Item left outside UK mosque a 'hate crime'

2013-06-24 08:12
(Shaun Curry, AFP)

(Shaun Curry, AFP)

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London - British police on Sunday said they were treating as a hate crime the leaving of a "suspicious item" outside a mosque in central England which led to 150 people being evacuated from nearby houses.

Bomb disposal experts made the item safe after being called when a member of the public brought the object inside Aisha Mosque in Walsall on Saturday.

Keith Fraser, from the West Midlands force, said the force was investigating a "number of lines of inquiry", adding that "the incident is being treated as a hate crime although the motive for placing the item near to the mosque remains unclear".

Police were alerted at around 10.45 (2145GMT) on Saturday and ordered the evacuation of 40 nearby homes early on Sunday.

"This morning at 06:00, there was a bang on the door like they were breaking it down and the police were there waiting," explained local resident Linda Pepe.

"They told us to get ready as soon as possible and follow them to a bus and be taken to town hall and that's all we knew first thing this morning," she told the BBC.

Police are on high alert against reprisals for last month's slaying of a British soldier on a London street in a suspected Islamist attack.

Read more on:    religion  |  london soldier attack

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