Police say they are not treating the matter as a terrorist incident
The Metropolitan police have launched an investigation after a shot was fired outside a London mosque during prayers for Ramadan.
Police said that no one was injured, the shot came from a blank-firing handgun, and they were not treating the matter as a terrorist incident, reports The Guardian.
The single shot was fired outside a mosque in Ilford, east London, at 10:45pm local time.
Manhunt launched after gunman enters Seven Kings mosque in east London (during taraweeh prayers) and starts firing https://t.co/lweTa7A7jY— Hashashin (@HashashinTag) May 9, 2019
The man with the weapon entered the mosque on the High Road in Seven Kings, but was “ushered out” by those inside, according to police. A shot was then heard.
The incident comes after 51 people were killed in the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand; and nearly two years after a terrorist attacked worshippers close to the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, killing one person.
A worshipper at the mosque, Ibraheem Hussain, 19, described hearing the gunshot around half an hour after prayers began.
“There're three sections of the mosque and at taraweeh [evening prayers] during this time of Ramadan the mosque is packed out,” he told Press Association. “We were upstairs in the classrooms and about 30 minutes into the night prayer a large noise went off.
“I just continued my prayer, it sounded like a firework or maybe something heavy had been dropped, so no one really thought anything of it.
In a statement, Mufti Suhail, the imam of the Seven Kings mosque, said a man entered the building during prayers. “The suspect ran from the scene when stopped by brothers standing guard at the mosque,” the statement said.
Seven Kings mosque shooting: Worshipper 'feared it was terror attack'— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) May 10, 2019
EXCLUSIVE Abu Chowdhury heard people shout 'he's got a gun, he's got a gun' before a shot was fired at the Seven Kings mosque in Ilford, London pic.twitter.com/ihzlR48LHk
Armed officers were rushed to the scene and police are hunting for the suspect.
In a statement the Met said: “Police were called at 22:45hrs on Thursday, May 9 to reports that a man, believed to be in possession of a firearm, had entered a mosque on High Road in Seven Kings.
“The man was ushered outside of the building by those inside. A gunshot was then heard.
“Officers, including firearms officers, attended. There were no reported injuries or damage to the building. At this early stage, ballistic evidence recovered from the scene suggests that the weapon was a blank firing handgun.”
The statement said a “large police presence” remained at the scene.
“Officers will continue to work closely with representatives from the mosque and are providing reassurances to the local community.
“There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”
London shooting: Seven Kings mosque put on lockdown after gun attack https://t.co/98WJf2UXOq— khalid jamil kirmani (@KhalidKirmani) May 10, 2019
Muslim groups made efforts to boost security at mosques after the attack in Christchurch.