Liverpool Explosion

Liverpool car bombing suspect named by British police

Police officers keep guard outside a house in the Kensington area where counter-terrorism officers arrested men after a vehicle exploded outside Liverpool Women's Hospital in Liverpool, Britain, November 15, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, has been identified as the accused terrorist who blew himself up outside Liverpool Women's Hospital over the weekend.

Counter-Terrorism Police North West stated they "strongly believe" Al Swealmeen was the passenger killed in Sunday's cab explosion.

They initially stated that he was picked up in the Rutland Avenue neighborhood and requested to be transported to the hospital.

The automobile detonated as it approached the hospital's passenger drop-off location.

The Rutland Avenue property and a second address on Sutcliffe Street, where investigators believe Al Swealmeen previously resided, are being searched.

"Our inquiries are ongoing, but at this point, we are confident that the deceased is 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen," Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks stated.

"Al Swealmeen is associated with both the Rutland Avenue and Sutcliffe Street residences, where searches continue.

"We believe he was previously a resident of the Sutcliffe Street address and had just rented the Rutland Avenue address.

"Our primary focus is on the Rutland Avenue address, where big things have continued to be recovered.

"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 labeled the incident a terrorist act but have not specified a motive.

The terror threat level in the United Kingdom has been increased to severe, indicating that a future assault is highly likely.

On Sunday, four individuals arrested in the Kensington area of Liverpool – three aged 21, 26, and 29, and one aged 20 — have been freed from police custody following an interview, Counter Terrorism Police North West stated on Monday night.

MI5 is aiding the authorities in their probe.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, also of Counter-Terrorism Policing North West, previously told journalists at Merseyside Police headquarters that the "improvised" explosive device was "manufactured," adding that the force assumed the suspect in the taxi constructed it.

Previously, official sources revealed to the PA news agency that the suspect was unknown to the security services.

According to accounts, Al Swealmeen converted to Christianity after arriving in the UK from the Middle East and was temporarily housed in Liverpool by Christian volunteers Malcolm and Elizabeth Hitchcott.

Elizabeth Hitchcott told the BBC: "We're just so, so sad." We adored him; he was such a sweetheart."

When asked if the pair were taken aback by the incident, she responded, "Very."

The cab driver, identified locally as David Perry, was treated and released from the hospital after fleeing the car shortly before it caught fire.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson complimented him for his "incredible presence of mind and bravery," while Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson lauded him for his "heroic efforts."

Johnson told a Downing Street press conference that the blast served as a "serious reminder" to the public to remain vigilant, adding: "What yesterday demonstrated above all is that the British people will never be intimidated by terrorism, that we will never succumb to those who seek to divide us through senseless acts of violence."

"And our freedoms and our way of life will always prevail."

On Monday, he was scheduled to host an emergency Cobra meeting in reaction to the situation.

A controlled explosion was conducted at Sefton Park on Monday afternoon "as a precaution" as part of the inquiry, police said.

"Two of the men were marched out at gunpoint and held up against the wall," Matthew Heitman, 26, who lives opposite the raided residence on Sutcliffe Street, claimed.

"There was no struggle; they simply walked out the front."

"The people living there had not long moved in, maybe weeks or months."

Another neighbor, Sharon Cullen, stated that she believed four guys in their early twenties occupied the address.

"I don't know any of them but one of them always seemed to be on a PC in his bedroom." she explained.

Cullen said she and her husband, 22-year-old daughter, and two-year-old grandson were evacuated from their home on Sunday at approximately 9:45 p.m.

"The police pounded on my door, and an officer said, 'We need to get you out of the house immediately,'" she explained.

"They stated that 'whatever is going on behind the house has the potential to blast the block.'

"It was really frightening."

According to Kathryn Thomson, chief executive of Liverpool Women's Hospital, the last two days have been "extremely upsetting and traumatizing" for hospital staff.

Despite the presence of security and police, she continued, services are currently operating "as close to normal as can be expected."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 0161 856 1027 and reference the Liverpool Women's Hospital incident.

Publish : 2021-11-16 11:38:00

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