Portrait of Liverpool Taxi Bomber Begins to Emerge

Police believe passenger Emad Al Swealmeen built the bomb
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2021 8:11 AM CST
Portrait of Liverpool Taxi Bomber Begins to Emerge
Forensic police officers walk outside Liverpool Women's Hospital after an explosion on Sunday killed one person and injured another, in Liverool, England, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.   (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

British police released four men who were arrested under terrorism laws while detectives investigate a homemade bomb explosion in a Liverpool taxi and work to understand the motives of the suspected bomber, who died in the blast. Police have named the bomber as 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen, who came to Britain as an asylum-seeker from the Middle East and later converted to Christianity. Al Swealmeen was killed and a taxi driver injured when a blast ripped through the vehicle as it pulled up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday morning. Police have called the blast a terrorist act and believe the dead man built the bomb, but they are still working to determine the motive, reports the AP.

Four men in their 20s who had been detained under the Terrorism Act were released late Monday, with counterterrorism official Russ Jackson saying "we are satisfied with the accounts they have provided." Jackson said that police now had "a much greater understanding of the component parts of the device [and] how they were obtained, but he said "there is a considerable way to go to understand how this incident was planned, prepared for, and how it happened." The BBC reports police have said they have recovered "significant items" from a Rutland Avenue address Al Swealmeen recently rented.

The Times of London said Al Swealmeen—who also used the name Enzo Almeni—claimed to be of Syrian and Iraqi background and had applied for asylum in Britain, but was rejected. Liverpool couple Malcolm and Elizabeth Hitchcott told British media that Al Swealmeen had spent time in a psychiatric hospital and stayed with them for eight months after his release. "We’re just so, so sad," Elizabeth Hitchcott told the BBC. "We just loved him. He was a lovely guy." (The taxi driver, David Perry, is being hailed as a hero for reportedly locking the cab's doors so the bomber couldn't escape.)

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