Liverpool locals praised for standing together one week on from attack

·4-min read
The explosion took place outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
The explosion took place outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

People across Liverpool have been praised for “standing shoulder to shoulder” in the wake of the Remembrance Sunday attack, as the public were reminded they are the “eyes and ears” for police in the fight against terror.

One week on from the explosion outside the city’s women’s hospital, officials spoke of their gratitude for the “patience and understanding” of locals as investigations continue.

The bomb used in the incident was a homemade explosive with ball bearings attached to it and police said it could have caused “significant injury or death”.

Police have thanked the public for their patience as investigations continue (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Police have thanked the public for their patience as investigations continue (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, died when the taxi he was a passenger in exploded outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on November 14, but taxi driver David Perry managed to escape with injuries.

Officers are “working round the clock” on their investigation and police said there is more to be done in the bid to “defeat terrorism”, as they vowed to make efforts to ensure the safety of the city as the festive season approaches.

Whilst we know some people may be anxious and concerned we have seen people across Liverpool standing shoulder to shoulder

Open letter to Liverpool

Tributes have been paid to the reaction of the public, as well as emergency responders and hospital staff, in an open letter from police and local political figures seven days after the blast.

The letter, published on Sunday, is on behalf of Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, Mayor Joanne Anderson, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Combined Authority Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

Praising people for coming together “in the face of adversity”, it stated: “The ultimate goal of terrorism is to create discord, distrust and fear in our communities, and whilst we know some people may be anxious and concerned we have seen people across Liverpool standing shoulder to shoulder.

“And that’s because Liverpool, which has a proud heritage as a multi-cultural city, and the wider Merseyside region always pull together at times like this and the pride of all our communities is there for all to see.

“This is an area defined by its friendliness, kindness and spirit of togetherness and we are immensely grateful for the patience and understanding shown by residents (whilst police investigations continue) but not at all surprised.”

They praised the “phenomenal work” of management and staff at the hospital, where more than 150 babies have been delivered since last Sunday and specialist care given to more than 60 newborns on the neo-natal unit.

They also thanked locals for bringing hot drinks to officers stationed outside the hospital, and for messages of support and gifts for staff.

Investigations in the city continue after the attack on Remembrance Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Investigations in the city continue after the attack on Remembrance Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

Appealing for the public’s help, those behind the letter stated: “Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we all need to work together.

“The police depend on information from the public, who at times like this are their eyes and ears, to keep us all safe.

“There’s more work still to be done, and already the five local authorities and Merseyside Police are working together to bolster existing plans to support businesses and visitors to the area in the run up to Christmas.”

They pledged to “make sure that people feel confident to come out and enjoy the city knowing that they will be safe”.

The letter added: “We pull together in the face of hardship and tragedy. We support each other at times of difficulty. We stand together as one.

“We have seen it before, and we have seen it again this week.

“In the words of Liverpool Women’s Hospital: continue to ‘Be Kind’, but also ‘Be Vigilant’ and ‘Be Safe’.”

While an Islamist plot is one line of inquiry, the PA news agency understands investigators are still keeping an open mind and the motivation is yet to be established.

Police and security services are still thought to be working on the current understanding that the hospital was the intended target.

Al Swealmeen, an asylum seeker who had converted to Christianity, reportedly arrived in the UK from the Middle East in 2014 and had an application for asylum rejected the following year, but had a fresh appeal ongoing at the time of his death.

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