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Progress in hunt for network

Face of a killer: Abedi before terror blast

Bomber Salman Abedi
Bomber Salman Abedi moments before he detonated his device (Gtr Manchester Police)

 

Security was lowered from critical to severe today after police investigating the suicide bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester made significant progress in hunting down suspects.

Two more arrests overnight brought the total to 11 since suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people on Monday night.

Greater Manchester Police released CCTV images of Abedi moments before he detonated his device. His identity was known within two hours of Monday’s attack, police said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “A significant amount of police activity has taken place over the last 24 hours and there are now 11 suspects in custody.

“The public should be clear about what this means. A threat level of severe means an attack is highly likely. The country should remain vigilant.”

One newspaper claimed that intelligence officers had identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in Britain.

Armed police at Haymarket
Armed police at Haymarket station, Edinburgh

 

However, soldiers who have been assisting police will be withdrawn from Britain’s streets from midnight on Monday.

As well as killing 22 people, including seven children, Monday’s blast injured 116 with 63 still in hospital and 20 in critical care, health officials said.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said there had been a rise in reported hate crimes, from an average of 28 to 56 incidents on Wednesday.

Armed police have been on duty outside key locations, including rail stations and today’s Cup finals in Scotland and England.

On Friday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that UK foreign policy would change under a Labour government to one that “reduces rather than increases the threat” to the country.

As election campaigning resumed, the Labour leader pointed to links between wars abroad and “terrorism here at home”.

Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a session on counter-terrorism with G7 leaders in Sicily and focusd on tackling extremists online. It has emerged that the Manchester bomber learned about bomb-making on the internet.

The island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides was in mourning after it was confirmed that 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod was among those who died in Monday night’s suicide bombing of the Manchester Arena.

In a statement, her parents said: “Words cannot express how we feel at losing our darling Eilidh.

“Eilidh was vivacious and full of fun. She loved all music whether it was listening to Ariana or playing the bagpipes with her pipe band.

“As a family we would like to express our thanks and gratitude for the support and kind messages we have received at this difficult time.”

Eilidh
Eilidih MacLeod: victim

Eilidh’s friend, Laura MacIntyre, is said to be in a “serious condition” in a Manchester hospital.

All those who died have now been identified.

The Queen toured children’s wards where many are recovering from severe injuries.

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has donated £100,000 to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund which had reached £2m by Wednesday.

In a statement on the website of his charity, the Wayne Rooney Foundation, he said: “There are moments in life that instantly affect you and stop you in your tracks. Monday night was one of those occasions.

“Like so many others, I have enjoyed great nights at the arena, often with my family.

“As a father, I am horrified that a night out for so many young people could end so tragically. My heart goes out all those affected. Please give whatever you can.”

Manchester City and Manchester United have joined forces to donate £1million to the fund.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “We have all been humbled by the strength and solidarity shown by the people of Manchester in the days since the attack.

“The hope of both our clubs is that our donation will go some small way to alleviate the daunting challenges faced by those directly affected and that our acting together will serve as a symbol to the world of the unbreakable strength of the spirit of Manchester.”

Ed Woodward, executive chairman of United, said: “The barbarism of Monday evening’s attack has shocked everyone. Our clubs are right at the heart of our local communities in Manchester and it is right that we present a unified response to this tragedy.

“The money will help, of course but the work of the two clubs and their respective foundation and community scheme can build on the fantastic spirit that Mancunians have shown in the immediate aftermath.”

 

 



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