Counter-terror police launch probe after Muslim man is set on fire while walking back from mosque
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Counter-terror police are investigating a suspected terror attack in Birmingham after a Muslim man was set on fire less than a month after a fellow elderly mosque goer was set on fire in London – with authorities now examining if the two are linked.
The victim was walking home from a mosque when he was set alight by a suspect in Edgbaston at around 7pm last night.
West Midlands Police today said that a man has since been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after being identified by officers who were in the area carrying out inquiries following the attack. Counter-terrorism officers are also investigating the incident.
The arrest comes after video shared on social media showed a man being set alight, apparently down Shenstone Road.
Detectives are also looking into whether a similar attack in west London, where an 82-year-old man was set on fire outside a mosque, is linked.
Speaking at a community centre on Winson Green Road, Birmingham, Chief Superintendent Richard North said: ‘We are aware of the incident that happened in London.
‘We are actively working with the Metropolitan Police to see of those two incidents are connected.
‘That’s a major part of our inquiry.
Video shared on social media appears to show a man being set alight by another man, apparently in Edgbaston, Birmingham last night
Video shows the apparent victim talking to a man. It then shows him being set alight
‘I have had meetings today with colleagues from the Metropolitan Police and they are engaged in the inquiry. We are working very much closely together.’
The Metropolitan Police previously said the west London victim was set alight as he left the West London Islamic Centre on Singapore Road in Ealing at around 8pm on February 27.
He then doused the victim in a liquid and set him alight before strolling away from the scene, investigators said.
The victim was rushed to hospital where he received treatment for severe burns to his arms and face.
The West Midlands force said counter-terrorism officers were supporting the investigation into the Edgbaston incident.
Speaking to the media after a man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on nearby Dudley Road, Chief Superintendent Richard North said the victim who was set alight remained in a stable condition after the ‘terrible’ incident.
The senior officer said: ‘This is a really serious incident, as I have said, and we are using all the resources that are available to us at this time, and that does include the Counter-Terrorism Unit.
‘They are assisting us in our inquiries. What I would say to the community is that reflects how seriously we are taking it.
‘We don’t understand what motivated the attack at the moment. That might become apparent as me move through those inquiries.
‘That’s what the Counter-Terrorism Unit are doing at the moment – they are assisting West Midlands Police to make sure that we move this investigation forward as effectively and efficiently as we can.’
The Metropolitan Police released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the Ealing attack
West Midlands Police are increasing foot patrols on Brixham Road and Shenstone Road
Officers were pictured standing watch outside a mosque on Dudley Road
Further enquiries into the distressing incident are now being carried out by counter-terrorism units
Shocked locals have described the victim as a ‘lovely, genuine, honest man’
Following the attack, the victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries that are not thought to be life threatening.
Officers are aware of a video posted on social media ‘showing a man being set alight, and we’re examining it as part of our investigations’, the statement added.
Supt James Spencer said: ‘Our officers have been working through the night to establish what happened and who is responsible.
‘We’re examining CCTV and speaking to witnesses and are determined to find out who is responsible. I’ve been speaking to people this morning, and so I know just how concerned they are and that people are after answers.
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch with West Midlands Police via Live Chat on the force website, or to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Residents living on Shenstone Road, near where the fire attack happened, have expressed their shock.
One local, who only gave his name as Ibraheem, captured the attack on his home’s CCTV.
He said: ‘Everyone is shocked by what happened.
‘This is a close knit area where people know each other. My dad knows of the victim and he is a lovely, genuine, honest man.’