Men set alight leaving Ealing and Birmingham mosques - police investigating whether attacks linked
Police are investigating whether two incidents in which men were set alight while leaving mosques are linked.
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Police investigating two incidents in which men were set alight while leaving mosques are looking into whether the attacks are linked.
The victim was leaving West London Islamic Centre and suffered severe burns to his face and arms.
Yesterday, West Midlands Police made an arrest after a man was set alight in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The forces are working together to see whether the incidents are linked.
A man has been arrested after a man was set alight on Shenstone Road in Edgbaston, at just after 7pm yesterday (Monday).
The victim was walking home from Dudley Road Mosque when he was approached by a man who spoke to him briefly before spraying him with an unknown substance and setting his jacket alight, causing burns to his face.
He was taken to hospital with serious injuries, which are not believed to be life threatening.
On Tuesday afternoon (March 21), a man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Dudley Road, he was identified by officers who were in the area carrying out inquiries following last night’s attack. He remains in custody.
West Midlands Police
Chief Supt Richard North, commander at Birmingham police, said: “Our officers have been working through the night to establish what happened and who is responsible.
“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are using all resources available to us. We are keeping an open mind to the motive of the attacker and we won’t speculate further at this stage.
“We’re examining CCTV and speaking to witnesses. I’ve been speaking to people this morning, and so I know just how concerned they are and that people are after answers.
“We are determined to get those answers as soon as possible, and I’d urge the community to work with us and to avoid any speculation at this stage.”
Extra officers will be in the area today to speak to the community and to provide reassurance.
Chief Supt Richard North continued: “Our investigation continues with support from Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU who have access to specialist capabilities to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.
“We have officers patrolling the local area to reassure people and we are visiting local faith establishments to keep them informed.”
He called for the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.
A spokesperson added: “We are aware of a similar incident in the Ealing area of London and we are working with the Metropolitan Police Service to see whether they are linked.”
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch on 101 or alternatively, get in touch via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Ealing attack and Met Police appeal
Earlier this month, Met Police detectives released an image of a man they want to speak to after an 82-year-old was set alight on Singapore Road, Ealing, on Monday, February 27.
The attack occurred at about 8pm as the suspect engaged the victim in conversation as they both left the West London Islamic Centre, say police.
They spoke for about five minutes before the suspect doused the victim in a liquid, believed to be petrol, before setting him alight using a lighter. He then walked away, said detectives.
The victim suffered severe burns to his face and arms.
It is understood that at present the Met Police is not treating the incident as terror related and that it is not yet confirmed whether they are linked.
Detective Sergeant Steven Constable said on March 10: “I know this will be an incredibly shocking incident for the community and we are carrying out a full investigation into what happened.
“Understandably, there is a great deal of local concern in the wake of this incident and local officers have been carrying out reassurance patrols daily at the mosque.”
He added: “We are continuing to work alongside the West London Islamic Centre who have been very supportive of our investigation and have been assisting us with our enquiries.
“A key part of that is identifying the man in the image we have released. If you recognise this man I would urge you to get in touch, either directly with police or to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers.
“I would also urge anyone who witnessed this incident and has not yet spoken to police to please get in touch.”
If you recognise the man in the image or have any other information that could help the investigation, you can call police on 101 and give reference 6422/27FEB.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.