Emad Al Swealmeen: who is Liverpool taxi terror suspect, was he Christian - and what was his nationality?

Suspected bomber Al Swealmeen is said to have detonated a homemade bomb in the back of Davi

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Newly obtained court documents confirm, that Liverpool bomber Emad Al Swealmeen’s asylum claim was dismissed more than six years before he tried to carry out the attack.

Al Swealmeen died from the blast and subsequent fire after his homemade bomb detonated in a taxi outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital shortly before 11am on 14 November 2021.

The Iraqi-born 32-year-old falsely claimed to be of Syrian heritage in asylum applications.

He came to the UK in May 2014 legally, with a Jordanian passport and UK visa but his asylum claim was rejected, a coroner’s court heard last month.

He challenged the Home Office’s decision at the time by lodging an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber, but this was dismissed in 2015, a copy of the ruling obtained following requests from the BBC and The Times show.

The decision dated 16 April of that year, after a hearing in Manchester three days earlier, detailed how Al Swealmeen had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Home Office officials decided he had not established a “well-founded fear of persecution so that he did not qualify for asylum” and had not demonstrated “substantial grounds” to qualify for humanitarian protection.

He had been informed of the “decision to remove him from the United Kingdom”, the court papers said.

But who was Emad Al Swealmeen, and what do we know about him?

Who was Emad Al Swealmeen?

Al Swealmeen was born in Iraq, and moved to the UK several years ago, later converting to Christianity.

Born in Baghdad, he had been in prison in the Middle East for a serious assault, as well as being convicted previously in Liverpool of possession of an offensive weapon.

He was still a practising Muslim despite converting to Christianity once in the UK, the coroner’s court was told.

He lived at Home Office-provided accommodation in Sutcliffe Street, in the Kensington area of Liverpool, but since April had rented a self-contained flat in Rutland Avenue, the inquest heard.

Described as artistic and a motor racing fan, Al Swealmeen was reported to have changed his name to Enzo – after the renowned racing driver Enzo Ferrari.

Christian volunteers Malcolm and Elizabeth Hitchcott said they had briefly taken him in to live in their home in Liverpool.

Mr Hitchcott said the suspect had first come to Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral in 2015 and wanted to convert from Islam to Christianity.

What else do we know?

(Image: NationalWorld/JPIMedia)(Image: NationalWorld/JPIMedia)
(Image: NationalWorld/JPIMedia)

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson, from Counter Terrorism Police North West previously told journalists the explosive device had been “manufactured”, and the force’s assumption was that it was built by Al Swealmeen in the taxi.

In an update issued in November, he said that Al Swealmeen had rented a property in Liverpool seven months ago and had started making “relevant purchases” for his homemade bomb “at least” since April 2021.

“A complex picture is emerging over the purchases of the component parts of the device, we know that Al Swealmeen rented the property from April this year and we believe relevant purchases have been made at least since that time,” he said.

His inquest revealed he bought 2,000 ball bearings and rented a “bomb-making factory” to manufacture a device with “murderous intent”.

Are there any other suspects?

Four men arrested in connection with the incident under terrorism laws in the Kensington area of Liverpool were released from police custody following interviews.

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