Police have described an explosion that took place at a West Midlands mosque as a “terrorist attack”.
Police and counter terrorism officers were called to Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare Association Central Jamia Mosque in Tipton just after 1pm (jummah prayers) and a cordon was set up immediately and the area had been evacuated.
Chief Constable Gareth Cann described today’s attack as an act of “terrorism”. He said: “Whoever was responsible wanted to cause serious harm. I can’t say for sure it was directed at the mosque, but from what we’ve seen this seems to be the most likely option.”
In a joint statement, the board of trustees and management committee of the Kanz Ul Iman Central Jamia Mosque said: “We express our deep shock and utter dismay regarding the incident that has occurred this afternoon.
“On behalf of the local community, we condemn this senseless and mindless act. It’s a blessing from God that thankfully no-one was injured in the blast.”
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. 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.”
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. 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.”
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.
There are no reports of any injuries, but police have evacuated the area as a precaution.
Lee Rigby’s funeral
The board of trustees and management committee of the mosque said in regards to the killing of British soldier, Lee Rigby in south-east London and his funeral today: “We call for calm and strongly urge the community not to let this incident divide us and cause disharmony. We stand united, stand together in the aftermath of this mindless act.”
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.