'They pointed the gun at me and told me to drop my bag'

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A Somali woman has described the moment she and her 12-year-old son were held at gunpoint when armed police seized them near their London home.

The woman believes she was targeted after her estranged husband was arrested as part of the investigation into the failed suicide bombings on 21 July.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, was walking to prayers last Friday with her son and her 74-year-old mother when three undercover police officers surrounded them on Harrow Road and pointed a gun at the boy and at herself in turn.

"We were all walking together to the mosque when three officers with guns stopped us and pointed the gun at my son," she said. "They told my son to put his hands up and look at the wall. My mother ran to protect him and she was badly pushed.

"They then pointed the gun at me. It was really awful. They told me to drop my bag and said where is the key to my house? I think the detective said he had been watching us. We had to leave the house and stay in a hotel."

The mother believes the police confrontation was in connection with her estranged husband, a Somali asylum-seeker who came to Britain 13 years ago and lives in Tulse Hill, south London. She suspects he has been arrested in connection with the London bombings last week.

The woman was too frightened to return home for fear of attack. "I feel everyone will look at me and link me with terrorism. I feel people will see me and no longer regard me as innocent. I cannot go back home, I don't know where to go."

She and her husband were divorced in May. They came to Britain as asylum-seekers to escape the conflict in Somalia.