Nails have reportedly been found following a loud explosion near a mosque in Tipton, West Midlands this afternoon.
Police and counter terrorism officers were called to Kanz-ul-Iman Jamia Mosque on Binfield Street just after 1pm (jummah prayers) and a cordon was set up immediately and the area has been evacuated.
Wasin Kahn, 23, a member of the congregation at the Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare Association Central Jamia Mosque, spoke of how he heard the explosion.
Mr Khan who lives on Park Lane East in Tipton said: “I heard a loud bang, at first I didn’t think anything of it, but then someone started saying it was a bomb.”
Residents have reported finding debris and nails in the area, which are being investigated by forensic officers at the scene.
There are no reports of any injuries, but police have evacuated the area as a precaution.
The following roads have been closed by police: Sedgley Road East at Dudley Port, Dudley Port at Tudor Court, Jays Avenue at Tudor Court/Tudor Street, Park Lane East at Slater Street, Crompton Road at Martin Road, Victoria Road at Park Street.
Imran Saleh who lives next to the mosque on Jays Avenue said to 5 Pillarz: “I heard the bang and now people are finding nails. This is very worrying and upsetting as it was the first jummah prayers of Ramadan.
“It is early to speculate who we think may have done this, but it is clear the mosque and Muslims were targeted.”
Mohammed Ibrahim of Victoria Road said to 5 Pillarz: “I heard there’s been an explosion next to the mosque and nails have been found. This is very worrying for the Muslim community.”
Mr Khan said: “They said it was a nail bomb that was in the car park. The police were called and they evacuated the mosque and some houses at the back. There are around 20 police cars here, we just don’t know what’s going on.
“People are saying they are targeting Friday prayer. It used to be held at 1pm but they moved it to 2pm not too long ago. The bomb went off at 1.15pm. We don’t know how much damage was caused, and I don’t think anyone was injured.”
West Midlands Police are still investigating an explosion which occurred near a mosque in the Caldmore area of Walsall on June 21.
The remains of a home-made explosive device were found on June 22 in an alleyway adjoining the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Rutter Street, Caldmore.
The earlier incident, in which no-one was injured, forced the overnight evacuation of around 150 people from their homes in the surrounding area.
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “Police have been called to Binfield Street in Tipton this afternoon following reports of a loud bang. A cordon has been set up and the immediate area is being evacuated as a precautionary measure while police investigate what caused it.
“Some residents have reported finding debris in the area and finding nails. This is being investigated by forensic officers at the scene.”
Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area should call police on 101 or the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.