UK terror threat level raised to severe after Liverpool explosion

Four arrested as blast in taxi in which one man killed declared a terrorist incident

CCTV has captured the moment when a taxi exploded outside of Liverpool Women's Hospital. Police have confirmed that the passenger, who is deceased, brought an explosive device into the car and that the event is being treated as a terrorist incident.

 

The explosion outside a hospital in Liverpool that left one man dead and another seriously injured has been declared a terrorist incident, police have said, as the terror threat level in the UK was raised.

Police said that following discussions with bomb disposal officers the explosion was being treated “as the ignition of an explosive device”.

A taxi burst into flames outside the Liverpool Women’s hospital at 10.59am on Remembrance Sunday in dramatic scenes that were captured on video.

Police later confirmed that a male passenger was declared dead at the scene, while the cab driver, who has been widely named in reports as David Perry, from Kirkdale, managed to escape, and has since been discharged from hospital.

The threat to Britain from terrorism was raised to severe on Monday – meaning that an attack is deemed highly likely.

The decision, taken on Monday by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, represents an upgrade of one notch from the previous threat level of substantial.

The threat level had been at the lower level since February 8th following a “significant reduction” in the momentum of attacks in Europe, including those seen in Austria and France between September and November 2020.

The improvised explosive device had been manufactured and the assumption is that it was built by the deceased passenger, according to early police findings, and while the motive is unclear one line of inquiry is a possible link with remembrance events taking place on Sunday.

The assistant chief constable Russ Jackson from Counter Terrorism Policing North West told a press conference police believed they knew the identity of the passenger but could not confirm at this time.

Four arrests

Three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were arrested on Sunday under the Terrorism Act, while a fourth man aged 20 was arrested on Monday.

Mr Jackson told the press conference that the taxi driver picked up a fare in Rutland Avenue, Liverpool, shortly before 11am on Sunday. The fare, a man, asked to be taken to the Liverpool Women’s hospital, which was about 10 minutes away.

As the taxi approached the drop-off point at the hospital, an explosion occurred from within the car, which quickly engulfed it in flames.

The driver escaped from the cab and was treated for the injuries he sustained and later discharged from hospital.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, praised the efforts of the taxi driver. He said: “This is an ongoing investigation so I can’t comment on the details or exactly what type of incident it was, what type of crime it may have been. But it does look as though the taxi driver in question did behave with incredible presence of mind and bravery.

“But I’ve got to say this is something that is an ongoing investigation. I think it would be premature to say much more than that.”

Mr Johnson was understood to be chariring a Cobra meeting on the attack on Monday. Cobra is shorthand for the Civil Contingencies Committee, which is convened to handle matters of national emergency or major disruption.

Mr Jackson said inquiries indicated that the device was brought into the cab by the passenger, who was declared dead at the scene.

The first three arrests took place in Sutcliffe Street, where witnesses reported seeing armed officers swoop on a terrace house on Sunday afternoon. – Guardian