forensic officers at the scene.”
The incident came on the same day as the funeral of soldier Lee Rigby, whose murder on a south London street in May stoked community tensions. Two suspects, both British Muslims, face a murder trial in November.
Since Rigby’s killing, the English Defence League (EDL), a rightwing group which vociferously opposes Islamism, has staged protests during which its supporters chanted slogans such as “Mus- lim killers off our streets”.
A mosque was burned down in London shortly after the killing and “EDL” scrawled on the side of the building, but it was unclear who caused the fire.
Police have said there has been a rise in the number of attacks on Muslims since Rigby’s death, despite politicians and religious leaders appealing for calm.
Birmingham is home to a large Muslim population and last month a number of men from the city were jailed for plotting to attack an EDL rally using a homemade nail bomb.
The EDL is planning a rally in Birmingham next week, describing the city as a hotbed of Islamic extremism. – Reuters