Manchester terror attack probe widens as United States leaks grate
- Author: Salvatore Jensen May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 18:55
Counter-terrorism sources have told Sky News they have established a "significant" connection between the two men as they investigate the murder of 22 concertgoers and search for possible accomplices.
The reported remark on May 25 followed reports that British police are concerned that USA leaks of intelligence on the May 22 attack at a pop concert in Manchester could hamper efforts to find a possible bomb-maker who may still be at large.
Images obtained by The New York Times newspaper showed a detonator that bomber Salman Abedi was said to have carried in his left hand, shrapnel including nuts and screws, and the shredded remains of a blue backpack.
On the investigation front, Greater Manchester Police say two men were arrested overnight in Manchester and in the Withington area south of the city.
Abedi's father and younger brother were arrested in Tripoli in Libya, where the family originally come from.
"We are furious. This is completely unacceptable", a government ministry source said of the images "leaked from inside the U.S. system".
Prime Minister Theresa May will raise the issue with President Donald Trump at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit Thursday in Brussels.
In her remarks Thursday morning, Prime Minister May said the nation's terrorism threat level would remain at critical, meaning another attack could be imminent. The Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace has also been cancelled today to redeploy police officers, the UK's Ministry of Defence said.
"Due to the tragic events in Manchester, the Dangerous Woman Tour with Ariana Grande has been suspended until we can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost", Grande's reps said in a statement (via Entertainment Weekly).
British officials said Abedi had been on the radar of the intelligence community before the massacre.
He said Salman visited Libya a month-and-a-half ago and only returned to Manchester after winning a cheap ticket to Umrah.
So far, only a few of the victims in the bombing have been named - among them eight-year-old Saffie Roussos and 18-year-old Georgina Callander. "Last time I spoke to him, he sounded normal", the father said in a telephone interview from Libya.
The attack also injured 116 people, of whom 75 were admitted to hospital and 23 remain in a very serious condition, health authorities said on Thursday.
After less than a year in Saudi Arabia, Ramadan Abedi said he fled to the United Kingdom, where he sought political asylum and lived for 25 years. "I ask her friends, strangers, relatives to do the same", the bereaved mother said.
Britain routinely shares intelligence with the United States bilaterally, and also as part of the "Five Eyes" network which also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The bombing has caused revulsion across the world because it targeted children and teenagers.
Ramadan Abedi told the Associated Press early Wednesday that he believed his son was innocent.
US channel ABC News reported that police had found a kind of bomb-making workshop in Abedi's home and he had apparently stockpiled enough chemicals to make additional bombs.