A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with two incidents linked to mosques in Birmingham and west London in which men were set on fire.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that an incident in Ealing on 27 February has been linked to a second in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Monday.
In the Ealing incident, the suspect is alleged to have engaged the 82-year-old victim in conversation as they both left West London Islamic Centre.
They had been speaking for around five minutes when the suspect allegedly doused the victim in a liquid, believed to be petrol, before setting him alight using a lighter. The suspect then walked away. The victim was taken to hospital and received treatment for severe burns to his face and arms.
In the Edgbaston incident, Mohammed Rayaz, 70, was set alight in Shenstone Road as he walked home from Dudley Road mosque. The retired factory worker remains in hospital with severe and life-changing injuries.
Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said: “We completely understand the shock that resonated throughout the community following this incident.
“Despite a man having been arrested, we continue to be vigilant and urge local people to do the same. Highly visible patrols around Singapore Road will continue in the coming days to provide reassurance to local people and I urge anyone who is concerned to approach officers.”
Detectives from the Met are working closely with West Midlands Police, which is leading the investigation, to establish the full circumstances.
Counter-terror police are supporting the investigations, but officers “are keeping an open mind as to any potential motive at this stage,” the police said.
West Midlands Police appealed for “any CCTV, Ring doorbell footage or video footage that could help our investigation”.