Terror cops have arrested a 75-year-old pensioner in connection with planting a home-made BOMB which exploded outside a mosque.
The elderly man was detained by counter terrorism officers from West Midlands Police on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or damage property.
Police were called to reports of a suspicious item at the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Walsall, West Mids., last Saturday.
Army personnel ordered the evacuation of 150 people from almost 40 homes in the vicinity of the place of worship after bomb disposal experts were called to the scene.
Despite the device EXPLODING outside the perimeter building on Friday night witnesses did not realise the significance of the “loud bang” and failed to report the incident.
The following morning a member of the public found the device in the mosque grounds before taking it inside the building.
Nobody was injured in the attack and the DIY explosive caused minimal damage.
Detectives are treating the incident as a hate crime and were continuing to question the man as well as searching his home address in Walsall.
A police spokesman said: “The arrest comes as part of a major investigation by specialist detectives and experts from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.
“He has been taken to a police station in the West Midlands where he is being questioned by detectives.
“His home address is being searched as part of the investigation.
“Witnesses say that the device exploded outside the perimeter building on Friday night but not realising the significance of the “loud bang”, they did not report the matter to police.
“It was only when a well-meaning member of the public recovered the debris and brought it inside the mosque the following day that were police contacted.
“A significant investigation was immediately launched.”
Speaking at the time of the attack Zia Ul-Haq, a committee member and spokesman for the mosque, said: “It (the bomb) was found by one of our worshippers who after midday prayer was going home, and he had a look and it looked suspicious, so he picked it up and took it home.
“He showed it his wife and his wife said, ‘Well, it looks like something suspicious so you should take it to the mosque’.
“So he brought it to the mosque but unfortunately there was nobody responsible in the mosque so he took it back home.
“Then he brought it back in the evening and then our imam had a look at it, and he took it home because nobody thought it was that serious.
“I said it looks suspicious and we decided to call the police. As soon as the police came they said we should not have handled it.”
The incident comes after a number of recent events at mosques following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London.
Two men were charged in relation to an alleged arson at a mosque in Gloucester, and an Islamic cultural centre in Grimsby was hit by petrol bombs last month.
Earlier this week a mosque in Redditch, Worcs., was targetted by racist thugs who scrawled racist graffiti on the walls and windows.