Poppy Day suicide bomber ‘targeted women and babies’ to inflict ‘maximum carnage’: NHS is warned to review security measures in wake of terror attack outside Liverpool maternity hospital
- Anti-terror source said attack ‘aimed at many casualties’ inside the hospital
- Came as NHS workers told to ‘remain vigilant’ and learn security arrangements
- They have also been invited to attend a free ‘action counters terrorism’ course
Poppy Day suicide bomber Emad Al Swealmeen targeted women and babies at a maternity hospital to try and cause as many deaths as possible, terror experts fear.
Enzo Almeni, 32, was killed after a homemade ball-bearing device exploded inside a taxi he rode to Liverpool Women’s Hospital just seconds before the 11am minute’s silence.
The Syrian refugee, who moved to the UK from the Middle East several years ago and later converted to Christianity, was thwarted by the explosive only partially detonating.
Hospitals were urged to review their security measures last night after the Liverpool bomb attack
Enzo Almeni, 32, was killed after a homemade ball-bearing device exploded inside a taxi he rode to Liverpool Women’s Hospital just seconds before the 11am minute’s silence
Today, a senior former intelligence source told The Mirror: ‘The bomber intended to enter the hospital and trigger his device, but for some reason it went off early and failed properly to initiate.
‘Had he successfully set off the bomb inside it would have been extremely bloody and horrific.
‘We believe this was a partial explosion, clearly from a device at high-chest level, aimed at causing many casualties.’
Hospitals were urged to review their security measures last night after the Liverpool bomb attack.
Although there is nothing to suggest any linked attacks are planned, bosses at England’s 213 NHS trusts have been told to make sure staff are aware of what to do in the event of a terrorist incident.
In an email to staff at a London hospital, seen by the Daily Mail, workers have been told to ‘remain vigilant’ and familiarise themselves with existing security arrangements.
They have also been invited to attend a free ‘action counters terrorism’ course.
Similar guidance is being sent to staff at hundreds of hospitals in England – but NHS England stressed this is standard procedure when the UK’s terror threat level is raised.
The Liverpool bombing comes months after Islamic State called for attacks on NHS trusts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Protective security advice was distributed to NHS trusts by counter-terrorism officers last year amid fears extremists planned to exploit lockdown to radicalise new recruits.
Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, the national co-ordinator for the Prevent counter-extremism programme, warned that supporters of the terror group were ‘encouraging people to target the places that appear most vulnerable’.
Although there is nothing to suggest any linked attacks are planned, bosses at England’s 213 NHS trusts have been told to make sure staff are aware of what to do in the event of a terrorist incident
During lockdown, hospitals became some of the most crowded places in the country while tourist attractions and public areas were practically deserted.
Mr Adams said in April last year that jihadis were calling for attacks on hospitals in the hope that police and security services would be ‘distracted and overwhelmed’.
He said: ‘We’re seeing the exploitation of the circumstances to encourage acts of violence.
‘We are working closely with colleagues across the Five Eyes [intelligence alliance] countries, with academics and community advisory networks to monitor how that information is playing out, and making sure that protective security advice is being adapted for the places that might be considered more vulnerable now.’
In September the head of MI5 warned Britain could face a ‘spectacular’ attack like 9/11 after the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Ken McCallum, director general of the Security Service, said his staff were braced for an ‘increase in inspired terrorism’ and the ‘potential regrowth of Al Qaeda-style directed plots’ after the Taliban took over the country.