Terror Threat Level Raised To "Severe" After COBRA Meeting On Liverpool Hospital Bomb Blast
The terror threat level has been raised from 'substantial' to 'severe' following a COBRA committee meeting which discussed the explosion outside Liverpool Women's Hospital on Remembrance Sunday.
Home secretary Priti Patel confirmed on Monday afternoon that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) had made the decision to increase the threat level following the incident.
Earlier on Monday the explosion outside the Liverpool hospital — which killed one, and injured a taxi driver — was declared a terrorist attack by officers leading the investigation.
Patel said the JTAC had taken the decision to raise the terror threat level because Sunday's attack was "the second incident in a month". In October Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death in his constituency in an incident that was later declared as terrorism.
The threat level was last raised to "severe" in November 2020 following a terrorist attacks in Vienna and Nice, but was dropped back to "substantial" in February 2021.
"We continue to work with our world class security, intelligence and policing services – representatives from those agencies," the home secretary said.
"There is a live investigation taking place right now. They will need the time and the space to do the work that they are doing in terms of investigating the incident.
"But of course we as a government, I as home secretary, continue to work with everyone when it comes to the security of our country and making sure that we are taking all the necessary steps required."
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said today that the prime minister's “thoughts remain with all those affected by the awful incident” and thanked the emergency services “for their quick response, their professionalism, and also the police for their ongoing work into this live investigation”.
Johnson is expected to make further comments on the explosion at a press conference in Downing Street this afternoon, where he will also be giving an update on the roll-out of the Covid-19 booster jabs programme.
Commenting on Sunday's attack, Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Russ Jackson from Counter-Terrorism North West said the man who died in the blast had a homemade bomb with him when he was picked up by a taxi from the Rutland Avenue area of the city.
He asked to be taken to Liverpool Women's Hospital, and as the car reached the passenger drop off point it exploded.
Four men have been arrested under terrorism laws, three aged 21, 26 and 29 who were held on Sunday, and a man aged 20 who was detained today.
ACC Jackson told a press briefing: “Remarkably, the taxi driver escaped from the cab. He has been treated for the injuries he sustained and has now been released from hospital.
"Emergency services quickly attended the scene and Merseyside Fire and Rescue put out the fire following which it quickly became apparent that the passenger remained in the vehicle and was deceased.
The army were called to the scene at the hospital and have now made the area safe.
"Following discussions with Ordnance Disposal Officers, we are able to confirm that this is being treated as the ignition of an explosive device,” ACC Jackson said.
"Our enquiries also indicate that the device was brought into the cab by the passenger.
"We believe we know the identity of the passenger but cannot confirm this at this time."
The man's motivation was "yet to be understood", Jackson added.
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