PHOTOS: Bomb Explodes In Mosque During Friday Prayers

PHOTOS: Bomb Explodes In Mosque During Friday Prayers

An explosion reported near a mosque is being treated as a terrorist incident, police said today.

Counter-terrorism officers have launched an investigation after residents heard a loud bang in Tipton, West Midlands, before nails and other debris were found.

PHOTOS: Bomb Explodes In Mosque During Friday Prayers

The explosion occurred just one hour after Drummer Lee Rigby's funeral.

No injuries have been reported but several streets in the Binfield Street area have been sealed off, West Midlands Police said.

Unconfirmed reports have said it was caused by 'a nail bomb'. West Midlands Police said it was now being treated as a 'terrorist incident.'

A spokesman said: 'Police have been called to Binfield Street in Tipton this afternoon following reports of a loud bang.

 

'Officers were called at 1.06pm and are currently at the scene. A cordon has been set up and the immediate area is being evacuated as a precautionary measure while police investigate what caused it.

'There are no reports of any injuries to anyone at this time. Some residents have reported finding debris in the area and finding nails.

'This is being investigated by forensic officers at the scene.

'An investigation is being led by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and it is being treated as a terrorist incident.'

The incident came on the day murdered soldier Lee Rigby was remembered at a private funeral service in Bury, Greater Manchester.

PHOTOS: Bomb Explodes In Mosque During Friday Prayers

Tipton Green councillor Ian Jones said residents in the area described hearing a 'loud thud'. Councillor Syeda Amina Khatun said she was not aware of any previous attacks on the mosque.

'The explosion has gone off on the disused railway line behind the mosque,' she said.

'There are lots of police around so there must be want for them to be here. The whole estate has been blocked off. People are surprised that something like this has happened.

Rai Khan said he was one of three members of the public at the mosque when the nail bomb went off. 

He revealed the place of worship would have otherwise been packed with Muslims - but Friday prayers had been put back by one hour until 2pm. 

He added: 'There was me, the caretaker and one man was just pulling in to the car park at the time. 'As I only work over the road I was one of the first there.'

'They decided to put back Friday prayers by one hour, otherwise there could have been mass casualties. 

'There would have been hundreds of people arriving for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, which is a very important date for us. 

'It's chilling to think what could have happened if they had not decided to delay Friday prayers. You saw the damage a nail bomb can do at the Boston Marathon - to think that could have been us is very scary.

'A few of the windows were smashed and a couple of cars damaged. It could have been so much worse.'

Others suggested the 'attack' was intended to coincide with the funeral of Drummer Rigby - hacked to death outside military barracks in Woolwich, London, in May.

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