LONDON - A suspected nail bomb explosion near a mosque in Britain is being treated as a “terrorist incident,” police said Friday, highlighting tensions in the wake of the slaying of a soldier.
There were no reports of injuries following the blast in Tipton, near Birmingham, England.
The explosion came on the same day as a high-profile funeral for British serviceman Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death on a street London in broad daylight.
Rigby’s May 22 killing shocked the country, and has been followed by a series of apparent attacks on mosques or places of Islamic worship.
In June, a fire at a London community center was linked to anti-Muslim protesters.
“An investigation is being led by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and it is being treated as a terrorist incident,” the West Midlands Police said on its website Friday.
“Some residents have reported finding debris in the area and finding nails. This is being investigated by forensic officers at the scene.''
Hours earlier, over a thousand well-wishers including Prime Minister David Cameron gathered at a military funeral on Friday for Rigby, who was 25.
Rigby's son Jack, 2, wore a T-shirt bearing the words "My daddy, my hero" on the back.
"People were shocked at what happened on the streets of Britain," said Dennis McCormick, a 65-year-old veteran from the parachute regiment who had traveled from Glasgow in Scotland to be one of the first to arrive at the church near Manchester.
"It's horrendous, I couldn't believe it at the time. It's sad that it's got to come to that," he said, dressed in a green and black tartan uniform, with a red poppy on his lapel, a sign of respect to fallen soldiers.
Two men will stand trial over Rigby’s death in November.
First published July 12 2013, 9:02 AM