Liverpool Women’s Hospital taxi explosion: What we know so far

·3-min read

The explosion in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital has been declared a terrorist attack.

Here is everything we know so far:

– The explosion happened inside a taxi outside the hospital moments before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

– Emergency services were on the scene within minutes and one man, the passenger in the taxi, was pronounced dead.

– The driver of the taxi, named locally as David Perry, was injured but managed to escape and has since been released from hospital.

– He picked up the passenger in the Rutland Avenue area of Liverpool, roughly a 10-minute drive from Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, from Counter-Terrorism Policing North West.

– Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks said on Monday: “Our inquiries are very much ongoing but at this stage we strongly believe that the deceased is 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen.”

– Officers said an explosion came from within the car as it approached the drop-off point.

– Police have declared the event a “terrorist incident” and said the proximity in location and time to Remembrance services was a “line of inquiry”, though officers cannot draw a connection “at this time”.

Liverpool Women's Hospital terror blast
(PA Graphics)

– The UK terror threat level was raised to severe in the wake of the incident, meaning an attack is highly likely.

– Officers say “inquiries indicate that an improvised explosive device has been manufactured” and are working under the assumption the passenger built it in the taxi.

– The suspect is understood to be of Middle Eastern origin and reportedly settled in Britain several years ago.

– Official sources confirmed to the PA news agency that the man who died was not previously known to the security services.

– Detectives are unsure what the motivation behind the attack was, the reason for the device’s “sudden explosion” or why the passenger asked to be taken to the hospital.

– Three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were detained on Sunday in Sutcliffe Street in the nearby Kensington area of the city.

– A fourth man, aged 20, was arrested on Monday, also in the Kensington area.

Police activity in Sutcliffe Street in the Kensington area of Liverpool
Police activity in Sutcliffe Street in the Kensington area of Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

– All were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, under which officers can detain terror suspects without a warrant, and will be interviewed on Monday.

– Two addresses, one in Sutcliffe Street and another in Rutland Avenue, have been searched, with the second address yielding “significant items”, Mr Jackson said.

– DCI Meeks said on Monday: “We believe he (Emad Al Swealmeen) lived at the Sutcliffe Street address for some time and had recently rented the Rutland Avenue address.”

– Eight families were evacuated from near the Rutland Avenue address and a cordon is in place.

– Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the taxi driver for acting with “incredible presence of mind and bravery”, while mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson lauded the driver for his “heroic efforts”.

– Liverpool Women’s Hospital said visiting access had been restricted “until further notice” and there was an increased security and police presence on the site.

– A controlled explosion was carried out in Sefton Park on Monday afternoon “as a precaution” as part of the investigation, police said.

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