Extremists ‘may have groomed Liverpool bomber to atone for changing religion’

Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, who was killed when his bomb went off, formally switched faiths in 2017 at a cathedral less than a mile from where he died on Poppy Day

The Liverpool hospital bomber may have been convinced by radical Islamists to carry out the terror attack to atone for his conversion to Christianity, it is claimed.

Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, formally switched faiths in 2017 at a cathedral less than a mile from where he died on Poppy Day.

It claimed that counter-terror police are now probing whether extremists used his conversion to groom the suspect – also known as Enzo Almeni – but warned answers could take weeks.

A source is reported as saying: “Investigators are considering if fundamentalist preyed on the bomber’s sense of guilt after converting to Christianity and that the only way he could seek forgiveness was to become a suicide bomber.”

Investigators believed it is highly unlikely that Al Swealmeen was not helped in making the bomb or planning the attack, the insider added to i.

Police are currently concentrating on the bomber’s rented flat in Rutland Avenue, Liverpool, by Sefton Park.

MPs on Tuesday suggested that triacetone triperoxide – known as TATP or “Mother of Satan” – was the explosive substance used.

TATP was used in the 2015 Paris attacks, the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 and the failed Parsons Green Underground attack the same year. Video of the Liverpool blast suggests that the detonator exploded but that the main device failed to trigger.

Home Office Minister Damian Hinds said on a visit to Liverpool there was no evidence of a “terrorist cell” in the city.

Four men aged 20, 21, 26 and 29 arrested under terrorism laws in the Kensington area of Liverpool have now been released.

Mr Hinds said: “There’s nobody else being sought at the moment by police. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be, further down the line.”

The taxi in which Al Swealmeen was taken to Liverpool Women’s Hospital was driven by David Perry, who has been hailed as hero for his actions.

A male and female officer went to his terraced home in the north of the city on Tuesday.

A source close to the driver has told the Mirror the bomber only spoke two words – “Women’s hospital” – during the seven-minute journey shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

He said David was briefly knocked out by the blast, which blew out his windscreen.

The source added: “He woke up leaning on the steering wheel.

“He was trapped and then saw flames coming through the two seats. He couldn’t get his seatbelt off so had to climb out of it.”

David scrambled free seconds before his car went up in flames.