POLICE are investigating reports that a leading imam in a Leeds mosque where the July 7 bombers worshipped has hailed their attack on London as a `good' act.
West Yorkshire Police are examining reports that Hamid Ali, a spiritual leader of the Al-Madina Masjid mosque in Beeston, said the attacks forced people to take notice after peaceful meetings and conferences had failed.
The force said it was trying to establish whether or not any offence had been committed.
But it added that the incident had not been formally reported to police.
The report in The Sunday Times followed a six-month investigation by its journalists.
A force spokeswoman said: "West Yorkshire Police can confirm that it is aware of an article in The Sunday Times regarding comments made to an undercover journalist at a mosque in Tunstall Road in Beeston.
"While this matter has not been formally reported to police, we are currently in the process of making contact with the paper to request any further details they may have in relation to it.
"Once we have access to any material they may have collected, steps will be taken to establish whether or not any offence has been committed.
"No further details are available on this matter at present."
Three of the four suicide bombers responsible for the attacks on London which killed 52 people - Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, of Thornhill Lees, Shehzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain - grew up in the Beeston area.
The fourth bomber, Jermaine Lindsay, grew up in Huddersfield.
An undercover reporter of Bangladeshi origin, posing as a student, lived among the Muslim community in Beeston following the attacks, The Sunday Times reported.
The report said that in a secretly taped conversation, Ali said: "What they (the bombers) did was good. They have warned that we are here, we Muslims.
"People have taken notice that we are here. They died so that people would take notice."
Ali also praised the bombers as the `children' of Abdullah al-Faisal, a firebrand Muslim cleric who was convicted of inciting murder and racial hatred in 2003, the report said.
But Ali denied praising the bombers and said he did not know what their intention was, the newspaper said.
Neither the mosque nor the cleric made any comment today.