Liverpool hospital bombing: Emad Al-Swealmeen told web of lies to stay in UK

The suicide bomber who was thwarted outside a busy British hospital had lied to officials for years to stay in the country.

The web of lies spun by suicide bomber Emad Al-Swealmeen was first exposed just days after he arrived in Britain seven years ago.

Damn documents today show how a single frontline immigration officer confronted him in a forensic asylum interview in May 2014, The sun reported.

But despite admitting to using a fake passport and visa from Jordan to enter the UK and having his claim rejected the following year, Al-Swealmeen was still here almost a decade later.

Following in the footsteps of other terrorists, the Memorial Day plotter was able to play through the immigration system with terrifying ease before building his bomb.

After a taxi carrying Al-Swealmeen pulled up outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital on November 11, his device accidentally exploded, killing him and injuring driver David Perry.

Counter-terrorism agents and MI5 are investigating a theory that he may have invented an emergency jump to hospital to get closer to a memorial service at nearby Liverpool Cathedral, where he converted from Islam to Christianity in 2017.

“Swealmeen hadn’t booked the taxi the night before and when he got in he asked to be rushed to the hospital. He allegedly went somewhere near the cathedral on purpose,” a source told The Telegraph.

Today, The sun reveals astonishing details of Al-Swealmeen’s “asylum screening interview” at a Home Office building in Croydon, south London.

ravaged by civil war

The 35-page dossier reveals how the bomber made up a sob story, claiming he came from war-torn Syria in an attempt to gain asylum.

Citing “psychological issues”, he insisted he would face death if he were not granted refugee status – despite having family in the stable United Arab Emirates.

Al-Swealmeen, then 25, had flown from the UAE to London on false documents just days before his whims.

During the asylum interview, he was given an Arabic translator and asked to state that he would answer all questions “completely and truthfully”.

Al-Swealmeen — whose relatives have now confirmed he was born in Iraq — told the official he was born in Syria and lived there until he was 10.

But he then claimed that he had moved to the UAE in 1999, before choosing to return to Syria in September 2013.

His answers soon aroused suspicion in the man who interviewed him, who asked why anyone would choose to return to a country ravaged by civil war.

By this time, Syria was facing the rise of the ruthless Islamic State regime.

Still, Al-Swealmeen insisted he should “visit” his parents in Deir ez-Zor, one of the fiercest battlefields, and claimed he hadn’t heard from them for a month.

Asked about his trip, Al-Swealmeen said he had taken a bus from the UAE to the Jordanian border with Syria at Nassib, a 23-hour journey covering 2,344 km.

He then claimed that he paid $300 ($A414) to a border guard to enter Syria.

He then said he took another bus north to Deir ez-Zor, which took “seven to eight hours”, including two one-hour stops.

Even without traffic and at a constant speed of 100 km/h, the 566 km journey would take six hours.

The officer sensed that Al-Swealmeen was lying and asked if he was sure of his answer.

“That seems pretty fast for such a long journey through a country embroiled in a civil war. Are you sure?” he said.

As the interview continued, Al-Swealmeen claimed to have spent three months in central Deir ez-Zor despite the city being shelled to smithereens.

At the time, international observers noted that it had been “largely destroyed”.

Most of the population of Deir ez-Zor had fled “after months of being hammered by artillery shells, rockets and bombs”.

And the “humanitarian toll” was “horrible” with polio outbreaks.

But unbelievably, Al-Swealmeen claimed he still stayed in the family home for three months, surviving by eating food they “saved”.

He said his “praise God” relatives had managed to avoid bombing by being “away” at critical moments.

“Sometimes they had to go to their grandparents’ house for safety,” he said.

And as if prepared by the people-smuggling ring that supplied his false documents, he managed to name local restaurants, mosques, streets, bridges and neighborhoods.

In contrast, Al-Swealmeen was unable to tell his interrogator which regime ran the city while he was there.

When asked why he chose to stay despite the dangers, the bomber claimed he had wanted to leave with his family.

When they didn’t have enough money, in December 2013, he paid an “agent” to smuggle him out of the country in a car.

From there he went to Jordan and then again to the UAE.

The dubious officer asked Al-Swealmeen, “You have been in the UAE since you were ten. Why not stay there after you leave Syria on this occasion?”

“I wanted to see if I could help my family leave,” he said.

When further pressed, Al-Swealmeen then claimed that he had traveled to the UK alone because the same people smuggler had been paid by his father to “take me to a European country”.

He insisted that his documents be destroyed, saying that also meant he could not stay there for fear of prosecution.

The officer told him, “You have an aunt in the UAE, so that’s not true, is it?”

Al-Swealmeen said, “I am older. I couldn’t stay with them forever.”

The researcher wryly noted that he had spent three months in Syria “without major problems”.

“Why do you think you would die if you returned?”

Al-Swealmeen replied, “Death could happen at any moment.”

But the bomber started to falter when he was roasted about how he had finally made it to the UK.

Al-Swealmeen was challenged over his Jordanian passport and British visa and tried to claim he had no idea whether they were real or forged.

Seconds later, when asked if he was entitled to Jordanian citizenship, he replied, “No.”

The officer said to him, “So that’s why you must have known that the Jordanian passport was illegal?”

Al-Swealmeen claimed he had “no other option”.

The officer replied: “So you admit that you knowingly used deception to obtain a visa to enter the UK?” Al-Swealmeen replied, “No, I had no knowledge.”

In increasingly irritable exchanges, the officer told him to stop “blaming the agent” and answer the question.

Finally, Al-Swealmeen admitted that he had entered with an illegally obtained Jordanian passport. The investigator gave him a formal “credibility warning”.

“I had two options: stay and die or use the passport and escape,” said Al Swealmeen.

The officer replied, “That is not quite true. At the time of the visa application you were not in Syria – you were in the UAE. So it is not a matter of ‘staying and dying’ as you had left Syria.”

The officer added: “You have lied and used deception to get into the UK. Why should I believe you are from Syria?”

Al-Swealmeen replied, “I don’t know how to answer.”

After the Interior Ministry rejected Al-Swealmeen’s asylum application in 2015, it is believed he was denied permission to appeal in 2017.

Another attempt at asylum was made under the name Enzo Almeni, an alias Al-Swealmeen used because he liked the Ferrari driver and founder.

At one point, his housing was revoked by the Interior Ministry and he resorted to sleeping in a flat above the pizzeria where he worked.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior issued a statement.

“We’re fixing the broken asylum system,” they said.

“The new immigration plan includes a ‘one-stop’ process where asylum and human rights claims are submitted and considered together, prior to any appeal, allowing for faster removal of those who are not entitled to be in the UK.

“The Interior Ministry is urgently investigating how these sensitive documents relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation were made public.”

This article originally appeared on The sun and is republished here with permission.

Originally published as Liverpool hospital bombing: Emad Al-Swealmeen told web of lies to stay in UK

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