Hero Taxi Driver 'Locks Suspected Suicide Bomber Inside Taxi And Jumped Out Right Before The Blast'
On 17th November 2021
After a terrorist incident outside a Liverpool hospital, the British authorities have raised the country's threat level to its second-highest rung on Monday. According to the investigators, the terrorist attack killed the suspected suicide bomber and injured the taxi driver and the motive behind the attack remains unclear.
Counterterrorism police named the dead man as 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen. The authorities refused to share any further information, however, Britain´s Press Association news agency and other media reported that the security services were not looking out for this man.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre after this terrorist attack has now raised the U.K. threat level from substantial - which means that there are likely to be more attacks, following the U.K.'s second fatal incident in a month. Conservative lawmaker David Amess was stabbed to death in October in what police said was an act of terrorism.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the "sickening attack" at Liverpool Women's Hospital and told reporters that the British people "will never be cowed by terrorism."
"We will never give in to those who seek to divide us with senseless acts of violence," he said.
As per the reports, the male passenger in the taxi who is also the suspected suicide bomber was killed in the blast while the taxi driver got injured as the blast happened outside the hospital on a Sunday morning.
Russ Jackson, the head of Counterterrorism Policing in northwest England, said the explosion was caused by "the ignition of an explosive device" that was brought into the vehicle by the passenger.
Police have also arrested three men in their 20s in the city Sunday under the Terrorism Act and a fourth was detained on Monday. All are believed to be "associates" of the dead passenger, police said.
Though the motive behind the terror attack is not clear there are suspicions that the blast timed with Remembrance Sunday, the moment when people across Britain hold services in memory of those killed in wars.
According to Jackson, the investigators have not yet found the connection between two events "but it is a line of inquiry we are pursuing."
"Although the motivation for this incident is yet to be understood, given all the circumstances, it has been declared a terrorist incident," he said at a press briefing.
He reported that the suspected man was picked by the cab driver at a 10-minute drive away and he asked to be dropped off at the hospital, where the incident happened.
The driver, named by local media as David Perry, managed to escape from the car. He was treated in the hospital and released.
Shortly after the blast, police officers searched two addresses in the city that are linked to the passenger- one is where he lived and the second one he recently rented and also found 'important items' at the recently rented place.
Officers also performed a controlled explosion "as a precaution" as part of the investigation.
Associated Press Photo
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson informed that the taxi driver locked the doors of his car to prevent the bomber from going out, however, police have not confirmed this yet.
"The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, has managed to divert what could have been an absolutely awful disaster at the hospital," Anderson told the BBC.
The prime minister also said the driver appeared to have behaved "with incredible presence of mind and bravery."
Nick Aldworth, a former senior terrorism investigator in Britain, said the taxi appeared to have sustained "a lot of fire damage with very little blast damage."
He said "whatever was in that vehicle was either a low yield, or didn´t work properly, or possibly an incendiary. So I think it´s very much open to debate at the moment about what has happened."
Over the years, Britain´s official terrorism threat level was lowered from "severe" to "substantial" in February. The threat level became severe since the 2014 incident, for a short time rising to "critical" amid a spate of violent attacks in 2017.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre sets the threat level based on intelligence about international terrorism at home and overseas.
Britain has been dealing with the surge attacks by both Islamic and far-right extremists over the years, including a May 2017 suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people.
On Oct 15, in a terrorist act, Amess was stabbed to death while meeting with constituents, Police reported that this was an act of terrorism by a supporter of the Islamic State group. His murder came five years after Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death by a far-right extremist.
Associated Press Photo
The taxi driver David Perry's wife took to social media on Monday and wrote that it was an “utter miracle” her husband survived that blast.
“He is without doubt lucky to be alive. The explosion happened whilst he was in the car and how he managed to escape is an utter miracle. He certainly had some guardian angels looking over him,” she said.
Perry got injured in the blast and was treated at the hospital for burns and shrapnel injuries before being released.
His wife added that Perry was “doing ok but is extremely sore and just trying to process what happened.”
Police officials are yet to release a motive behind the blast and the leading arrests, but the U.K. Attorney General shared a fair warning and tweeted to warn people not to jump to conclusions. “We would like to remind anyone reporting or commenting on the explosion outside #Liverpool Women’s Hospital today to be aware of the law on Contempt of Court. The same rules that apply to journalists apply to social media users. #ThinkBeforeYouPost.”
Associated Press Photo