UK Police investigate ‘terrorist’ explosion outside mosque
Nails reportedly found at scene of blast in central England on day as Rigby funeral
The explosion took place outside a mosque in Tipton near Birmingham. Image: Google Maps
British police have said they are treating a blast outside a mosque in central England 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 1 pm. No injuries were reported, but the immediate area was evacuated.
“An investigation is being led by the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit and it is being treated as a terrorist incident,” police said in a statement.
“Some residents have reported finding debris in the area and finding nails. 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 Mr Rigby’s killing, the English Defence League (EDL), a right-wing group which vociferously opposes Islamism, has staged protests at which its supporters chanted slogans such as “Muslim 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 Mr 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 to hold rally in Birmingham next week, describing the city as a hotbed of Islamic extremism.
“We do not want to drive Muslims out of Birmingham, nor do we want to eradicate Muslim culture from the area,” the group said on its website.
“Muslims however, seek to impose their own set of laws and belief systems on the people of England, while showing contempt for British law and democracy. Our government does nothing, aside from funding their entire operation.”