UK: Man charged over 2 fire attacks on people near mosques

March 23, 2023 GMT

LONDON (AP) — British police have charged a 28-year-old man with two counts of attempted murder after men were set on fire near mosques.

The West Midlands Police force said Mohammed Abbkr was charged over attacks in London and Birmingham, central England.

Abbkr, a resident of Birmingham who is originally from Sudan, appeared in court in the city on Thursday. He wasn’t asked to enter a plea and was ordered detained until his next hearing on April 20.

Abbkr is alleged to have sprayed a substance on two men and set it alight in separate incidents — one near an Islamic center in the Ealing area of west London on Feb. 27 and another near a mosque in Birmingham on Monday.

The Birmingham victim, 70-year-old Mohammed Rayaz, remains in a hospital with severe injuries. Hashi Odowa, 82, who was attacked in Ealing, suffered severe burns to his face and arms.

Counterterrorism officers supported the investigations, but police said officers were “keeping an open mind as to any potential motivation.”