Latest updates as Boris Johnson praises driver’s ‘incredible presence of mind and bravery’
Police have named Emad Al Swealmeen as the deceased bomber in the terror incident that took place outside of Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday.
On Monday evening, Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks said: “Our enquiries are very much ongoing but at this stage we strongly believe that the deceased in 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen.
“Al Swealmeen is connected to both the Rutland Avenue and Sutcliffe Street addresses where searches are still ongoing.”
Meanwhile, the national terror threat level has been raised from substantial to severe, meaning further attacks are considered “highly likely”.
Home secretary Priti Patel said the level had been raised because there had been two attacks in the span of a month.
Speaking to broadcasters, she said: “The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, Jtac, are now increasing the United Kingdom’s threat level from substantial to severe.
“And there’s a reason for that, and that reason is because what we saw yesterday is the second incident in a month.”
The threat level is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which is led by MI5, and had been set at substantial since February 2021.
Security services will be feeling ‘quite awkward’ after Liverpool explosion, says former top cop
Who is Liverpool bomber Emad al-Swealmeen?
Police have named the failed bomber who died in the Liverpool Women’s Hospital explosion.
Detectives said they strongly believe the taxi passenger who was carrying the device was Emad al-Swealmeen.
The 32-year-old is thought to have lived in a house in Sutcliffe Street where several other men have been arrested.
He recently rented a different property, in Rutland Avenue, where investigators found bomb components.
The Independent’s Security Correspondent Lizzie Dearden has more:
Bomber, 32, rented property where explosive components were found
BBC journalist heckled during broadcast
North of England correspondent Fiona Trott was drowned out by men shouting about migrants and refugees as she tried to give an update on the police investigation.
Men could be heard shouting, out of shot, with one saying: “Twenty-four thousand people came on boats this year, how many of them do we know?”
Jon Sharman reports.
Bystander rants about asylum seekers before broadcast is cut short
Everything we know about Liverpool explosion
The explosion has been declared a terrorist incident by the police but the motivation for the attack is “yet to be understood”.
The blast happened seconds before two minutes silence was held for Remembrance Sunday, and counter-terrorism police are now leading the investigation into the incident.
The security service, MI5, is also helping with the investigation.
Four men arrested by the police have been released.
Here’s everything we know so far:
Taxi blast is declared a terrorist incident
Liverpool City Council: ‘Children can return to their learning on Tuesday’
Liverpool councillor Tom Logan reassured parents and carers that children could safely return to their classrooms on Tuesday morning, as all schools would be “open as usual”.
“We want to reassure parents and carers that schools are safe and children can return to their learning on Tuesday,” the cabinet member for Education and Skills said.
Reaction from Sutcliffe Street neighbours
Neighbours along Sutcliffe Street recalled the frightening experience of the police setting up a cordon on their street and raiding a nearby house.
“Two men were marched out at gunpoint and they (the police) had them up against the wall,” Matthew Heitman, 26, told PA.
“There wasn’t any kind of struggle, they just walked out the front.
“The people living there had not long moved in, maybe weeks or months,” he added.
Sharon Cullen told PA that around 9.45pm on Sunday she, her husband, her 22-year-old daughter and her two-year-old grandson were evacuated from their home.
“The police pounded on my door and an officer said ‘we need to get you out of the house as soon as possible’.
“They said, ‘whatever is going on at the back of the house, it could blow the block’.
“It was really frightening,” she said.
While she didn’t know any of the four men staying at the house, she believed they were all in their 20s.
“One of them always seemed to be on a PC in his bedroom,” she added.
Malcolm Hitchcott: ‘There was never any suggestion of anything amiss’
Malcolm Hitchcott and his wife Elizabeth invited Emad al-Swealmeen to live with them in 2017, said that “there was never any suggestion of anything amiss” with the young man.
Speaking to ITV News from their home, Mr Hitchcott said: “He lived here for eight months, and we were living cheek by jowl. There was never any suggestion of anything amiss.
“I feel shocked at the moment – I don’t know how I will feel tomorrow.”
Mr Hitchcott also told ITV News that al-Swealmeen had been sectioned and was institutionalised for six months after being involved in an incident in the centre of town which “involved a bridge and a knife”
Ms Hitchcott added: “What a waste of a life. But the one thing I suppose to be thankful for is that he did not kill anyone else.”
Video of controlled explosion at Sefton Park
Police officers investigating the explosion at Liverpool Women’s Hospital carried out a controlled explosion at Sefton Park in Liverpool.
Counter Terrorism Police North West said that the controlled explosion, captured on video, was a precautionary measure to deal with items obtained during the investigation – no new evidence was found in the park.
There is believed to be no wider risk to the public as the investigation continues.
Four men arrested in relation to explosion released from police custody
The four men who had been arrested under terrorism laws in Liverpool’s Kensington area, aged 20, 21, 26, and 29, were released from police custody on Monday evening.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, from Counter Terrorism Policing North West 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. We have also recovered important evidence from the address at Rutland Avenue which is becoming central to the investigation.
“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.
“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.”
Who was Emad al-Swealmeen?
On Monday evening, police named Emad al-Swealmeen as the failed bomber who died in the Liverpool Women’s Hospital explosion on Sunday.
But what do we know about him?
Al-Swealmeen was 32-years old and is believed to have lived in a house on Sutcliffe Street in Liverpool, where several other men were arrested in connection with the terrorist incident.
Police also determined that he had rented a separate property on Rutland Avenue, where investigators discovered bomb components.
The Independent understands that al-Swealmeen was not known to MI5 or counter terrorism police before his attempted attack on Sunday.
Among friends, he was known as “Enzo Almeni”. He is believed to have converted to Christianity in 2017 at the Liverpool Cathedral.
Malcolm Hitchcott, who formerly organised events at the cathedral, shared photographs of al-Swealmeen on Facebook. The former asylum seeker was pictured in 2017, smiling at a National Trust property in Liverpool and go-karting.
Mr Hitchcott wrote that al-Swealmeen had lived with him and his wife Marion “for a period of months”, adding, “he was a real blessing to us at our times of worship and teaching around the dining room table at 9.30pm each evening.”
He told the Mail Online that although he lost touch with al-Swealmeen, he believed that the 32-year-old had enrolled in a college catering course before the coronavirus pandemic began.
After the news of the terrorist incident broke, Ms Hitchcott told the BBC: “We’re just so sad…we just loved him, he was a lovely guy.”