London | Jagran World Desk: Britain's interior minister said on Monday the country's terrorism threat level had been raised from "substantial" to "severe", the second-highest level, meaning an attack is highly likely, following Sunday's deadly blast in Liverpool.

"The Joint Terror Analysis Center are now increasing the United Kingdom's threat level from substantial to severe," she told British media, referring to the security services' unit responsible for setting the level.

Last month, veteran British MP David Amess was stabbed to death as he met constituents in southeast England, in an attack that prosecutors said had a "terrorist connection".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Liverpool attack was a "stark reminder of the need for us all to remain utterly vigilant". "But what yesterday showed us all is that the British people will never be cowed by terrorism. We will never give in to those who seek to divide us with senseless acts," he added.

Russ Jackson, in charge of counter-terrorism policing in northwest England, said the motive for the Liverpool attack was unclear, as quoted by France 24. He told reporters that the improvised explosive device, which ignited in the cab, turning it into a fireball, was "built by the passenger" who died. Jackson added that it was being treated as a "terrorist incident".

The explosion came just minutes before a Remembrance Sunday service at nearby Liverpool Cathedral, prompting speculation the event was the intended target.

"We cannot at this time draw any connection with this but it is a line of inquiry, which we are pursuing," said Jackson.

Three men aged 21, 26 and 29 were arrested under the Terrorism Act soon after the explosion in the nearby Kensington area of the city and were taken for questioning.

A fourth man, aged 20, was detained earlier on Monday, Jackson said, adding that "significant items" had been found at a second address in Sefton Park, near Kensington.

(With inputs from AFP)

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta