Police were standing guard outside a mosque today after it was evacuated following revelations a bomb had been ‘activated’ three weeks ago.
Specialist officers and the bomb disposal unit rushed to Wolverhampton Central Mosque on Waterloo Road in the city at 8pm on Thursday.
Intelligence suggested an explosive device had been ‘activated’ at the mosque on June 28 but had either failed to go off or was timed to detonate at a later date – possibly to coincide with the end of Ramadan next month.
Terror cops investigating the bomb plot revealed they found evidence of an explosion – 200ft away on a ROUNDABOUT.
Police and army bomb disposal experts searching the area around Wolverhampton Central Mosque made the discovery late on Thursday night.
The debris from the blast was found on Fiveways roundabout, just a 50 second walk from the mosque.
Police believe the explosion on the traffic island occurred three weeks ago on June 28.
Nothing was found at the mosque itself which was re-opened for Friday Prayers.
The searches came following the arrests of two university students in Small Heath, Birmingham, on Thursday afternoon.
The pair, who are engineering students from Ukraine in Eastern Europe, are suspected of being involved in explosions near mosques in Walsall and Tipton.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who is leading the investigation for West Midlands Police, said: “Officers searching the area have found the seat of an explosion and debris on the island near the mosque.
“The investigation is being led by specialist officers and staff from our Counter Terrorism Unit who are being supported by a range of departments from across the force.
“We recognise the impact news of the latest find will have on the communities of Wolverhampton and further afield.
“We’re working hard to complete our enquiries so that the area can be returned to normality.
“We are keen to hear from people who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously on or near to the roundabout on the night of the 27 or the morning of 28 June.
“Whether people feel the information is important or not, I would urge them to contact us so that we can assess that information.”
Following the tip-off on Thursday, the mosque was evacuated along with nearby businesses and homes.
Surrounding roads were closed and a 60m exclusion zone set-up around the mosque as bomb disposal teams searched the site for signs of the device.
This morning, officers were guarding the mosque as the security level was scaled down.
West Midlands Police tweeted: “Officers remain at Wolverhampton central mosque this morning.
“Roads are open but there are some lane restrictions. Thanks for your patience.”
The force were unable to confirm what the device was or if anything had been found.
Officers received the information about the device in Wolverhampton as a result of investigations about two separate attacks on other mosques in the West Midlands.
Terror cops arrested two Eastern European men on Thursday afternoon in connection with blasts at a mosque in Walsall on June 22 and near a mosque in Tipton on July 12.
The duo, aged 25 and 22, are being questioned on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
Residents were evacuated when a suspected nail bomb exploded outside the Kanz-ul-Iman Central Jamia Mosque in Tipton on Friday, July 12.
No-one was injured but some minor damage to property was reported after the bomb exploded just one hour after the funeral of murdered Drummer Lee Rigby.
A small component of the bomb was found in a garden nearby and specialist Army disposal officers were called to the scene to carry out a controlled explosion.
The blast came after more than 100 residents were evacuated from their homes in the Caldmore area of Walsall after an explosion near the Aisha Mosque.
No-one was hurt in that blast, which caused minimal damage to a wall near the mosque on the evening of June 21.
Although residents in the area heard a loud bang at the time of the explosion, the incident was not reported to the police until the following day when parts of the small home-made device were found by a worshipper at the mosque.
The discovered sparked a major operation involving Army bomb disposal experts.
A 75-year-old man arrested in connection with the attack was subsequently released without charge.