James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Pictured: ‘Christian convert’ refugee who died in Liverpool Poppy Day terror attack
16 November 2021, 08:01 | Updated: 16 November 2021, 17:21
The man who died in the Liverpool taxi explosion has been named by police as Emad Al Swealmeen - a 'Christian convert' who was a refugee from Syria.
Listen to this article
Officers investigating the explosion at Liverpool Women's Hospital on Sunday - which has since been declared a terror incident - said they believe the 32-year-old is the man who died in the blast.
Al Swealmeen - a pizza chef - is said to have come over to the UK several years ago, with Christian volunteers Malcolm and Elizabeth Hitchcott having briefly taken him in to live in their home, according to reports.
He also went by the name Enzo Almeni, it is understood.
He converted from Islam to Christianity and was baptised and confirmed in Liverpool Cathedral around 2017.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks said: "Our 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.
"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.
"We continue to appeal for any information about this incident and now that we have released his name any information that the public may have about Al Swealmeen no matter how small may be of great assistance to us."
Security minister Damian Hinds told LBC this morning he could not speculate on the background of Al Swealmeen.
But when asked by Nick Ferrari whether he had acted alone, Mr Hinds said: "We use this term lone wolf sometimes and it can paint a picture of somebody which isn't necessarily helpful, but it is true that there has been this shift over time from... directed attacks, sometimes quite complex, part of a wider organisation and multi-national in nature, and move from that to much smaller groups or individuals, self-radicalised and self-initiated in their plot."
Four men who were arrested in connection with the Remembrance Day explosion have now been released from police custody.
The UK's terror threat level has been raised from 'substantial' to 'severe' following the explosion which happened just before 11am on Sunday - moments before the two-minute silence for Remembrance Day was held.
The change was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel due to it being the second terror attack within the space of a month, following the tragic killing of MP Sir David Amess in Essex.
Mr Hinds told LBC this morning: "We don't want people to be alarmed, it's not about changing your daily life, but it means having heightened alert."
He added: "You shouldn’t be surprised if in busy places there's an increase in visible uniform presence.
"[The alert level has] been high for a very long time, there has been a constant threat, a constant presence of people plotting and planning and 31 late-stage plots have been disrupted over the last few years."
Speaking to broadcasters yesterday, Ms Patel said: "The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, Jtac, are now increasing the United Kingdom's threat level from substantial to severe.
"And there's a reason for that, and that reason is because what we saw yesterday is the second incident in a month."
There is still a large number of officers at multiple sites in Liverpool - including the hospital, Rutland Avenue and Sutcliffe Street.
Cordons remain in place and a controlled explosion was carried out at Sefton Park on Monday evening.
The taxi driver, named locally as David Perry, has been discharged from hospital, in what his wife described as a "miracle".
The chief executive of Liverpool Women's Hospital has since paid tribute to staff and emergency service workers following the weekend explosion.
In a statement, Kathryn Thomson said the last two days had been "extremely upsetting and traumatising" for people associated with the hospital.
She added: "I am so proud to be chief executive of Liverpool Women's Hospital and to have so many brave and dedicated colleagues who have worked during the most upsetting of circumstances to keep our patients safe - in particular, the members of staff and public who were first at the scene of the incident and came to people's aid.
"Thank you also to Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and all other emergency services and agencies who have supported the trust throughout this incident and helped to keep everyone safe.
"We would like to send our best wishes to the taxi driver who was involved in the incident and wish him a speedy recovery - Liverpool Women's is thinking of you."
She added that despite security and police on site, services are now running "as close to normal as can be expected".