LIVERPOOL, England—British police have identified the suspect behind a suicide explosion that engulfed a taxi in flames outside a hospital in Liverpool on Remembrance Sunday. Authorities have declared the blast a terrorist incident.
Police say 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen, who was killed in the blast, boarded the taxi in the northern English city and asked to be driven to the hospital, which was about 10 minutes away.
The blast took place before 11 a.m. within the car as it approached the drop-off point in front of Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Earlier, Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson described the actions of the taxi driver, Dave Perry, as heroic. The taxi driver was treated for injuries and released after medical attention.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson of Counter-Terrorism Policing Northwest said it was unclear why the passenger had wanted to go to the hospital or what had triggered the sudden explosion of an explosive device.
Jackson also said, “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 11 a.m.
“We cannot at this time draw any connection with this but it is a line of inquiry we are pursuing,” he said of events at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral which was holding a Remembrance Day service.
The country has raised its national threat level to severe, with interior minister Priti Patel saying the blast in the northern English city was the second fatal incident in one month following the stabbing to death of conservative lawmaker David Amess.
“It is important that the public remains alert to the threat from terrorism but not alarmed,” Patel said.
Police are searching two places associated with Al Swealmeen and have recovered significant items, Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks said in a statement released by Greater Manchester Police.
“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,” he said.
Police also carried out a controlled explosion earlier on Monday as a precaution at Sefton Park, where Al Swealmeen boarded the taxi.
Three men aged 29, 26, and 21 were arrested on Sunday and on Monday, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson of Counter-Terrorism Policing Northwest said another man aged 20 had been arrested in relation to the terror attack.
They four men have since been released after questioning, police said in a press release late Monday night.
By Phil Noble. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.