AN EXPLOSION reported near a mosque is being treated as a terrorist incident, police said.
Counter-terrorism officers have launched an investigation after residents heard a loud bang in Tipton, West Midlands, before nails and other debris were found.
No injuries have been reported but several streets in the Binfield Street area have been sealed off.
“Police have been called to Binfield Street in Tipton this afternoon following reports of a loud explosion,” a West Midlands Police spokesman said yesterday.
“Officers were called at 1:06pm and are currently at the scene. A cordon has been set up and the immediate area has been evacuated.
“Some residents have reported finding debris in the area and finding nails. This is being investigated by counter terrorism detectives and forensic officers at the scene.
“There are no reports of any injuries to anyone at this time.
“An investigation is being led by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and it is being treated as a terrorist incident.
“There are some road closures in place around the Binfield Street area.”
The incident came on the day murdered soldier Lee Rigby was remembered at a funeral service in Bury, Greater Manchester.
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 a want for them to be here.
“The whole estate has been blocked off. People are surprised that something like this has happened.”
The loud bang was reported near the Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare Association Central Jamia Mosque in Binfield Street, the councillors said.
West Midlands Police are still investigating another explosion near a mosque in the Caldmore area of Walsall on 21 June.
The remains of a home-made explosive device were found the next day in an alleyway adjoining the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Rutter Street.
The earlier incident, in which no one was injured, forced the overnight evacuation of around 150 people from their homes in the surrounding area.
Dozens of local people, who were asked to leave their homes inside the sealed-off area gathered at several cordons where police were giving out bottles of water to families with children.
There was condemnation of the attack from Muslim groups.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said: “Like we will not let terrorism divide us when Lee Rigby was killed, we will not allow these thugs and terrorists to divide Muslims from wider society.”