Liverpool bomber a Ramadan regular at his local mosque

From the Telegraph

We got lucky, say investigators who believe Liverpool bomb was set off by accident

The terrorist bomb detonated at a Liverpool hospital may have gone off when it was “jostled” as the taxi in which the bomber was travelling came to a stop, with investigators admitting: “We got lucky.”

A search of Emad al-Swealmeen’s home and an examination of his online purchases showed he was attempting to build a sophisticated, powerful bomb that would have caused “damage, death and destruction” on a huge scale.

The Telegraph can also reveal that the 32-year-old, who converted to Christianity, was seen at his local mosque every day during Ramadan in April, around the same time time he began constructing his bomb.

Sources claim the Iraqi-born asylum seeker attended the mosque “all day every day” during the religious festival and was seen praying with a fellow Muslim a week before the attack. The four men arrested on Sunday have been released after questioning; the authorities don’t seem to think that they were a cell handling al-Swealmeen which was my initial thought. I still wouldn’t be surprised if they knew more that then have so far revealed. 

The revelation will further fuel suspicion that Swealmeen’s conversion to Christianity four years ago was a ploy to help him persuade the Home Office to let him stay in the UK.

Counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies remain unclear as to Swealmeen’s intended target – either the Liverpool Women’s Hospital where the explosion occurred or the Remembrance Sunday service at Liverpool Cathedral, under a mile away.

They increasingly believe it was an Islamist attack although they cannot rule out that the state of the terrorist’s mental health may also have played a part. A source said: “Methodology wise, this attack is entirely jihadist – but we have an open mind as to what precisely was motivating him. If he built a much more destructive device then the detonation looks accidental. It looks lucky.”

Police have uncovered at least two types of explosives in Swealmeen’s flat, and chemicals purchased online suggest he had built a sophisticated detonator intended to set off a much larger bomb.

Evidence uncovered so far suggests Swealmeen’s device was smaller than the bomb constructed by Salman Abedi, the Manchester Arena suicide bomber who murdered 22 people and wounded hundreds more. One likelihood is that the bomb was being constructed using the HMTD high explosive, similar to that used in the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005.

A source said it appeared Swealmeen had built a primer and a secondary explosive, using two different chemical explosives purchased on the internet. Intelligence agencies are scouring for any associates who might also be involved but currently believe he was acting alone and in all likelihood found plans to construct the bomb online.

On Wednesday, police confirmed that a post-mortem examination showed Swealmeen had died as a result of injuries sustained from fire and explosion.

In January this year, he lodged a fresh application (for asylum. Earlier appication(s) were rejected because the Home Office didn’t believe his claim to be Syrian when he is Iraqi) with the Home Office, using his new name and arguing that his Christian faith would lead to his persecution if returned to the Middle East. That application was still being processed at the weekend when he blew himself up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.


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