Liverpool explosion: explosion declared terrorist act

LONDON – British police on Monday said an explosion in a taxi outside a Liverpool hospital was an act of terrorism and arrested a fourth...


LONDON – British police on Monday said an explosion in a taxi outside a Liverpool hospital was an act of terrorism and arrested a fourth person after determining it was caused by an ‘improvised explosive device “.

At the same time, local leaders hailed the taxi driver as a hero, saying he had avoided an even greater calamity. The mayor of Liverpool, in north-west England, said the driver quickly escaped the burning vehicle and locked the doors, trapping the passenger carrying the explosives in the taxi. The passenger was the only person killed in Sunday’s explosion.

“The motivation for this incident is unclear,” Russ Jackson, Chief Terrorist Police for North West England, said at a press conference on Monday, adding that, nevertheless, the explosion was being treated as an act of terrorism. “Our investigations indicate that an improvised explosive device had been made, and our assumption so far is that it was built by the taxi passenger.”

While such attacks are rare in Britain, the country has been hit by high-profile suicide bombings in recent years. In 2005 there was a series of suicide attacks across London which killed 52 people, and in 2017, an attack on Manchester Arena, led by an Islamist extremist who had met operatives of the Islamic State, killed 22 people.

According to the BBC, MI5, a British intelligence service, is involved in the Liverpool investigation. While authorities warned that there was no specific continuing threat, Britain’s national terrorist threat level was changed from “substantial” to “serious”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during an afternoon press briefing, saying another attack was “very likely”.

Mr Jackson, the police official, described how the explosion unfolded shortly before 11 a.m., when the taxi driver, identified by local media as David Perry, picked up a man who asked to be taken to Liverpool Women’s Hospital. As the taxi neared the drop-off point at the hospital, an explosion occurred inside the vehicle and ignited it. Remarkably, the driver got away with minor injuries.

An initial investigation determined that the passenger had carried an explosive device in the cabin. The identity of the passenger is known to the police but has not yet been made public.

Security camera footage taken at the scene shows the moment the taxi pulled up at the entrance to the hospital, before an explosion appeared to blow the vehicle’s windows. White smoke can be seen rising from the car as the driver jumps out of the front seat.

Within seconds, the entire vehicle can be seen engulfed in flames.

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, praised the driver’s actions, saying he avoided more damage with his quick action.

“The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, managed to hijack what could have been an absolutely terrible disaster at the hospital,” Ms Anderson told BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning. “Our thanks go to him,” she added.

Mr Johnson said the driver acted with “incredible presence of mind and bravery,” according to The Press Association, a UK news agency.

Speaking at Monday’s press conference, Mr Johnson called the explosion a “sickening attack” and said he held a meeting of the government’s top emergency committee earlier today .

As the investigation “continues at a steady pace,” Mr Johnson said, he noted that the explosion was “a stark reminder of the need for all of us to remain fully vigilant.”

“We will never be intimidated by terrorism, we will never give in to those who seek to divide us through senseless acts,” added Mr Johnson.

Three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were arrested in Liverpool’s Kensington district hours after Sunday’s explosion, the police said. Their names were not immediately disclosed. A fourth man, 20, was arrested on Monday, police said.

Under Britain’s Terrorism Act, men can be detained for up to 14 days without being charged.

The investigation will now “seek to understand how the device was built, the motivation for the incident and whether anyone else was involved in it,” Jackson said, adding that “it was is a reminder that the threat of terrorism remains significant “. . “

One kilometer from the site of the explosion, thousands of veterans, military personnel and local leaders were holding a Remembrance Day ceremony in Liverpool Cathedral at the time of the explosion. It is still unclear whether the incident was linked to the event, a commemoration of Britain’s war dead.

“We cannot relate to this at this time,” Jackson said. “But this is a line of inquiry that we are pursuing.”

Serena Kennedy, Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police, the force responsible for Liverpool, said there would be more officers on the streets in the coming days.

“There is no specific threat to the area, but I have requested that patrols be increased in Merseyside”, she said in a statement on Monday.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Liverpool explosion: explosion declared terrorist act
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