UK Identifies Terror Suspect After blowing Himself Up
Thirty-two-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen has been identified as the suspected terrorist who blew himself up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital at the weekend .
Counter-Terrorism Police North West said they “strongly believe” Mr Al Swealmeen was the passenger who died when a taxi exploded shortly before 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
They previously said he was picked up in the Rutland Avenue area of the city and asked to be taken to the hospital.
As the car reached the hospital’s passenger drop-off point, it exploded.
Searches are underway at the Rutland Avenue address and the second address in Sutcliffe Street, which officers have said Mr Al Swealmeen previously lived.
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“Our inquiries are very much ongoing, but at this stage, we strongly believe that the deceased is 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen. Al Swealmeen is connected to both the Rutland Avenue and Sutcliffe Street addresses, where searches are still ongoing,” Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Meeks said. “We believe he lived at the Sutcliffe Street address for some time and had recently rented the Rutland Avenue address. Our focus is the Rutland Avenue address, where we have continued to recover significant items.
Mr Meeks added, “We continue to appeal for any information about this incident. Now that we have released his name, any information that the public may have about Al Swealmeen, no matter how small, may be of great assistance to us.”
Detectives declared it a terrorist attack but said the motive was unclear. The UK terror threat level was raised to severe, meaning a future attack is highly likely.
Four men arrested under terrorism laws in the Kensington area of Liverpool – three aged 21, 26 and 29, who were held on Sunday, and a man aged 20 who was detained on Monday – have now been released from police custody the following interview, Counter Terrorism Police North West said on Monday night.
MI5 is assisting the police with the investigation.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, also from Counter-Terrorism Policing North West, previously told journalists at Merseyside Police headquarters that the “improvised” explosive device had been “manufactured,” adding the force’s assumption was that it was built by the suspect in the taxi.
Official sources previously confirmed that the suspect was not previously known to the security services.
According to reports, Mr Al Swealmeen converted to Christianity after moving to the UK from the Middle East and was later briefly taken in by Christian volunteers Malcolm and Elizabeth Hitchcott in Liverpool.
Speaking to the BBC, Elizabeth Hitchcott said, “We’re just so, so sad. We just loved him. He was a lovely guy.”
Questioned if the couple were shocked by the incident, she added: “Very.”
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The driver of the cab, named locally as David Perry, was treated in hospital after fleeing the car just before it burst into flames and has been discharged.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised him for behaving with “incredible presence of mind and bravery” and was lauded for his “heroic efforts” by the mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson.
Speaking at a press conference at Downing Street, Mr Johnson said the blast was a “stark reminder” to the public to remain vigilant, adding: “What yesterday showed above all is that the British people will never be cowed by terrorism. We will never give in to those who seek to divide us with senseless acts of violence.”
He was set to host an emergency Cobra meeting on Monday in response to the incident.
On Monday afternoon, a controlled explosion was carried out in Sefton Park “as a precaution” as part of the investigation, police said.
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Police Fine British Prime Minister For Not Wearing Seatbelt In Car
The British Police have fined Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a moving car while on a trip to northern England.
Sunak, who recorded an Instagram video on Thursday, was seen turning in his seat to talk to the camera without a seatbelt on, a video that has now been deleted from the social media site.
The PM’s office at Downing Street said the incident was a “brief error of judgment”, but Lancashire constabulary announced they were fining Sunak for the infraction, The Guardian UK says.
The force said: “You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seatbelt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.
“After looking into this matter, we have today issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”
Reacting, a spokesperson for Sunak said: “The prime minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.”
A fixed penalty means Sunak can pay a fine to avoid a court hearing.
The police did not disclose how much they had fined the prime minister, but according to the government’s safety campaign, any driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt is breaking the law and is liable to be fined up to £500 if the case goes to court, according to The Guardian UK.
Sunak’s transportation habits were already a talking point in the United Kingdom before the incident, a report by AFP says.
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His political rivals have taken aim at his use of a private jet to make multiple short flights in recent days.
This is not the first time Sunak has been slapped with a police fine.
He was fined while serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer for attending a Downing Street party in June 2020 that violated the government’s rules on social distancing, according to an AFP report.
The latest fine makes Sunak the second Conservative prime minister to receive a police fine in less than 12 months. The Metropolitan police, in 2020, issued a fixed-penalty notice to Boris Johnson for attending a party during lockdown. Sunak was fined for attending the same event as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
World’s Oldest Nun Dies At 118
French nun Sister André who was the world’s oldest known person died at age 118 in the southern French city of Toulon, the city’s mayor Hubert Falco said on Wednesday.
Born in the southern French town of Ales on Feb. 11, 1904, as Lucile Randon, Sister André was listed as the oldest person alive by the Gerontology Research Group in April 2022.
The Frenchwoman worked as a home teacher in her youth and did not enter a religious community until she was in her early 40s.
Most recently, Sister André was confined to a wheelchair, and for several years she could no longer see properly.
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She was an honorary citizen of Toulon, where she lived in a retirement home for several years.
Falco praised her as incredibly modern and a nun with a big heart.
Guinness World Records said Lucile, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, was the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded.
More recently, Sister André received the record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor after an infection in 2021.
“It’s difficult to fathom that someone born before the patenting of plastic, zips or even bras were alive well into the 21st century, and robust enough to beat COVID-19’’, the Guinness World Records editor, Craig Glenday said in a statement.
“It’s been an honour to record her story in the pages of the Guinness World Records book, and she will live on in history as the fourth oldest person ever authenticated.’’
With her death, Maria Branyas Morera, who lived in Spain, assumed the title of the world’s oldest person at age 115.
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Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party
Eight people were shot at a block party packed with more than 1,000 people celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Fort Pierce, Florida, Monday, police said.
All eight of those shot were adults and they were ferried to the hospital for treatment, including one person in critical condition, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Hester said during a news conference.
Six people, including a baby, were killed in a ‘massacre’ that is likely gang-related, California sheriff’s office says.
At least four others were injured as people ran for safety, the sheriff’s office said. One of those injured was a juvenile who was hurt as people rushed to flee the park where the event was being held, Hester said.
“As the shots rang out, people were just running in all directions,” Hester said. “There were people laying behind cars, laying behind anything they could lay behind. It was kind of hard to tell who was a victim and who was just hiding at that point.”
The shooting began at around 5:20 p.m. in Ilous Ellis Park, he said, where the community had gathered for an afternoon car show, dance performances, live DJ and kids activities to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an event flyer shows.
In a video taken by a witness, attendees are seen dancing by their cars and enjoying the music when what sounds like gunfire begins to resonate over the song. People in the crowd start to rush away from the noise, some ducking behind cars or grabbing children’s hands and running across the street.
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The incident marks the 30th mass shooting in the country this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
So far this year, the US is averaging about two mass shootings per day.
Two sheriff’s deputies who were stationed in the park ran toward the scene and provided aid to those injured, Hester said. Several witnesses also helped to render aid and drive people to the hospital, he added.
The sheriff’s office has not named any suspects in the shooting, but investigators were following up on several leads from witnesses and community members Monday night.
Investigators preliminarily believe the gunfire involved multiple shooters and resulted from “a disagreement of some sort between two parties,” Hester said.
“So many innocent people that were injured or hurt were not part of the disagreement,” he added.
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“It’s really unfortunate and it’s sad that during a celebration of someone who represented peace and equality, a disagreement results in a use of guns and violence,” Hester said.
He estimated as many as 40 sheriff’s office personnel were working the case Monday night as they processed the scene, spoke to victims at the hospital and followed up on leads.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact authorities or submit anonymous tips through CrimeStoppers. The sheriff’s department is handling the case because the Ilous Ellis Park is a St. Lucie County park.
Fort Pierce is a coastal city about an hour’s drive north of West Palm Beach.
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