Liverpool explosion: What we know so far

A terror suspect who's believed to have detonated the explosion has been named as Emad Al Swealmeen. Credit: ITV News

A terror suspect who is believed to have detonated the explosion in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital has been named as 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen.

The UK's threat level has been raised to 'severe' following the explosion, meaning another attack is 'highly likely'.

Police are continuing to investigate, but have released several details about what they know so far.

  • Pick up

Credit: Granada Reports

Local taxi driver David Perry collected Al Swealmeen from the Rutland Avenue area of Liverpool. He asked to be taken to the Liverpool Women's Hospital, which was about 10 minutes away.

  • Drop off

This video contains distressing images

As the taxi approached the drop-off point at the hospital at just before 11am, an explosion occurred from within the car, which quickly engulfed it in flames.

Mr Perry escaped, and was treated for the injuries he sustained.

  • Homemade bomb

Officers investigating the attack have revealed the device "had ball bearings attached to it which would have acted as shrapnel". Credit: PA

Officers investigating the attack have revealed the device was made using homemade explosive and "had ball bearings attached to it which would have acted as shrapnel".

They say if the bomb had detonated in different circumstances, it would have 'caused significant injury or death'.

Police say the suspect had spent months gathering ingredients to make the device and used many aliases.

  • Emergency response

Credit: Granada Reports

Emergency services attended the scene and Merseyside Fire and Rescue put out the fire. It quickly became apparent that Al Swealmeen remained in the vehicle and was dead.

Army Ordinance Disposal officers examined the scene and have now confirmed that this is being treated as the ignition of an explosive device.

Enquiries indicate that the device was manufactured and brought into the taxi by Al Swealmeen.

Meanwhile, eight homes were evacuated while searches took place.

  • Arrests

Credit: Granada Reports

Four men - aged 20, 21, 26 and 29 - were arrested under the Terrorism Act, but have since been released from police custody without charge.

Although the motivation for this incident is yet to be understood, it has been declared a terrorist incident and Counter Terrorism Policing are continuing with the investigation.

Neighbours express their shock over the terror arrests

  • Suspicious packages

On Wednesday afternoon, a Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal vehicle arrived at Boaler Street along with a fire engine after a police cordon in nearby Sutcliffe Street - where officers believe Al Swealmeen previously lived - was extended and residents living within it were told they could not return home.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal vehicle arrived at Boaler Street Credit: ITV Granada

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said several suspicious packages were found, and were examined by explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) officers before being recovered by forensic teams.

On Wednesday evening the cordon was removed from Boaler Street but Mr Jackson said the public may still see EOD officers in the area on Thursday "in case further items are found".

Searches have also been carried out at a property in Rutland Avenue that had been rented by Al Swealmeen since April, and that is the main focus of the police investigation.

  • Reaction

A Christian couple who had previously lived with Emad Al Swealmeen said they are thankful he did not kill anyone else. Elizabeth and Malcolm Hitchcott, who live in Liverpool, took Al Swealmeen into their home in 2017.

Credit: Granada Reports

Meanwhile, a local MP described taxi driver David Perry - who works for one of the city's largest taxi firms, Delta taxis - as a 'complete hero' for putting others before himself.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson also praised him, saying he behaved with "incredible presence of mind and bravery".

In a social media post, Mr Perry has said it is a “miracle that I’m alive”.

David Perry and his wife Rachel issued a statement through police thanking the public for their “amazing generosity”.

Meanwhile, fellow drivers from across Merseyside are now coming together to raise funds for him and his family.

Anyone who has any information should call on 0161 856 1027 quoting Liverpool Women's Hospital incident. Details can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.