Three arrested in Liverpool under Terrorism Act after car blast at hospital

Three men have been arrested under the Terrorism Act after a man was killed in a car explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

Counter-terrorism police said the men – aged 29, 26 and 21 – had been held in connection with the incident which happened just before 11:00 GMT.

The passenger of the car – said to be a taxi – was declared dead at the scene and is yet to be formally identified.

The male driver was injured and is in hospital in a stable condition.

Detectives from Counter Terrorism Police North West said the men were detained in the Kensington area of the city.

They added they were continuing to “keep an open mind about the cause of the explosion” and were working with Merseyside Police as the investigation continued “at pace”.

Armed officers have carried out raids on a property in Rutland Avenue near Sefton Park, and also in Boaler Street in Kensington.

Carl Bessant, who had just had a baby, was inside the hospital with his partner at the time of the blast.

“My partner is really shook up to be honest,” he said.

“We were so close and she was feeding the baby when it happened. We heard a loud bang and looked out of the window.

“We saw the car on fire and someone jump out covered in blood, screaming, and there was someone inside the car.

“The hospital shut down, no-one in or out, so they said, but people were using the back entrance.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident in Liverpool today.

“I want to thank the emergency services for their quick response and professionalism, and the police for their ongoing work on the investigation.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel also tweeted she was “being kept regularly updated on the awful incident”.

Speaking outside the hospital earlier, Chief Constable Serena Kennedy of Merseyside Police said: “The emergency services have well-rehearsed plans for dealing with major incidents. Our response is ongoing at the hospital and will be for some time.”

She added: “We would urge the public to remain calm but vigilant.”

A bomb disposal unit and fire engines attended the scene earlier, which remains cordoned off. Road closures are also in place.

Pictures of a burning car outside the hospital have been widely shared on social media.

Phil Garrigan, chief fire officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said the car fire had been “fully developed” when crews arrived shortly after 11:00.

“The operational crews extinguished the fire rapidly but… there was one fatality,” he said.

“Another individual had left the vehicle prior to the fire developing to the extent that it did. Our thoughts are with them and the families of those involved.”

Liverpool Women’s Hospital said visiting access had been restricted “until further notice” and patients had been diverted to other hospitals “where possible”.

“We are reviewing our patient activity for the next 24-48 hours and patients should wait to be contacted for updates about any planned appointments or other attendance at the hospital,” chief executive Kathryn Thomson said.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital receives about 50,000 patients annually and is the largest hospital in its specialism in Europe.

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