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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Liverpool terror attack: Suspect killed in explosion outside hospital named by police

The suspected terrorist who was killed in a car explosion outside a hospital in Liverpool has been named as 32-year-old Emad al Swealmeen.

He was an asylum seeker from a Middle Eastern country who had been living in the UK for a while and had mental health issues, Sky News understands.

Al Swealmeen was not thought to have previously been known to MI5 though that could change as more details emerge.

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‘Controlled’ explosion after Liverpool terror incident

Officers said they believe he is the male passenger who brought a homemade bomb with him into a taxi and asked to be taken to the hospital shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

He was picked up in the Rutland Avenue area of the city and as the car reached the hospital’s passenger drop-off point, it exploded.

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

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks, from Counter Terrorism Police North West, said: “Our enquiries are very much ongoing but at this stage we strongly believe that the deceased is 32-year-old Emad al Swealmeen.”

Officers believe al Swealmeen lived at a house in Sutcliffe Street for some time and had recently rented a property in Rutland Avenue near Sefton Park – two addresses where searches have been taking place.

“Our focus is the Rutland Avenue address where we have continued to recover significant items,” said DCI Meeks.

Four men arrested in relation to the explosion have now been released from custody following interview, Greater Manchester Police said.

Three men, aged 29, 26 and 21, had been arrested under terrorism laws at the Sutcliffe Street address, which is about a mile from the hospital – and a fourth man, aged 20, was detained in the Kensington area of Liverpool.

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CCTV: Moments before and after taxi explosion

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, said: “Following interviews with the arrested men, we are satisfied with the accounts they have provided and they have been released from police custody.

“The investigation continues to move at a fast pace with investigative teams working throughout the night.

“We have made significant progress since Sunday morning and have a much greater understanding of the component parts of the device, how they were obtained and how the parts are likely to have been assembled.”

He added that police had also recovered important evidence from the address at Rutland Avenue which is becoming “central” to the investigation.

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UK terror threat level raised

“There is a considerable way to go to understand how this incident was planned, prepared for and how it happened. We are gaining a better understanding by the hour but it is likely to be some time, perhaps many weeks until we are confident on our understanding of what has taken place,” CH Con Jackson said.

“In the meantime, we have considerable resources and staff deployed to understand how this device was built and who if anyone else was involved. If the evidence takes us to the involvement of others, further arrests will quickly take place.”

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PM: ‘We must all be utterly vigilant’

As part of their investigation, police previously carried out a controlled explosion in Sefton Park which they said was a precaution.

The UK’s terror threat level was raised from “substantial” to “severe” in the wake of the incident, meaning an attack is now judged to be “highly likely”.

Speaking at a news conference at Downing Street, the Prime Minister 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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