- BBC News World
The British police are investigating as a “terrorist incident” the explosion of a taxi registered on Sunday in front of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital in which one man died and for which four others have been arrested.
The event, whose circumstances are not yet clear, It happened before 11 in the morning, when the vehicle with a passenger stopped in front of the building and after a few minutes exploded.
The passenger, whose identity has not been released by the police, was pronounced dead on the spot.
And the driver, identified by the British media as David Perry, was admitted to hospital with minor injuries and after remaining stable, he was discharged on Monday.
His “heroic efforts averted what could have been a terrible disaster,” said city mayor Joanne Anderson. And he praised him for having “locked the doors” of the vehicle before the explosion.
The anti-terrorist unit of the police took over the investigations from the beginning, but it was not until this Monday that one of its leaders, Russ Jackson, reported that the main hypothesis it is that it is a “terrorist incident”.
On Sunday the authorities detained three men aged 21, 26 and 29 for his alleged link with the event and this Monday it was confirmed a fourth arrest, that of a 20-year-old in Kensington.
The MI5, the British intelligence service, is also assisting in the investigations of the incident, which took place shortly before the two-minute silence of the so-called Remembrance Sunday, which pays tribute to the British fallen in conflict.
Investigators say Perry picked up the passenger in the Rutland area and took him to the hospital, where an explosion occurred.
“The reason why he took her to the Women’s Hospital is unknown, as well as the reason for the sudden explosion,” Russ Jackson, police chief of the North West England anti-terrorist unit, a region in the region, told a news conference on Monday. which belongs to Liverpool.
However, what does appear is that it was due to a “improvised explosive device” the passenger was carrying, Jackson added.
He also said that they take into account the commemorative events of Remembrance Sunday. Although “at this time we cannot establish any connection, it is a line of investigation that we are following.”
Researchers they still do not rule out any hypotheses about the causes.
Armed agents raided several properties in the Kensington area, specifically on Rutland Avenue near Sefton Park, and on Sutcliffe and Boaler streets.
And specialized detectives continue this Monday outside a house on Rutland Avenue, which the police link to the explosion.
Police negotiators are in this location, the fire team remains alert and several residents have been evacuated.
The area remains cordoned off.
“We saw a burning car and someone came out screaming”
Carl Bessant, whose partner just had a baby, was in the hospital at the time of the blast.
“My partner is really shocked,” Carl told the BBC.
“We were close and she was feeding the baby when it happened. We heard a bang and looked out the window. We saw a burning car and someone came out screaming. Hsomeone was inside the car“.
“My thoughts are with all those affected by this horrible incident in Liverpool,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter.
“I want to thank the emergency services for their quick response and professionalism and the police for their ongoing work on this investigation,” he added.
In the scene
Jim Clarke, Deputy Editor of BBC Northwest
The first raid happened around 1:00 pm on Rutland Avenue, in the Sefton Park area of Liverpool. It is located just over a kilometer from the hospital, in an area with large Victorian houses.
The house where the police operation took place is divided into apartments. Local residents say they have not seen anyone enter or leave the property in weeks. In fact, they thought it was uninhabited.
The street is still cordoned off and some residents have been evacuated.
There are also police officers on Boaler Street in the Kensington area, located about a mile from the hospital.
Eyewitnesses on the street said armed police arrived around 2:00 pm and raided a house.
They added that they saw arrested and handcuffed men who were led by armed officers to a car.
That street also remains cordoned off.
Merseyside Police Chief Serena Kennedy sought to reassure citizens, explaining that these types of events are very rare and that there would be an increase in the police presence in the streets in the coming days.
This Monday, in addition, he called to ignore speculation and to attend to the information offered by the police.
Police were alerted to the car explosion at 10:59 am Sunday.
Phil Garrigan, chief of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said by the time they arrived shortly after 11:00 am. the vehicle was on fire.
“The operational brigades quickly extinguished the fire but there was a mortal victim“he added.
“Another individual had abandoned the car before the fire evolved. Our thoughts are with them and with their relatives.”
Nick Aldworth, a former counterterrorism adviser, said investigators are seeking to determine what happened inside the vehicle.
“They will be looking at what kind of damage has been done, trying to get an assessment of what that explosion may have caused,” he told the show. Today from BBC Radio 4.
Aldworth explained that it was common that are investigations are linked to “terrorism“ quicklyas it provides researchers with more resources from an early stage.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital said that access to visits had been restricted until further notice and, where warranted, patients had been referred to other health centers.
This center receives around 50,000 patients a year and is the largest hospital in Europe in its specialty.
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