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Man charged with attempted murder after two fire attacks near mosques in England

<i>Richard Vernalls/AP</i><br/>A man was charged for an attack in west London and another in Edgbaston
Richard Vernalls/AP
A man was charged for an attack in west London and another in Edgbaston

By Alex Hardie, CNN

A man has been charged with attempting to murder two elderly men who were set on fire after they had left mosques in the English cities of London and Birmingham.

Mohammed Abbkr, 28, is alleged to have sprayed a substance on the men before setting it alight in separate incidents in Ealing, west London, on February 27, and in Birmingham on Monday, West Midlands Police said.

Abbkr, from Edgbaston in Birmingham, central England, appeared in court on Thursday morning, West Midlands police said in a statement. He gave no indication of a plea to either charge, PA Media reported, and he was remanded in custody.

The man who was attacked in Birmingham on Monday was taken to hospital with serious injuries, which are not thought to be life-threatening.

“It’s believed the man, who was walking home from Dudley Road mosque, was approached by a man who spoke to him briefly before spraying him with an unknown substance and then his jacket was set alight, causing burns to his face,” West Midlands police said.

Locals in the area are being asked by police to hand over CCTV, doorbell footage or other video that could help the investigation.

Last month, an 82-year-old man suffered severe burns to his face and arms after he was attacked near an Islamic center in Ealing.

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CNN’s Duarte Mendonca contributed reporting.

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