Police release 4 men in Liverpool hospital blast case, suspect named
- It comes after Emad Al Swealmeen was identified as the victim
- the 32-year-old was a Middle Eastern asylum seeker
- David Perry, the taxi driver, escaped before his car caught fire
Four men, arrested allegedly for terrorism, have been released without charge after a bomb exploded outside Liverpool Women's Hospital on Remembrance Sunday. It comes after Emad Al Swealmeen was identified as the victim of a homemade device that exploded in the back of a taxi shortly before 11 am GMT.
According to reports, the 32-year-old was a Middle Eastern asylum seeker who converted to Christianity in 2017. "Important evidence" was discovered at an address he rented, said the police.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North West, said the property at Rutland Avenue near Sefton Park, in the city's south-east, was "becoming central to the investigation" in an update on Monday evening.
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Al Swealmeen was picked up by a taxi at this address before being driven to the maternity hospital.
David Perry, the taxi driver, escaped before his car caught fire and has since been released from the hospital.
ACC Jackson told BBC, "We have made significant progress since Sunday morning and have a much greater understanding of the component parts of the device, how they were obtained and how the parts are likely to have been assembled."
However, he stated that determining how the incident was planned and prepared could take weeks.
Three men, aged 21, 26, and 29, were arrested in the Kensington area of Liverpool on Sunday, and a 20-year-old man was arrested on Monday.
ACC Jackson added, "Following interviews with the arrested men, we are satisfied with the accounts they have provided and they have been released from police custody."
Al Swealmeen briefly lived with a local couple, Elizabeth and Malcolm Hitchcott, after his conversion to Christianity, the couple told ITV News.
He formally converted from Islam, according to Mr Hitchcott, at a ceremony in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. The cathedral is a short distance from Liverpool Women's Hospital, which hosted the city's main Remembrance Day service on Sunday.
He said Al Swealmeen had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for about six months in the years leading up to the attack because of his knife-wielding behaviour.
Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Hitchcott said she was "just so sad" and "very shocked" by Sunday's incident, adding, "We just loved him, he was a lovely guy."
The investigation also includes a location on Sutcliffe Street in the city, where officers believe Al Swealmeen previously resided.
Because the explosion in Liverpool was the second incident in a month, following the death of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, the UK terror threat level was raised from "substantial" to "severe" on Monday, indicating that an attack is "highly likely".
One of Counter Terrorism Policing's senior national co-ordinators, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, said the change was a "precautionary measure and not based on any specific threat".
Investigators are treading carefully when it comes to drawing conclusions about Emad Al Swealmeen's motivation.
He is thought to have arrived in the United States from the Middle East and was placed in the asylum system. However, he may have adopted christianity and suffered from mental health issues in recent years.
The decision to label this a terrorist attack appears to be based more on his methodology, which included the use of an improvised explosive device, than on a clear understanding of his ideology.
Investigators will continue to try to figure out what exactly caused this incident.