Seven Kings Mosque shooting: Gunman fires during Ramadan prayers in East London

Armed police officers were scrambled to east London late on Thursday after a "masked" gunman entered the building during Ramadan prayer before discharging a handgun outside.Worshippers at the Seven Kings Mosque in Ilford were part-way through evening prayers when the sound of a gunshot rang out. A man, said to have had his face covered, was reported to have entered the mosque on High Road, but was made to leave before firing the gun.Scotland Yard said early investigations suggested that a "blank firing handgun" had been discharged.


Detectives said the incident in the mosque may have "stemmed" from an earlier incident in a nearby street.A worshipper who was at the mosque tweeted that he heard the shot being fired but “thought it was a firework or something”.No injuries or damage were caused during the incident, which is not being treated as terrorism-related, the force added.


The worshipper told the Press Association: "There's three sections of the mosque and at taraweeh (evening prayers) during this time of Ramadan the mosque is packed out. 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. After we finished we were leaving the shoe area and someone said it was a gunshot, someone had come into the mosque and he had a firearm on him.The managers had seen him, he was masked and acting suspicious and the firearm was let off."


The incident comes amid heightened concerns over security at places of worship around the world following recent attacks in New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the US. Mr Hussain, an apprentice data analyst at one of the Big Four city firms, said the incident left him concerned over the safety of worshippers during Ramadan."The main thing that was in my mind was that (due to the layout of the mosque) it could have gone very wrong," he said."(Christchurch) comes to mind, it's crazy to think this would happen in London, especially after everything that has happened. Another thing that is quite worrying is that the guy was on foot, so he could be in the surrounding area still."A lot of people - loads and loads of Muslims - were in that area in traditional garments so they could be targets, although we don't know what the aim was."


A diverse range of male worshippers use the mosque, including men of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and North African heritage, he said.Following the incident the mosque's imam urged people not to speculate over the gunman's motives."There was a firearm incident outside Seven Kings Mosque tonight during Ramadan night prayers," Mufti Suhail said.

"The suspect ran from the scene when stopped by brothers standing guard at the mosque.A shot was fired which fortunately did not hit anyone."

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