Statement from Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, Counter Terrorism North West
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The investigation into the explosion at the Liverpool Women's Hospital, led by Counter Terrorism Policing is continuing at pace.
The circumstances, as we understand them to be, are that yesterday shortly before 11am, a local taxi driver picked up a fare in the Rutland Avenue area of Liverpool.
The fare, a man, had asked to be taken to the Liverpool Women's Hospital which was about 10 minutes away. As the taxi approached the drop off point at the hospital, an explosion occurred from within car, which quickly engulfed it in flames.
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.
Army Ordinance Disposal officers have examined the scene at the Hospital and made the area safe.
Following discussions with Ordinance Disposal Officers, we are able to confirm that this is being treated as the ignition of an explosive device.
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.
Our enquiries have led us to two addresses.
The first was Sutcliffe Street in the Kensington area of Liverpool and at this location three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were arrested yesterday under S41 of the Terrorism Act.
A short while ago, again in the Kensington area, a further man aged 20 was arrested under S41 of the Terrorism Act.
They will be interviewed by Counter Terrorism officers later today.
The Sutcliffe Street address was searched overnight and further searches will take place today.
A second address has been searched at Rutland Avenue in Sefton Park.
At this location significant items have been found and further searches will be necessary today and potentially into the coming days.
A cordon is in place at this location and 8 families have been evacuated at this time.
The scene at the Hospital remains in place with specialist examinations ongoing.
It is not clear what the motivation for this incident is.
Our enquiries indicate that an improvised explosive device has been manufactured and our assumption so far is that this was built by the passenger in the taxi.
The reason why he then took it to the Women's Hospital is unknown, as is the reason for its sudden explosion.
We are of course aware that there were remembrance events just a short distance away from the Hospital and that the ignition occurred shortly before 11am.
We cannot at this time draw any connection with this but it is a line of inquiry we are pursuing.
Although, the motivation for this incident is yet to be understood, given all the circumstances, it has been declared a terrorist incident and Counter Terrorism Policing are continuing with the investigation.
Our enquiries will now continue to seek to understand how the device was built, the motivation for the incident and to understand if anyone else was involved in it.
We understand that this news will be of concern to the people of Liverpool and Merseyside and the rest of the UK, but it is a reminder that the threat from terrorism remains significant.
Police, with all our partners, will continue to work hard to protect the UK and keep the public safe, but countering terrorism also requires support from all corners of our society.
We have said for many years that Communities Defeat Terrorism, and the help and support we get from the public is a vital part of that. So we would urge everyone to remain vigilant, and if you do see anything suspicious then please report it, in confidence, to police via the Anti-terrorist hotline or gov.uk/ACT. It won't ruin lives, but it may well save them.
Anyone who has any information should call 0161 856 1027 quoting Liverpool Womens Hospital Incident.
Details can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.