A “suspicious package” thought to be an explosive device has been found at a mosque in Liverpool.
The suspect package was removed by an army robot device an hour ago outside Al Rahma Mosque on Mulgrave Street, Toxteth.
A “heavy” locked suitcase was left by a black male just before Maghrib prayers when there was around 150-200 worshipers inside the mosque.
Worshipers and pedestrians were told to move further back as bomb squad officers from the Royal Logistics Corps used their remote-controlled robot to carry out two controlled explosions 10 minutes apart at around 11.15pm and 11.25pm.
The robot was sent back into the scene for a second examination.
Forensics officers later arrived at the scene to examine the remains of the suitcase. The cordon was lifted just after 1am.
The army bomb disposal team have now left the scene with the package for further examination.
Hishan Umair Adnan Khalid, 20, who was arriving at the mosque for prayers said: “There was a bit of commotion. A tall black man came in randomly and left a suitcase and said he’d be back later on.
“Someone went to move it and it was heavy and locked. They called the police straight away.
“When the police arrived they cordoned off the road and everyone was told to get out.
“The police kept saying ‘move back, move back’. People living over the road had to leave their houses.”
Reporter for Liverpool Echo, Lorna Hughes confirmed with Dilly Hussain on Twitter:
“The police cordon on Mulgrave Street, Toxteth. We’re being told to stand back for our own safety.
“Looks like police forensics officers are about to go over to where the package was.
“Robot brought back by two bomb squad officers, looks like they’re about to put it back in the van.
“Looks like it’ll be the morning before we get more detail on the suspect package – police only telling me tests are being carried out.”
Ms Hughes last tweet to Dilly Hussain said: “Before I sign off – another theory is that the bag contained items of clothing intended for a charity at the mosque.”
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said it was too early to establish what was in the suitcase and tests were being carried out.
He said: “We were called at 9pm to a report of a suspicious package at the mosque. A cordon was put in place and we called in the Army bomb disposal unit.”