Liverpool bomb was made using homemade explosives with ball bearings | UK News

The suspected Liverpool suicide bomber wrapped his homemade explosive device with ball bearings to cause maximum death and injury, police said.

Emad al-Swealmeen, 32, died on Sunday when a taxi he had hired drove to Liverpool Women’s Hospital and exploded outside the entrance.

An intensive investigation by the counterterrorism police and MI5 currently leads investigators to believe:

  • Swealmeen personally purchased items for the home bomb from shops in Liverpool for several months.

  • He also owned several phones and devices and used them to purchase items for the explosive device online.

  • Part of the device contained the HMTD homemade explosive, used in some previous devices such as the one used in the bombs of July 7, 2005 to attack the London transport system. It is believed that other homemade explosives were also in the device.

  • Swealmeen, who had applied for asylum after arriving in the UK, had shown signs that he was following his birth religion Islam again after participating in conversion to Christianity ceremonies in 2015 and 2017.

  • He used his birth name as well as the name he took on his conversion to Christianity, Enzo Almeni, and other pseudonyms to make the purchases needed to build the improvised explosive device.

Police said it was possible that the homemade bomb had detonated due to “vehicle movement or stopping”, and therefore before Swealmeen intended to detonate it.

The explosion was declared a terrorist incident but more than five days later, police cannot say what ideology or cause spurred the attack.

It is very unusual not to find any evidence of ideology after several days of investigating terrorism. But the nature of the device, with ball bearings meant to turn into shrapnel, is seen as a clear sign of murderous intent.

Relatives of Swealmeen, who is from the Middle East, have been found by investigators and have given details of his life, as have others who knew him.

Russ Jackson, deputy police chief and chief of the counterterrorism police in the northwest, said: “The officers spoke with al-Swealmeen’s brother last night. [Thursday] and it gave us a glimpse into his early years and an understanding of al-Swealmeen’s life and recent state of mind, which is an important avenue of investigation.

Jackson said examining what was left in the cab and two Liverpool addresses linked to Swealmeen began to give police clues as to the nature of the bomb and how it was assembled. Jackson said, “It was made using homemade explosives and had ball bearings that would have acted like shrapnel. Had it exploded under different circumstances, we believe it would have caused serious injury or death. “

Investigators are unsure of the target, but believed it was the maternity hospital rather than a Remembrance Day event within a mile of where the taxi pulled up just before 11:00.

Jackson said, “We still don’t know how or why the device exploded when it did, but we don’t rule out that it was completely unintentional, and it’s possible that the vehicle’s movement or stopped have caused ignition. We spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand how the ingredient purchases were made to make the device. It’s complicated because the purchases lasted several months and al-Swealmeen used many pseudonyms.

Police have so far found no evidence that anyone else was involved. Four men who were arrested by counterterrorism detectives have been eliminated as suspects.

The explosion and revelations that someone had been plotting since April to attack the north-west sparked concern in the region, where in 2017 the Manchester Arena bombing killed 22 people. Jackson tried to reassure: “We found no connection between this incident and the terrible events in Manchester in May 2017. The device was also different from the one used in the attack on Manchester Arena.”

Police said Swealmeen had experienced episodes of poor mental health and was still trying to figure out what role this played in the attack.

The taxi driver who was driving Swealmeen fled the taxi after the aircraft exploded.

The explosion, the second incident to be declared a terrorist in a month after the murder of MP Sir David Amess, has led to a high level of terrorist threat in the UK, meaning an attack is very likely.

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