Walsall Mosque: Package Was Explosive Device
A suspicious package found near a mosque in Walsall was a small home-made explosive device, West Midlands Police said tonight.
Almost 40 homes close to the mosque in Rutter Street, Walsall, were evacuated after bomb disposal experts were called to the scene.
The area remains condoned off, but 150 people who were moved from the vicinity are now being allowed back in their homes.
West Midlands Police said they were alerted after the item was found last night by a member of the public.
Superintendent Keith Fraser, the head of crime and operations for Walsall Police, said the incident is being treated as a hate crime but the motive for placing the item near a mosque remains unclear.
The mosque is known for its open policy, welcoming people from other religions. A spokesman said there have never been any problems at the venue.
Abdul Shahid, who lives locally, said: “Something happened here on Friday night. I think there was some wires and some batteries. The Iman took that thing straight to the police.
“I have been told by neighbours of the mosque that they heard a blast on the night of Friday evening.”
Plenty of help was on hand for those affected by the evacuation.
Local councillor Zahid Ali said: “We have put in comprehensive support for them, including food and whatever other support they require.
“It is absolutely wonderful to see that the communities have come together, supporting the residents and most of those residents are back in their homes.”
Zia Ul Haq, from the Aisha Mosque thanked the police and local authority for their help.
“We found this suspicious item which we didn’t consider to be very serious or very threatening. but as a precaution we thought that we would call the police and bring this to their attention,” he said.
“They have taken this very seriously and they have supported us wholeheartedly.”
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