LONDON: British police said on Friday they were investigating reports of a “loud bang” outside a mosque in a town in central England which a local politician said was a “suspected bomb blast.”
West Midlands police said they were alerted to the reports of the bang in Tipton near Birmingham shortly after 1 pm (1300 BST) No injuries were reported and it was not clear if there had been an explosion, a spokesman said.
“A cordon has been set up and the immediate area is being evacuated as a precautionary measure while police investigate what caused it,” police said in a statement.
“Some residents have reported finding debris in the area and finding nails. This is being investigated by forensic officers at the scene.”
Richard Burden, a Birmingham MP, wrote on his Twitter website: “Shocked to hear of suspected bomb blast at Tipton mosque.”
Community tensions have been tense since the murder of a British soldier in south London in May. Two suspects, both British Muslims, face a murder trial in November.
Since the killing, the English Defence League (EDL), a right-wing group which vociferously opposes Islamism, has taken to the streets at several protests where its supporters have chanted slogans such as “Muslim killers off our streets.”
A mosque was burned down in London after the killing but it was unclear who caused the fire, while politicians and religious leaders have appealed for calm.
Birmingham is home to a large Muslim population and last month a number of men from the city were jailed for plotting to attack an EDL rally using a homemade nail bomb.