Man cautioned after mosque bomb scare

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The Al-Rahma mosque on the corner of Mulgrave Street and Hatherley Street, Toxteth © Liverpool Muslim Society

The Al-Rahma mosque on the corner of Mulgrave Street and Hatherley Street, Toxteth © Liverpool Muslim Society

Police arrested and cautioned a man after a suspect package was left at a mosque in Toxteth on Sunday night, which sparked a potential bomb alert as precautionary controlled explosions were carried out by security services.

A 22-year-old Somalian man, who was earlier reported by police as being from Denmark, has been spoken to about the incident and cautioned. He was released from custody and no further police action will be taken regarding the matter.

Officers were called to the Al Rahma mosque in Mulgrave Street at around 9pm on Sunday and arrived to find a suitcase in the road.

The Army’s Explosive Ordnance Department (EOD) was then drafted in and conducted two controlled explosions on the package at around 11:30pm.

People were evacuated from their homes near the mosque building and Mulgrave Street was cordoned off during the incident, as the EOD used their bomb disposal robot to carry out the explosions around ten minutes apart.

Toxteth residents were allowed to return to their homes and the road closure was lifted a short time after the EOD had completed their work.

Although Merseyside Police has said no explosives were recovered from the scene, tests were conducted to discover the contents of the suitcase. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the suitcase may simply have contained clothes.

CCTV is said to show the man was in the Al Rahma mosque for around 15 minutes before he departed, without the package.

Army and police at the scene of the bomb scare in Mulgrave Street © Lorna Hughes (Liverpool Echo) on Twitter

Army and police at the scene of the bomb scare in Mulgrave Street © Lorna Hughes (Liverpool Echo) on Twitter

Mosque administrator Mohamed Mansur told JMU Journalism that the man who left the case was black and claimed that he was from Brazil, but said that the bomb scare may well have been a genuine mistake.

He said: “The way that he left the suitcase under the table and the way that he left made people think it was a bomb or something, because that’s a problem that is happening right now. Local people from the mosque took it outside.”

Mr Mansur also described how the Al Rahma has been receiving regular malicious phone calls ever since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on 22nd May.

He told JMU Journalism: “We’re getting these calls every day, from people threatening the mosque or insulting people. The only way to handle it is to say ‘OK’ and hang up. People are just insulting all Muslims and calling names so we just put the phone down.”

The Liverpool Muslim Society issued a strongly worded statement condemning the “barbaric and inhuman act” following the killing of soldier Lee Rigby.

Three days after he was murdered, a controlled explosion was carried out  by the bomb squad on a suspicious package left outside the Territorial Army barracks in Aigburth Road, South Liverpool.

The Liverpool Echo reported that the package had: “WAR OVER IF U WANT IT” written on one side, using cut-out lettering alongside a picture of an explosion.

Police later described the incident as “an elaborate hoax”.

About Sam McDonnell, JMU Journalism