Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Terror suspect held in murder probe

The 'seat of an explosion and debris' were found on a roundabout near the Wolverhampton Central Mosque
A bomb disposal van at an industrial unit which is the headquarters of software company Delcam in Small Heath, Birmingham
Police activity at an industrial unit which is the headquarters of software company Delcam in Small Heath, Birmingham

One of two Ukrainian men being held over bomb attacks near three mosques has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a 82-year-old Asian man.

West Midlands Police said the terror suspect, aged 25, was arrested at 5.05pm on Saturday in relation to "a further act of terrorism". A police spokesman said: "This arrest is in connection with the murder of Mohammed Saleem in Small Heath, Birmingham, on Monday April 29."

Mr Saleem died after being stabbed in the back in Green Lane, Small Heath, as he made his way home from a mosque.

Two Ukrainian nationals, aged 25 and 22, were detained by West Midlands Police in Small Heath on Thursday by detectives investigating explosions at mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton between June 22 and July 12.

The family of Mr Saleem have been informed of the latest development in the inquiry, the police spokesman added.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who is leading the investigation, said in a short statement: "The murder of Mohammed Saleem now forms part of the wider West Midlands counter-terrorism unit investigation."

The stabbing of Mr Saleem, a highly-regarded and well-known figure in the local community, was described by detectives at the time as a "despicable" attack on a defenceless pensioner. A joint family statement read during a press conference at West Midlands Police headquarters on May 2 described Mr Saleem as "a much-loved and respected community member". The statement read: "We can't express our feelings of sadness and devastation. It's hard to accept that our beloved father and grandfather has been taken from us in such a brutal way."

Earlier, counter-terrorism officers were granted extra time to question the Ukrainian nationals in connection with the explosions. A sitting of Westminster Magistrates' Court granted officers up to seven days to question the men, who were initially detained on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

Following the men's arrest the "seat of an explosion and debris" were found on a roundabout near the Wolverhampton Central Mosque. Police believe the debris came from a device that exploded on the city's Fiveways roundabout at about 9.15am on June 28.

The remnants of a home-made explosive device were found outside a mosque in Walsall on Saturday June 22, and another device, containing nails, exploded near a mosque in Binfield Road, Tipton, on July 12. No one was injured by any of the explosions.

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