Counter-terror police investigate 'nail bomb' near Tipton mosque hours after Woolwich soldier Lee Rigby's funeral

No injuries have been reported but a cordon has been set up after nails and other debris discovered

A suspected nail bombing of a mosque in the West Midlands on the first Friday of Ramadan is being treated by police as a terrorist attack.

Nails and other debris were discovered after residents close to the Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare Association Central Jamia Mosque in Binfield Street, Tipton, reported hearing an explosion.

The bombing, on the day of Fusilier Lee Rigby's funeral in Bury, came less than three weeks after a home-made device exploded in an alley close to the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Walsall on June 22.

Several streets were closed off in Tipton yesterday and residents were evacuated while police scoured the area for evidence and to make sure there were no other devices.

Police responded to reports of "a loud explosion" and a spokesman for the West Midlands force said: "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."

Muslim leaders condemned the attack but said it must not be allowed to divide the community. Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said: "Today has been a difficult day for our country with the funeral of Fusilier Lee Rigby taking place in Bury and this attack against Muslims and our mosques.

"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."

He urged mosques to step up security during the month of Ramadan, which started on Wednesday, and insisted: "We will not be frightened by these terrorists from whatever background they come from, they will be defeated."

Syeda Amina Khatun, a Tipton Green councillor, said: "The explosion has gone off on the disused railway line behind the mosque. People are surprised that something like this has happened."

Tipton has previously been associated with three men, Ruhel Ahmed, Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal, who were dubbed the "Tipton Taleban" and the "Tipton Three" after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2002. They were released without charge from captivity in Guantanamo Bay in 2004.

Earlier in the day 800 people crowded into Bury Parish Church for the funeral of Fusilier Rigby, 25, who was killed close to Woolwich Barracks on May 22. Many more mourners stood outside the church in tribute to the soldier.

The soldier's two-year-old son Jack, clutching his mother Rebecca's hand and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "My Daddy My Hero", was among the family members in church to remember a "gentle soul" and "larger-than-life character". Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson were also at the service, while Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, was among the onlookers outside.

The soldiers' commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor, said in a eulogy: "Lee proved himself to be dedicated, professional and incredibly brave."

Leaders of the Kanz Ul Iman Masjid mosque said in a statement: "We express our deep shock and utter dismay regarding the incident that has occurred this afternoon. We jointly on behalf of the local community condemn this senseless and mindless act. It's a blessing from God that thankfully no one was injured in the blast.

"We call for calm and strongly urge the community not to let this incident divide us and cause disharmony. We stand united, stand together in the aftermath of this mindless act. We have worked hard to build good community relations and will not allow this incident to divide us or undermine cohesion in the borough."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most