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Birmingham mosques attacked with catapults during evening prayers

The mosques were hit with large metal balls fired from heavy duty catapults, breaking several windows.

Birmingham police

Muslim groups in the UK have condemned catapult attacks on two mosques in the city of Birmingham, which smashed several windows during evening prayers.

The Masjid Qamarul Islam mosque and the nearby Al-Hijrah mosque were hit with large ball bearings fired from a heavy-duty catapult on Wednesday.

Armed police officers were "deployed as a precaution", local police said on Twitter.

On Thursday, police said they had opened an investigation into the attacks, which are being treated as hate crimes, adding that extra officers would be deployed in the area.

"Whilst we don't fully know the motives yet, these ball bearings are the size of marbles - [and have the] potential to kill," said the Birmingham-based Bahu Trust, which runs several British mosques.

Hate crime monitor Tell MAMA UK said it "strongly condemns the catapult attacks" on the mosques.

The attacks came after a 29-year-old man from Birmingham was arrested on suspicion of terrorism after crashing his car into security barriers at the British parliament in London on Tuesday.

Naveed Sadiq, who prays at Al-Hijrah mosque, told Sky News broadcaster he felt the attacks were probably "connected" to what happened in London.

Last month, Tell MAMA said that there appeared to be a pattern of a spike in Islamophobic incidents following attacks in Britain and abroad.

Thr group said there was a rise of 700 percent in anti-Muslim incidents in public in the week following an attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017, when 22 people died and hundreds were injured after a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.

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