POLICE have carried out a "controlled explosion" in a field near a "bomb factory" house linked to the taxi bomber.
A "controlled explosion" was carried out in Sefton Park as inquiries continued into the bomb blast at Liverpool Women's Hospital.
Multiple witnesses reported seeing the operation unfold this evening as cops continue to work inside the cordoned-off area.
A property on nearby Rutland Avenue is still being searched by counter-terror officers.
Armed police swooped on the hospital just before 11am yesterday after the blast in a car park.
Police confirmed today the horror is being treated as a terror incident.
Cops believe they know the identity of the bomber – who died in the blast – but no details have so far been released.
He was not on any MI5 watchlist and is believed to be from the Middle East, The Telegraph reports.
Three suspects – aged 29, 26 & 21 – were arrested yesterday under the Terrorism Act.
What we know so far…
- A terrorist was killed and taxi driver injured in a car bomb blast at Liverpool Women's Hospital yesterday
- Hero cabbie Dave Perry locked the passenger in the taxi to prevent further disaster
- The horror is being treated as a terrorist incident but the motive is unclear
- Four people have been arrested on suspicion of terror offences
- The bomb was homemade and manufactured 'by the passenger in the taxi'
- Boris Johnson will chair an emergency Cobra meeting today as the terror threat is raised to the second highest level of 'severe'
It was confirmed a fourth man, 20, was held today by officers with all four suspects to be quizzed by counter-terrorism officers this afternoon.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, Counter Terrorism North West, said the bomber was picked up in Rutland Avenue just before 11am.
He then asked to be taken to Liverpool Women's Hospital, which is around ten minutes away.
As the taxi approached the hospital, the explosion tore through the car and engulfed it in a fireball – killing him and injuring cabbie Dave Perry.
ACC Jackson told a press conference he has spoken with Dave, who described the drive to hospital as "unremarkable".
Officers are still trying to establish a motive for the terror blast and said the investigation is "continuing at pace".
ACC Jackson said they “cannot at this time draw any connection” with Remembrance Sunday events nearby but confirmed it is a line of inquiry.
🔵 Read our Liverpool explosion live blog for the latest updates
The officer added: "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.
"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.
"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."
The officer confirmed two addresses in the city have been searched as a result of the investigation.
Three of the suspects were arrested yesterday at Sutcliffe Street in the Kensington area of Liverpool, while today's arrest was made in the same area.
Cops have found "significant items" at a home searched in Rutland Avenue with eight families living nearby evacuated.
ACC Jackson said he believes the arrested men are "associates" of the taxi passenger.
They are now looking at telephone records and purchases made by the terrorist, who has been linked to both addresses being searched.
Sharon Cullen was evacuated with her family last night as armed cops swooped on her street.
She said: "The police pounded on my door and an officer said 'we need to get you out of the house as soon as possible'.
"They said 'whatever is going on at the back of the house, it could blow the block'.
"It was really frightening."
Merseyside Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said there is no "specific threat" to the area but patrols will be ramped up.
She also urged people to "remain calm" but "vigilant and alert".
Dramatic pictures showed the car on fire just inches from the main entrance to the hospital, where 30 babies are born each day.
Shocking footage also revealed the moment the taxi exploded in a fireball just seconds after pulling up outside the hospital.
Hero cabbie Dave was injured after he leapt from the burning taxi and locked the suspect in the back.
His brave actions meant the male passenger carrying the bomb was the only person killed.
Dad-of-two Dave has been released from hospital and is now recovering at home.
Boris Johnson today praised the cabbie, saying he acted with “incredible presence of mind and bravery”.
The PM chaired an emergency Cobra meeting following the blast as Britain's terror threat was raised to "severe".
He said “the British people will never be cowed by terrorism”, adding: “We will never give in to those who seek to divide us with senseless acts of violence.”
Staff were forced to evacuate some patients after the blast and transfer them to other hospitals as the Army bomb squad sealed off the area.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital announced visiting access is restricted "until further notice" and patients will be sent to other medical facilities "where possible".
A spokesperson said staff will be reviewing "patient activity for the next 24 to 48 hours" and assured support is available for anyone impacted by the incident.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital featured on hit Channel 4 series One Born Every Minute and sees 500,000 patients a year.
The hospital — where Coleen Rooney gave birth to her four sons — has around 1,350 staff who work there.
Anyone with information can call police on 0161 856 1027 quoting Liverpool Womens Hospital incident.
More to follow…
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