British police say suspect who was killed in taxi explosion in Liverpool spent at least six months buying components for a bomb and appears to have acted alone
LONDON – The suspect who was killed in a taxi explosion in Liverpool spent at least six months buying components for a bomb and appears to have acted alone, UK police said on Wednesday.
Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, died when an explosion ripped through the taxi he was a passenger in as he pulled up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday morning. The taxi driver was injured.
Russ Jackson, chief of the counterterrorism police for the North West of England, said that Al Swealmeen had rented property in the city in April and had made “relevant purchases” for at least one device since then.
Jackson said investigators had so far found no other people “of concern.”
Police also confirmed that Al Swealmeen had been treated in the past for mental illness.
Clergy from two Liverpool churches said Al Swealmeen had converted from Islam to Christianity and appeared to be sincere in his faith.
Joy Gambardella, a lay reader at the town’s Emmanuel Church, said Al Swealmeen was a “committed Christian”.
“Before, he loved baking and took a baking course. He also made pizza, ”Gambardella said. “He made cakes for the church and sold them.
“I would never, ever expect that he could have done something like that, ever.”
Investigators are still trying to determine the motive for the attack and whether the Liverpool Women’s Hospital was the intended target.
Taxi driver David Perry escaped the vehicle before it was engulfed in flames. He was treated in a hospital and released.
Britain’s official threat level changed from substantial to severe – meaning an attack is very likely – after the explosion.