Three people have been arrested by counter-terror police following a fatal car explosion outside a Liverpool hospital.
The men are aged 29, 26, and 21 according to police and were detained in the Kensington area of Liverpool before being arrested under the Terrorism Act, in connection with the explosion.
“Detectives from Counter Terrorism Police North West continue to keep an open mind about the cause of the explosion and are working closely with colleagues at Merseyside Police as the investigation continues at pace,” the police statement added.
Armed police were pictured outside a house in the city following the explosion.
Locals who spoke to the PA news service said armed officers swooped on terraced houses in Sutcliffe Street and Rutland Avenue this afternoon, where they made the arrests.
“Unfortunately, we can confirm that one person has died and another has been taken to hospital where he is being treated for his injuries, which thankfully are not life-threatening,” the force said.
A later statement confirmed that the deceased was a passenger in the car, and that the driver was injured and remains in hospital in a stable condition.
“So far we understand that the car involved was a taxi which pulled up at the hospital shortly before the explosion occurred,” the statement added.
Counter-terrorism officers are leading the investigation “out of caution” but detectives said they are keeping an “open mind” over the cause.
The hospital said visiting was being restricted until further notice, with patients diverted to other hospitals where possible.
“Patients should wait to be contacted for updates about any planned appointments or other attendance at the hospital,” it added.
A statement said ambulances were still arriving and that staff could leave and enter “under the supervision of the police”.
Phil Garrigan, chief fire officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said the blaze was “fully developed” when his crews arrived and that the injured person had escaped before it took hold.
He told reporters: “The operational crews extinguished the fire rapidly but as has been reiterated by the police chief constable, there was one fatality.
“Another individual had left the vehicle prior to the fire developing to the extent that it did.”
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson described the incident as “unsettling and upsetting”.
“My thoughts are with those affected,” she tweeted. “I’d like to thank the emergency services for their swift response and for bringing calm to the situation.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel posted to say she was being “regularly updated” on the “awful incident”.
“Our police and emergency services are working hard to establish what happened and it is right they are given the time and space to do so,” she added.
A cordon and road closures have been put in place while police examine the scene.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the awful incident in Liverpool today.
“I want to thank the emergency services for their quick response and professionalism, and the police for their ongoing work on the investigation.”
In a further statement Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “While I understand that today’s incident may cause concern in our communities, it should be pointed out that events of this nature are very rare.
“There will also be an increased and visible police presence on the streets of Merseyside and I would encourage people to engage with my officers and raise any concerns they may have.
“It is also important that, at this very early stage, people do not speculate about what has happened. We will endeavour to update our communities as soon as we are able,” the chief constable added.
Credit: Sky News (Photo Credit: Sky News)