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UK taxi blast terror suspect identified as Middle Eastern asylum seeker


LONDON: The suspected terrorist who was killed in a taxi explosion outside a women’s hospital in Liverpool on Sunday has been named as Emad al Swealmeen, of Syrian and Iraqi heritage.
The 32-year-old is believed to have been an asylum seeker from the Middle East who reportedly converted to Christianity a few years ago. The UK’s Counter-Terrorism Police said on Monday that he was associated with two addresses in the city of Liverpool in north-west England.
“Counter Terrorism Detectives leading the investigation into the explosion outside the Women’s Hospital in Liverpool on Sunday 14th November have now confirmed the name of the person they believe to be the deceased from the terrorist incident,” the UK’s Counter Terrorism Police said in a statement.
Senior investigating officer for the counter-terror operation, Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks, said enquiries are very much ongoing.
“But at this stage we strongly believe that the deceased is 32 year old Emad Al Swealmeen. Al Swealmeen is connected to both the Rutland Avenue and Sutcliffe Street addresses where searches are still ongoing,” he said.
“We believe he lived at the Sutcliffe Street address for some time and had recently rented the Rutland Avenue address. Our focus is the Rutland Avenue address where we have continued to recover significant items,” he said, appealing for further information from the public.
Meanwhile, four men arrested in relation to the explosion have now been released from custody following interviews, Greater Manchester Police said. Three men, aged 29, 26 and 21, had been arrested under terrorism laws at the Sutcliffe Street address and a fourth man, aged 20, was detained in the Kensington area of Liverpool over the course of the weekend and on Monday.
“Following interviews with the arrested men, we are satisfied with the accounts they have provided and they have been released from police custody. The investigation continues to move at a fast pace with investigative teams working throughout the night,” said Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson.
“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. We have also recovered important evidence from the address at Rutland Avenue which is becoming central to the investigation,” he said.
“There is a considerable way to go to understand how this incident was planned, prepared for and how it happened. We are gaining a better understanding by the hour but it is likely to be some time, perhaps many weeks until we are confident on our understanding of what has taken place,” he added.
The explosion, which took place outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday, resulted in the UK’s terror threat level being raised from substantial to severe – which means a terror attack is highly likely.
Speaking at a Downing Street briefing on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the blast was a “stark reminder” to the public to remain vigilant.
“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. And our freedoms and our way of life will always prevail,” he said.

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