Counter-terror police due to speak to relative of Liverpool bomber

Counter-terrorism police are due to speak to a relative of the Liverpool bomber, a police chief has said.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, of Counter Terrorism Police North West, said Emad Al Swealmeen had been formally identified as the taxi passenger who died in the blast outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday.

He said: “He is believed to have been born in Iraq and lived most recently at the Rutland Avenue address.

“Officers have traced a relative of Al Swealmeen and we will be speaking with them today.”

The 32-year-old, who had converted to Christianity, reportedly arrived in the UK from the Middle East in 2014 and had an application for asylum rejected the following year, but had a fresh appeal ongoing at the time of his death.

Earlier this week, Home Secretary Secretary Priti Patel claimed he had been able to exploit Britain’s “dysfunctional” immigration system by staying in the country.

Police searches are continuing at properties in Rutland Avenue, near Sefton Park, and Sutcliffe Street in Kensington, Liverpool.

Mr Jackson said: “The scene at the hospital remains in place, however the car has been removed and officers continue to conduct fingertip searches.

“It is expected that sections will be released in the coming days, but the scene will not be fully released until at least Sunday.

“The addresses at Rutland Avenue and Sutcliffe Street continue to be searched and significant items have been found at both addresses.

“Rutland Avenue remains our main focus.”

Police believe Al Swealmeen had been renting a property in Rutland Avenue since April and was making “relevant purchases” for his bomb from at least that time.

Explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) officers were called to the property in Sutcliffe Street, where he had previously lived, on Wednesday evening after suspicious packages were found.

On Thursday morning a police cordon remained outside the terraced house and a number of forensic investigators were seen entering the property as well as a sniffer dog.

Witnesses have described seeing the explosion, which happened just before 11am on Sunday and injured taxi driver David Perry,

Security guard Darren Knowles told the Daily Mirror he rushed to the aid of Mr Perry after he fled the vehicle, and heard him screaming: “Someone has blown me up. I want my wife.”

Mr Knowles said: “He was trying to tell us, ‘There is a passenger, there is a passenger’.

“I was trying to say to him, ‘Is he still in there’, and he was saying, ‘He has tried to blow me up’.”

Delivery driver Liam Spencer told the BBC: “Explosions just went off and it shook the hospital building.

“Then I got closer to the car, I could smell the smoke and I could see the man in the back.

“I went to grab him but he engulfed in flames very quickly.”

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