Wednesday 12/8/21
TERRORISM

British police name terrorist suspect in Liverpool car explosion

The UK terror threat level has been raised to severe, meaning a future attack is highly likely

14 November 2021, United Kingdom, Liverpool: Armed police evacuate local residents during an incident an address in Rutland Avenue in Sefton Park, after an explosion at Liverpool Women's Hospital killed one person and injured another. Three men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/dpa.
Armed police evacuate local residents after an explosion at Liverpool Women's Hospital killed one person and injured another. Photo: Peter Byrne/dpa.

A suspected terrorist who blew himself up outside Liverpool Women's Hospital at the weekend has been named as 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen.

Counter Terrorism Police North West said they "strongly believe" Al Swealmeen was the passenger who died when a taxi exploded shortly before 11 am on Sunday.

They previously said he was picked up in the Rutland Avenue area of the city and asked to be taken to the hospital.

As the car reached the hospital's passenger drop-off point, it exploded.

Searches are under way at the Rutland Avenue address and a second address in Sutcliffe Street, which officers have said Al Swealmeen previously lived at.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks said: "Our enquiries are very much ongoing but at this stage we strongly believe that the deceased is 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen.

"We continue to appeal for any information about this incident and now that we have released his name any information that the public may have about Al Swealmeen no matter how small may be of great assistance to us."

Detectives have declared it a terrorist attack but said the motive was unclear.

The UK terror threat level has been raised to severe, meaning a future attack is highly likely.

Four arrested

Four men have been arrested under terrorism laws in the Kensington area of Liverpool - three aged 21, 26 and 29, who were held on Sunday, and a man aged 20 who was detained on Monday.

MI5 is assisting police with the investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, also from Counter-Terrorism Policing North West, previously told journalists at Merseyside Police headquarters that the "improvised" explosive device had been "manufactured," adding the force's assumption was that it was built by the suspect in the taxi.

Official sources previously confirmed to the PA news agency the suspect was not previously known to the security services.

The driver of the cab, named locally as David Perry, was treated in hospital after fleeing the car just before it burst into flames, and has been discharged.

He was praised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for behaving with "incredible presence of mind and bravery, and lauded for his "heroic efforts" by the mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson.

Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street, Johnson said the blast was a "stark reminder" to the public to remain vigilant, adding: "What yesterday showed above all is that the British people will never be cowed by terrorism, we will never give in to those who seek to divide us with senseless acts of violence. And our freedoms and our way of life will always prevail."

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