National terror threat incident raised to severe as detectives probe how attack failed
Britain’s terror threat level has been upgraded to mean further attacks are highly likely, after police investigating an explosion outside 利物浦 Women’s Hospital found bomb-making equipment.
A controlled detonation was carried out near a property in Sefton Park where police believe the failed terrorist constructed his improvised explosive device.
Detectives said they had previously discovered “significant items”, believed to be bomb components, at the home and evacuated surrounding houses.
Emad al-Swealmeen, 32, killed only himself in the blast shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday, destroying a taxi as the driver narrowly escaped with his life.
Police declared the explosion a terrorist incident, but believe the device may have failed to detonate properly, or could have been set off prematurely by accident.
独立 understands al-Swealmeen was not known to MI5 or counter-terror police before he attempted the second terror attack to strike the UK within a month.
Police said he was thought to have lived in a house in Sutcliffe Street where several other men have been arrested.
He recently rented the separate property, in Rutland Avenue near Sefton Park, where investigators found bomb components.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks, the senior investigating officer, 说: “Our focus is the Rutland Avenue address, where we have continued to recover significant items
“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.”
Officials raised the national terror threat level to severe on Monday afternoon, meaning further attacks are considered “highly likely”.
Matt Twist, the senior national coordinator for the “prepare” strand of counter-terrorism policing, said it was a “precautionary measure and not based on any specific threat”.
“We have seen in recent weeks two incidents declared as terrorism – the murder of Sir David Amess MP in October, and then the incident we saw take place in Liverpool,“ 他加了.
“Whilst there is absolutely nothing to suggest any link between these incidents, the fact that two terror attacks have happened in relatively quick succession will have contributed to the intelligence picture.”
Rutland Avenue remained cordoned off on Monday evening, after eight families were evacuated following the discovery of bomb components. A controlled explosion was later carried out in nearby Sefton Park.
One neighbour said the attack was “too close to home”, while a woman described the situation as worrying.
“These things have been happening in different parts of the country but I don’t know why they would have targeted the women’s hospital,” added the resident, who did not want to be named. “There’s no conceivable idea at all why the Women’s would be targeted.”
Investigators said the bomber had been picked up near Rutland Avenue property and asked to be taken to Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
The blast went off as the taxi approached a drop-off point by the main entrance, and al-Swealmeen was killed inside the vehicle while the driver “remarkably” managed to escape.
Assistant chief constable Russ Jackson, the head of Counter Terror Police North West, told a press conference the motivation had not been established.
“Our enquiries indicate that an improvised explosive device has been manufactured and our assumption so far is that this was built by the passenger in the taxi,“ 他说.
“The reason why he then took it to the Women’s Hospital is unknown, as is the reason for its sudden explosion.
“We are of course aware that there were remembrance events just a short distance away from the hospital and that the ignition occurred shortly before 11am.
“We cannot at this time draw any connection with this but it is a line of inquiry we are pursuing.”
Liverpool Women’s Hospital is a short distance from the city’s cathedral, where a service of remembrance attended by thousands of military personnel, veterans and members of the public was taking place at the time.
The annual event included a two-minute silence, which is observed nationally on Remembrance Sunday, at 11am followed by a military parade from the cathedral.
Four of al-Swealmeen’s alleged associates, aged between 20 和 29, have been arrested in the Kensington area of Liverpool.
Three were detained at a property where he lived in Sutcliffe Street, which was also searched by police.
Matthew Heitman, 26, who lives opposite the raided house, 说: “Two of the men were marched out at gunpoint and they had them up against the wall.
“There wasn’t any kind of struggle, they just walked out of the front. The people living there had not long moved in, maybe weeks or months.”
Another neighbour, Sharon Cullen, said she thought four men aged in their 20s lived at the address.
Police urged the public to remain vigilant but “not alarmed” as the investigation continued, saying there would be increased patrols at some locations.
“The threat level is designed to inform the public, and guide the level of response by police and other agencies who lead on public safety and national security,” Mr Twist said.
“I want the public to know that officers will continue to work day and night to protect them against the threat of terrorism.
“The increased threat level activates an enhanced police response that is tried and tested, to ensure that the UK is well prepared and protected.”