Lhe United Kingdom raised the level of the terrorist threat on British soil to “serious” on Monday, after the explosion of a taxi in Liverpool (northern England), qualified as a “terrorist act” by the police .
This attack, which killed one – its presumed perpetrator – is a reminder of “the need for each of us to remain vigilant”, declared Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference, stressing that “the British people do not will never be intimidated by terrorism”.
“We will never give in to those who want to divide us,” he added.
This increase in the threat level means that the authorities consider a terrorist attack “highly probable”, according to the official classification.
Four men? aged 20 to 29? have been arrested since the taxi bomb exploded outside a women’s hospital in Liverpool on Sunday, police said, citing a “terrorist act” on Monday but saying his motive “remains to be determined”.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was the second attack in a month, following the October 15 murder of MP David Amess while on parliamentary duty some 60 miles from London. Its alleged perpetrator was charged with murder and preparation of terrorist acts.
Investigators believe the Liverpool explosive device was ‘made’ by the taxi passenger, who died in the blast.
“Controlled explosion” and searches
Police carried out a “controlled explosion” on Monday “as a precaution”, as well as searches at two addresses in Liverpool. At one of them, Rutland Avenue, “significant items have been found and further searches will be required today and potentially in the coming days,” police said.
The passenger had taken the taxi in this avenue, asking the driver to take him to the women’s hospital, located ten minutes away by car.
It was in front of this establishment that the explosion occurred on Sunday morning, when the United Kingdom commemorated the victims of wars, on the occasion of “Remembrance Sunday”.
It happened just before 11:00 a.m., when the nation gathered in silence, and a few hundred meters from Liverpool Cathedral where hundreds of soldiers, veterans and members of the public were gathered.
“We can’t establish a link at this time, but it’s an avenue of investigation that we are exploring,” Russ Jackson, the region’s counterterrorism police officer, said during Monday’s press conference. of these commemorations.
He said investigators believed they knew the identity of the passenger killed but did not wish to reveal it at this time.
Injured in the blast, the taxi driver was branded a “hero” by politicians and tabloids who claimed he had helped prevent deaths.
“It appears the taxi driver in question behaved with incredible presence of mind and bravery,” Boris Johnson said.
According to The Daily Mail, the driver judged that his passenger looked “suspicious” and locked him in the taxi, before escaping.
“The taxi driver, in his heroic efforts, managed to avert what could have been an absolutely horrific disaster at the hospital,” Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson told the BBC, confirming he had “locked down the doors” of the vehicle.
He has since left the hospital where he was being treated, according to police.
The counter-terrorism police are in charge of the investigation with the support of the intelligence service MI5.
The local police had explained that they had been alerted around 11 a.m. and had immediately intervened.
Footage showed wide gray smoke billowing from the scene of the explosion and a charred vehicle.
Phil Garrigan, the Merseyside Fire Chief, said the fire in the vehicle was “fully developed” when rescue vehicles arrived.
The police urged the population to “remain calm but vigilant”.
15/11/2021 20:11:30 – Liverpool (AFP) – © 2021 AFP