Britain’s top terror cop says Manchester police have made “fantastic progress.”
- 11 people have been arrested in connection with the attack. Two people were released taking the total remaining suspects in custody to 9.
- Singer Ariana Grande said she will return to Manchester for a benefit concert
- Theresa May accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of saying that terror attacks on the UK are “our own fault” after he said there’s a link between foreign wars and terrorism. Tories, includinhttp://wp.me/p8mNtM-Iqg Boris Johnson, slammed his speech as “completely outrageous.”
- 12 searches are taking place across Manchester. Police have seized “thousands” of items of evidence. There are fears there could be a second explosive device.
- The Sun published images of the flat in which Salman Abedi built his bomb. The Times said he was planning the attack for a year, buying nails from DIY stores.
- Armed police deployed on British trains after terror threat level raised to “critical.” Home Secretary Amber Rudd says threat level will remain in place.
- Manchester Victoria Station suffered “structural damage” in the blast and will remain closed indefinitely.
- Final victim of Monday’s attack named as Megan Hurley.
- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he “regrets” the series of leaks about the Manchester bombing in US media.
- WWE cancels Manchester Arena event on June 6, while a Kiss gig on May 30 has also been axed.
Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said on Friday that police are making “fantastic progress” in tracking down Salman Abedi’s terror network after he killed 22 in a suicide bombing on Monday.
Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, told a pool TV interview that officers have “got our hands around some of the key players,” but there is still work to do.
Rowley said a lot of the risk has been contained, with eight men in custody. He added that people should not change their plans this weekend, despite the critical terror threat level.
“Go out as you planned. Enjoy yourselves and be reassured by the greater policing presence you will see,” he said. “We can’t let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business.”
In a separate update on Friday evening, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins confirmed that officers have searched 12 locations, seizing “thousands” of items of evidence. He said there had been progress, but there was “significant” work to be done.
Eleven people have been arrested in connection with Abedi’s attack, but a man and a woman have been released. Nine men remain in custody for questioning.
On Friday night, a 44-year-old man was arrested in Rusholme on suspicion of terrorism offences, police said.
A man was arrested following a search on a property in the Moss Side area of Manchester on Thursday night, while another address in St Helens, Merseyside, was raided on Friday morning, police said.
The Moss Side address is said to be a barber shop, according to those on the ground. A second property in the same area is also being investigated, police confirmed on Friday morning.
This was in addition to a raid in Wigan, Greater Manchester, on Thursday evening, in which “suspicious items” were recovered. Bomb disposal experts entered the property, but no controlled explosion took place.
Greater Manchester Police released more details of those detained and released. They include and 18-year-old man and three men in their twenties. A 16-year-old was released without charge.
Armed police also swooped on a 28-year-old man at Stretford Mall, in the southwest of the city, on Friday. He was detained and swiftly released without charge, according to Manchester Evening News.
Police said the car park at Manchester Arena will be reopened so that people who left their vehicles at the venue on Monday can collect them.
It comes as major events at the arena are being cancelled out of respect for the 22 victims. A WWE event on June 6 has been cancelled, while a Kiss gig on May 30 was also axed. “We are heartbroken by the atrocity,” Kiss band members, including Gene Simmons, said.
Manchester Victoria Station closed indefinitely
Northern train services announced on Friday afternoon that Manchester Victoria Station will be closed indefinitely because it suffered “structural damage” in Monday’s blast. The nature of the damage is unclear and Northern suggested that it could take some time to put right.
“Northern is currently unable to accurately estimate when the station will reopen,” it said. It could cause travel nightmares for the public over Bank Holiday weekend, with “many” train services unable to arrive or depart from Manchester’s second biggest station.
How Abedi built his bomb
The police fear Abedi and his network had enough explosives to create a second suicide bomb and this is at the heart of their investigation, according to The Sun. The newspaper published images of a £75-a-night Manchester city centre flat, where it said Abedi built his explosive device.
The Times revealed that Abedi had been working on the attack for a year. It said he opened a bank account 12 months ago and used it to purchase nails and screws for his explosive device. He purchased the metal objects on trips to DIY stores B&Q and Screwfix.
The Manchester police activity came as armed police were deployed on Britain’s rail network for the first time ever. This is because Prime Minister Theresa May raised the terror threat level to “critical,” meaning there are fears another attack could be imminent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said this will remain in place on Friday.
As the police investigation continues, the final victim of Ariana Grande concert bombing was named by the Telegraph as 15-year-old Megan Hurley. This is a full list of the 22 killed.
Diplomatic tensions thaw between UK and US
Elsewhere, diplomatic tensions between the UK and US are set to calm on Friday after a series of leaks about Monday’s attack in the US media, including detailed images of Abedi’s bomb.
UK officials stopped sharing information about the attack with America on Thursday and May raised the issue with Donald Trump at a NATO summit. The US president described the leaks as “deeply troubling.”
But the UK was given “fresh assurances” by the US on Thursday evening and intelligence sharing has resumed. In a statement, National Police Chiefs Council Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “We are now working closely with our key partners around the world.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he “regrets” the series of leaks about the Manchester bombing in US media. He was speaking at a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, where he added he expects intelligence bonds to remain tight between the two countries.
Corbyn: There’s a link between foreign wars and terrorism
In other developments on Friday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Britain’s involvement in foreign wars has played a part in fuelling terrorism in his first campaign speech since the Manchester attack. He said:
“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.
“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.
“But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.”
Corbyn’s intervention was branded “totally inappropriate” by Conservative security minister Ben Wallace, who was speaking to the BBC. Other high-profile Tories also weighed in: Rudd said the speech was “completely outrageous” and Boris Johnson branded it “absolutely monstrous.”
Theresa May skewers Jeremy Corbyn in G7 summit speech
On Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the G7 summit, saying world leaders have joined Britain in condemning the Manchester attack.
“The threat of terror is one that all countries face,” May said.
She spoke about the rise of online extremism, telling reporters that the fight against terrorism is “moving from the battlefield to the Internet.”
May also skewered Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said in a speech on Friday that the UK “must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working.” She accused Corbyn of saying that terror attacks against the UK are “our own fault.”
“There can be no excuse for what happened [in Manchester],” she told reporters.
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