Minister backs police in bomb probe

Police are continuing with their investigation into the Tipton nail bomb.

Police are still investigating Friday’s nail bomb attack in Tipton as a government minister backed their handling of the suspected terrorist explosion and stressed that the incident must not be allowed to harm relations within the community.

James Brokenshire MP

James Brokenshire MP

Speaking as West Midlands Police counter terrorism officers continue their fingertip search for clues at the scene, Security Minister James Brokenshire said the force had the Home Office’s full support as its investigation into Friday’s blast progresses.  He said: “Violence like this has no place in our society; this appalling attack could have caused serious injury to many innocent people. West Midlands Police are treating this as a terrorist incident and they have our full support.”

The minister concluded that “What happened in Tipton cannot be allowed to harm community relations. It’s important that the police continue to receive all necessary support to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”

Detailed searches are ongoing in Binfield Street and the surrounding area following the explosion behind Kanzul Iman Masjid mosque just after 1pm on Friday 12th July. It is understood the blast centred on an embankment near a disused rail line running behind the mosque. No-one was injured but minor damage to property was reported.

A controlled explosion was carried out the following day after a potential small component part of the device was discovered in the garden of one of several nearby homes that had been evacuated as a precaution. For safety reasons the item couldn’t be removed so specialist army bomb disposal officers dealt with the component at the scene.

West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale spoke of the response from local people and praised their “support and understanding.” ACC Beale stressed the importance of apprehending the culprit, saying “The explosion could have resulted in really horrible injuries. I would appeal to people, if you have the smallest piece of information that may help us find the perpetrators, please contact us. We will treat you with sensitivity and you may help take a very dangerous individual off the streets.”

Local neighbourhood officers will be visiting local mosques and other places of worship across the region to offer reassurance in wake of the explosion. Speaking to the local community, Imam Ghulam Rasool from the Kanzul Imam Masjid mosque, said: “This senseless act tried to divide us but we respond united and more determined to come out stronger in condemnation of extremism and in maintaining and further strengthening existing good community relations in the borough.

“For those who wish to divide us we have this message: we are one borough, one community that remains united in defiance of extremism wherever it may come from. We are united in support of strong community and interfaith relations and in our belief that this is a country that values freedom of speech, expression and religious co-existence. Acts such as these will only strengthen our resolve.”

Imam Rasool also called for local people to “go about our lives not intimidated by fear or violence” and said the community will “never succumb to senseless acts or initiatives designed to spread fear, messages of hate and division.”

Anyone with information particularly anyone who saw people acting suspiciously around the disused rail line behind Kanzul Iman Masjid on Friday morning or the days leading up to the explosion is urged to call police on 101.