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UK police release 4 men arrested after Liverpool taxi bombing

Emergency services outside Liverpool Women's Hospital in Liverpool, England, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Emergency services outside Liverpool Women's Hospital in Liverpool, England, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

LONDON — A suspected bomber who died when his homemade device exploded in a taxi outside a Liverpool hospital was an asylum-seeker from the Middle East who had converted from Islam to Christianity, British police, church officials and others say today.

Police say 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen was killed when a blast ripped through the vehicle as it pulled up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday morning. The taxi driver was injured.

Police have called the blast a terrorist act and believe the dead man built the bomb, but they are still working to determine his motive, how the attack was planned and whether anyone else was involved.

Four men in their 20s who had been detained under the Terrorism Act as part of the investigation were released late yesterday. Russ Jackson, the head of counterterrorism policing for northwest England, says “following interviews with the arrested men, we are satisfied with the accounts they have provided and they have been released from police custody.”

Jackson says police now had “a much greater understanding of the component parts of the device, how they were obtained and how the parts are likely to have been assembled.” But he says “there is a considerable way to go to understand how this incident was planned, prepared for and how it happened.”

Security Minister Damian Hinds says police need “time and space” to investigate.

“There’s always the possibility that further links can be detected,” Hinds tells the BBC. “People sometimes talk about lone wolves and so on — people are rarely totally alone because they talk to others and so on.”

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