The Liverpool hospital attacker used “many aliases” to purchase ingredients including ball bearings for his bomb, counter terrorism police have said.
Asylum seeker Emad al-Swealmeen got a taxi to Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday and the vehicle blew up just as it rolled up to the main reception at 10.59am.
Police investigating the incident on Friday suggested that the detonation of the bomb was “completely unintentional” and could have been caused by the taxi coming to a stop.
“Had it detonated in different circumstances we believe it would have caused significant injury or death,” Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, Head of Counter Terrorism Police North West said.
ACC Jackson confirmed that police have spoken to al-Swealmeen’s brother, who has provided “an insight into his early years and an understanding of Al Swealmeen’s life and his recent state of mind”.
Ball bearings were also used in the bombs detonated on the 7/7 London attacks and the 2013 Boston marathon.
In a statement released this morning, ACC Jackson said: “We continue to make significant progress in relation to the CT incident at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
“Officers spoke with the brother of Al Swealmeen yesterday evening and this has given us an insight into his early years and an understanding of Al Swealmeen’s life and his recent state of mind which is an important line of investigation. We are grateful for members of the public who knew him and have contacted us.
“Although there is much scientific work to do on the device to determine what made it up, we have learned a great deal over the past five days.
“It was made using homemade explosive and had ball bearings attached to it which would have acted as shrapnel. Had it detonated in different circumstances we believe it would have caused significant injury or death.
“We still do not know how or why the device exploded when it did, but we are not discounting it being completely unintentional, and it is a possibility that the movement of the vehicle or its stopping caused the ignition.
“We are spending considerable time seeking to understand the way the purchases for the ingredients to make the device were made. This is complicated because purchases have spanned many months and Al Swealmeen has used many aliases.
“We are confident however that in time we will get a full picture of what purchases were made and how, and if anyone else was involved or knew what Al Swealmeen was up to.
“We have found no connection between this incident and the terrible events of Manchester in May 2017. The device was also different to the one used in the Manchester Arena attack.
“The investigation is still moving at a very fast pace and will continue into the weekend and the coming weeks.”