By Anneka Shah, BA Chinese (Modern and Classical)
On 14 November an explosion near Liverpool Women’s Hospital killed one man and left one injured. The incident was declared a terrorist attack on the following day, though the suspected bomber’s motives remain unknown at the time of writing.
On the morning of Remembrance Sunday, Emad Al-Swealmeen hired a taxi to visit Liverpool Women’s Hospital. A bomb exploded in the taxi and Al-Swealmeen died at the scene, suffering injuries from the explosion and consequent fire. The taxi driver, David Perry, escaped moments before the car went up in flames and was subsequently treated in hospital for injuries.
Emergency services were immediately called to the scene and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service extinguished the flames. Following this, Army Ordinance Disposal officers examined the scene and secured the area.
It is believed that the explosive was brought into the taxi by Al-Swealmeen, who had made it at home. The device was made with ball bearings, which would have acted like shrapnel to cause a great number of deaths. Police suggested that the explosion may have occurred due to the vehicle’s movement and perhaps before the passenger intended to detonate it.
“The explosion was declared a terrorist attack; however, the motive is still unknown to the police.”
The explosion was declared a terrorist attack; however, the motive is still unknown to the police. Investigations remain ongoing but so far it is believed that no-one else was involved.
Four men were initially arrested under the Terrorism Act but were subsequently released. Police are in touch with Al-Swealmeen’s family, who are providing further information. They are investigating his purchases since April, which were relevant in making the bomb, and are searching the address he lived at before the explosion. They also know that Al-Swealmeen had suffered from mental illness, which will be considered during police investigations.
This is the second terrorist attack in the country within a month, following the death of Southend West’s MP David Amess, who was stabbed at a constituency surgery on 15 October. The UK’s terror threat level has now been raised from substantial to severe, which means an attack is highly likely. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has urged that ‘the public [remain] alert to the threat from terrorism.’
In a statement released by the police, the cab driver, Perry, said ‘it’s a miracle I’m alive,’ thanking the public for their generosity following the incident and reminding everyone to ‘be kind, be vigilant and stay safe.’
Photo Caption: Emergency services were called to the scene just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday (Credit: Associated Press).