Wolverhampton Central Mosque terror attack: Ukrainian students questioned over bombs

Officers searched the headquarters of the software firm where the two men were on placements

Crime Correspondent

Two Ukrainian engineering students aged 22 and 25 respectively on work placements at a hi-tech computer company were being questioned yesterday after police revealed they had uncovered evidence of a third bombing close to a mosque in the West Midlands.

Police said they found a blast site on a roundabout near Wolverhampton Central Mosque late on Thursday, after a raid on an industrial unit in Birmingham. The blast was the third in three weeks in the area.

The men were being questioned on suspicion of involvement in an act of terrorism after explosions near mosques in Walsall and Tipton dating back to June 21, in which nobody was hurt. Officers discovered debris from the third explosion on a roundabout in Wolverhampton following “intelligence”.

The blast in Wolverhampton was believed to date back to June 28 when officers were sent to the scene following reports of an explosion but nothing was found. Nothing was found inside the mosque itself which was searched by police after the arrests and has since reopened for worship.

Anti-terrorist officers yesterday searched the headquarters of software company Delcam where the two men were on work placements. Chief executive Clive Martell, who was at the factory yesterday, said one of the men, both engineering students in eastern Europe, had been at the company for four months, the other for two.

“The two men were on work placements with us, but were not employees of the business,” he said. “They were around halfway through the course and we understand that they met each other whilst on the placement.”

The company works on cutting edge computer software used in the manufacture of yachts, specialist trainers for athletes, and planes, according to the company’s website, which has subsidiaries in Europe, the United States and Asia.

The company has established links with a series of universities in Ukraine and accepts students from across Europe for work placements at its headquarters. Police yesterday declined to say if they were investigating a wider link to extremist groups in eastern Europe. Amnesty International warned in 2008 about a rise in violent attacks against members of ethnic minorities in Ukraine.

British fans were also warned about the possibility of attacks during the 2012 European football championships co-hosted by Ukraine after racist hate signs were displayed at grounds before the tournament started but there were no serious outbreaks of violence.

The two men were arrested shortly after police released CCTV footage of people they wanted to speak to in connection with the attacks. One of the men was arrested near the Delcam site and another inside, said police.

West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who is leading the investigation, said that the two men had been staying in Birmingham. He said officers were regarding the incident as part of a wider terrorist investigation into explosions at two other mosques in recent weeks but added: "I have no information to suggest that there are further threats to mosques in our region."

Iftikhar Ahmed, of Wolverhampton Central Mosque, which reopened for prayers today, said there were anxieties in the area. "There are concerns in the community but we have faith in the police and intelligence services that the incidents are being dealt with.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness