Counter-terrorism officers have found evidence of a third bomb detonated near to a mosque in the West Midlands.
Wolverhampton Central Mosque on Dunstall Road, Wolverhampton, was evacuated last night after police received information that it may have been the target of a device activated three weeks ago.
Today, West Midlands police said they have found the ‘seat of an explosion’ and debris among trees and shrubbery in the roundabout opposite the mosque.
Early indications are that the device was detonated on June 28. It follows the arrest of two Ukranian men, aged 25 and 22, in connection with two separate bombings near mosques in Walsall and Tipton.
Tip off: Counter-terror police swooped on the area following the arrest of two Ukrainian men on suspicion of terror offences
The suspects are engineering students who have been in England on a summer placement, according to the Birmingham Mail.
No device was found inside Wolverhampton Central Mosque which has now been reopened for worshippers.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘Officers searching the area have found the seat of an explosion and debris on the island near the mosque.
‘The investigation is being led by specialist officers and staff from our Counter Terrorism Unit who are being supported by a range of departments from across the force.
‘We recognise the impact news of the latest find will have on the communities of Wolverhampton and further afield. We’re working hard to complete our enquiries so that the area can be returned to normality.’
Meanwhile, the industrial unit which is the headquarters of software company Delcam continued to be a hive of activity with bomb disposal officers and members of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit searching the premises where the two suspects were working on a university placement.
The company’s chief executive, Clive Martell, was at the scene today and confirmed comments he made, after police turned up unexpectedly at the site on Thursday.
Speaking in the Birmingham Mail yesterday, he said: ‘The two men were on work placements with us, but were not employees of the business.
‘They are studying at a foreign university and are engineering students.’
Mr Martell added that the two men were studying engineering degrees in a country in Eastern Europe.
‘One of the men has been with us for four months and the other has been with us for two months,” he said.
‘They were around halfway through the course and we understand that they met each other whilst on the placement.
‘This was completely unexpected and we are doing everything we possibly can to assist the police with their investigations.’
Officers descended on the large industrial unit at 3pm yesterday, and are expected to remain there for the rest of the day according to West Midlands Police.
Workers have been gathering outside since the morning, to collect cars and other belongings they had to leave behind when police arrived.
Local residents took to Twitter to express shock and fear at the continued targeting of mosques in the area, following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in May.
The soldier was stabbed to death near his Army barracks in Woolwich, south London.
A Twitter user under the name of Shez Khan said: ‘Dear me. Bomb planted INSIDE Wolverhampton Mosque! What has happened to people?!’
Another Twitter user called Salma said: ‘It’s so sad to see a mosque being under threat 😦 especially a mosque i spent my childhood in #WolverhamptonMosque’.
A person under the name of Amreet tweeted: ‘The first time I’ve heard Wolverhampton mentioned on the main news and it’s because someone has tried to bomb the Mosque, that’s so awful’.
Faizaan wrote: ‘ANOTHER device left outside a Mosque n (sic) Wolverhampton now! This is becoming ridiculous!!!!’
The two Ukranians are being questioned on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism following blasts near the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in the Caldmore area of Walsall last month and the Tipton mosque last Friday.
Residents were evacuated after the blast, near the Kanzul Iman Masjid in Tipton, left nails and debris scattered outside.
No-one was injured but some minor damage to property was reported. The bomb exploded just an hour after the funeral of Drummer Lee Rigby.
A small component part of the suspected nail bomb was found in a garden nearby and specialist Army disposal officers were called to the scene to carry out a controlled explosion.
The blast came after more than 100 residents were evacuated from their homes in the Caldmore area of Walsall last month after an explosion near the Aisha Mosque.
No-one was hurt in that blast, which caused minimal damage to a wall near the mosque in Rutter Street on the evening of June 21.
Although residents in the area heard a loud bang at the time of the explosion, the incident was not reported to the police until the following day when parts of the small home-made device were found by a worshipper at the mosque, sparking a major operation involving Army bomb disposal experts.
A 75-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the attack, but he was subsequently released without charge.
- Suspected bomb found near Wolverhampton mosque (guardian.co.uk)
- Wolverhampton mosque evacuated as bomb disposal teams move in (cbcburke9.wordpress.com)
- Third bomb found near Wolverhampton mosque (thetimes.co.uk)
- Men questioned amid Wolverhampton mosque explosive device inquiry (guardian.co.uk)
- Mosque evacuated amid bomb alert (standard.co.uk)
- Wolverhampton mosque evacuated as bomb disposal teams move in (telegraph.co.uk)
- Third explosion at mosque: Two Ukrainian men questioned by counter-terrorism officers (express.co.uk)
- Third bomb is found outside Midlands mosque as counter-terrorism officers question Ukrainian students, aged 25 and 22 (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Third bomb found outside Wolverhampton Central Mosque as Ukrainian students questioned (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Third bomb found outside Wolverhampton Central Mosque as Ukrainian students questioned (dailymail.co.uk)