LONDON – British police say an explosion in a taxi outside a hospital that killed a man is being treated as an act of terrorism, but the motive remains unclear.
Russ Jackson, head of Counter-Terrorism Policy in North West England, said Sunday’s explosion at Liverpool Women’s Hospital involved an improvised explosive device.
“The inquiries will now continue to seek to find out how the device was built, the engine that caused the problem, and find out if anyone else was involved in it,” he said.
The male passenger in the taxi died in the explosion, the taxi driver was injured.
Three men in their 20s were arrested under the Terrorism Act.
THIS IS A HOT NEWS UPDATE. The AP’s previous story follows.
British police and intelligence agencies worked on Monday to determine if a taxi explosion outside a Liverpool hospital was a deliberate attack, as the city’s mayor said act fast. The quickness of the taxi driver averted a potential disaster.
A male passenger in a taxi was killed and its driver injured when the vehicle caught fire outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday morning. Counter-terrorism police officers are leading the investigation, but have not yet declared it a terrorist incident.
Three men in their 20s were arrested Sunday at an address in the northwestern English city under the Terrorism Act and remain in custody.
Doubts were raised by the timing of the explosion – just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday, a time when people across Britain are holding memorials for those killed in wars.
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson said the taxi driver had locked his car door so passengers could not leave.
“The taxi driver, with his heroic efforts, managed to divert what could have been an absolutely terrible disaster at the hospital,” she told the BBC.
The taxi driver, whose name has not been released, is being treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Britain’s Home Secretary, Home Secretary Priti Patel, said she was “updated regularly on the horrific incident.”
Nick Aldworth, a former senior terrorism investigator in the UK, said it was not yet clear whether the incident was terrorism. He said the taxi had suffered “a lot of damage from the fire with very little damage from the explosion.”
He said that “anything in that car is either low productivity or not working properly, or maybe a fire. So I think there’s a lot to debate at the moment about those things. what happened.”
The UK’s official threat level from terrorism stands at “substantial”, a medium on a five-point scale, meaning an attack is likely. The Joint Center for Terrorism Analysis provides intelligence-based threat levels on international terrorism at home and abroad.