Yesterday, just before 11am local time, a suspected car bomb exploded outside a maternity hospital in the Northern English city of Liverpool. Details are still sparse and unconfirmed, but a picture seems to be emerging.
Experts on these terrorist weapons, I count myself as unlucky enough to have some experience of the things, were somewhat confused by the effect.
The primary damage was to the car involved itself, which burnt out, but with very little damage otherwise except to vehicles nearby. There was no damage, thankfully, to the hospital and casualties were one killed and one injured.
Speculation quickly turned to the theory that this was a failed attack. And now, this seems to be practically confirmed, though I should point out details are still emerging.
In fact, it wasn’t a car bomb, but a suicide attack thwarted by a brave and quick-witted taxi driver. It seems that a suicide bomber, who’s motivation at this time are not public, but I’m sure we can all guess, planned to attack the Remembrance Sunday service being held in Liverpool.
Remembrance Day occurs on the 11th of November every year to commemorate those fallen in war, but the main commemoration occurs on Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to that date. This sees those wishing to remember the fallen, many of them veterans, gather at Cenotaphs across the country to lay wreaths and hold a two-minute silence at 11am.
It was this event that the attacker wished to target. But, thankfully, he was stopped.
As said, details are still unconfirmed, but it seems the would-be attacker, wearing a suicide vest, called a taxi to take him to the memorial event being held at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. However, it seems that the cab driver at some point in the journey became suspicious and seems to have uncovered the attacker’s intentions. He then, with great presence of mind it seems, stopped the vehicle in the street, bailed out and locked the doors as he went.
The suicide bomber, no doubt realizing the game was up and unable to exit the car, detonated his vest. Trapped in the car, the explosion was largely contained and the bomber was the only fatality.
The taxi driver was injured, though from what unconfirmed reports say he is not in a serious condition and mainly suffered lacerations and damaged ear drums.
Counter Terrorism Police have since raided at least two houses in Liverpool and arrested three men in relation to the incident. The Security Service, also known as MI5, have also been called in to assist with the investigation.
Please note, some newspapers in the UK have identified the cab driver. As someone who values his own privacy, I’ll leave it to him as to whether he wants to be in the public eye or not.
But I have to say, if this is the correct version of events, I salute him for his courage and quick thinking. His actions no doubt saved lives and are a reminder that the most effective anti-terrorist measure we can take is vigilance.
The Evolution of the Suicide Car Bomb, How to Stop Them and Why Militaries Need to Think About Them