The homemade device exploded near the Kanz Ul Iman Masjid mosque in Tipton, West Midlands, shortly after 1pm – when up to 200 worshippers would normally have been in the area for Friday prayers. However, the prayers had been moved back an hour because of Ramadan and no one was injured in the blast. The bomb, which was left on a disused railway line behind the mosque, showered the area with nails and other debris. Police were last night treating the explosion as a terrorist incident and were investigating whether there are any links to a small explosion near a mosque in nearby Walsall last month.
Residents in Tipton believed the attack had also been timed to coincide with the day of the funeral of Drummer Rigby in Bury. The soldier died in an alleged Islamic terror attack in Woolwich, east London, in May. Adrian Bailey, the local MP, said: “Given that it is Drummer Lee Rigby’s funeral today and previous attacks at mosques across the country, it certainly seems that this may have been connected in some way.” A nail bomb had exploded shortly after 1pm, when the mosque is usually at full capacity, but fortunately, as it is Ramadan, prayer times have changed and the devastation and potential loss of life that may have been suffered was avoided.
“People were evacuated and a cordon was put in place while officers worked with the army bomb disposal experts and specialist officers and it’s likely that this is an attack given the factors and evidence found already. This includes the loud bang, reports of smoke, the finding of nails and the location of a mosque. From this, we can draw the most likely conclusion that there was a serious explosion and that somebody sought to create a devastating amount of damage. The police are treating this as a terror attack, but we are still working to establish if this is connected to any other incidents that have occurred.”