Four men, including a police officer, have been stabbed at a mosque in Birmingham, UK. Police have taken a 32-year-old man into custody in connection with the attacks that left four victims in hospital.
Officers arrived at the scene responding to reports of the first three attacks at 11pm local time (22:00 GMT). One of the officers subsequently sustained stab injuries while apprehending the suspect.
When police arrived on the scene, the suspect was found in a side room with what was described as a“sizable knife.” When challenged, he charged one of the two police officers.
The officer who suffered injuries in the assault fired a taser at the assailant to no effect. Despite sustaining serious injuries, the 31-year-old officer helped detained the attacker with the aid of a female officer.
Police quickly cordoned off the area around the mosque in the Ward End neighborhood in the East of Birmingham.
Among the victims were a 28-year-old man who had suffered multiple stab wounds and a 36-year-old man who was stabbed once in the thigh. The third victim suffered a hand injury and is now recovering at home. The wounded officer sustained stab wounds to his stomach and chest, and was undergoing surgery on Sunday.
“The work of those officers was heroic and the work of the some of the people in the mosque assisting those officers was also heroic,” the Guardian cites Chief Superintendent Alex Murray as saying.
The suspect, a 32-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, was transferred to a secure mental health facility on Sunday after it was determined he was unfit to be interviewed by police.
Police said the suspect was believed to be of Somali descent and had not previously visited the mosque. The incident transpired during the final prayer session of the evening.
Murray said the motivation for Saturday’s attack remained unknown, though there was currently no evidence it was a hate crime or connected to any other incidents.
Officers were dispatched to the neighborhood around the mosque in an attempt to “reassure local people.”
UK Muslim group the Ramadhan Foundation has already responded to the attacks, expressing “deep concern” for the victims and their families.
“It is too early to speculate on the circumstances of the stabbings, but we must be clear there should be no place for this sort of violence in our country,” said a spokesman for the group, adding that “there will obviously be people who will try to take advantage of this tragedy but we must not allow them to succeed.”
The news comes less than a month after the fatal Woolwich stabbing of UK soldier Lee Rigby, 25, in South-East London, allegedly by Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22. The murderers were motivated by anti-Western sentiments and claimed the attack to be revenge for the plight of Muslims across the world.