UK bomber said to have pleaded 'Forgive me' before blast

Police said they were called at 10:33pm Monday after an explosion at Manchester Arena during a concert by USA pop star Ariana Grande, who is popular with teenagers and pre-teens.

Grande's management team says the singer's concerts will be canceled through June 5, 2017, after a bombing following her concert in Manchester, England left 22 people dead.

Two more men were arrested early Thursday morning, bringing the number in custody in connection to the bombing to eight.

Relatives of the British-born bomber are being interrogated by Libyan authorities in Tripoli, where his father Ramadan and teenage brother Hashim were arrested on Wednesday.

But Mohammed Fadl, a spokesman for Manchester's close-knit Libyan community who knew Abedi's family, said that Abedi appeared "normal" and he was not aware of any alarm bells sounding about him.

Earlier, the Greater Manchester Police condemned the investigation leaks on behalf of the National Counter-Terrorism Policing units in a statement that suggested a severe rupture in trust between Britain and the United States.

Manchester's mayor Andy Burnham said he has contacted the US ambassador to the United Kingdom over the leaks to the media from the investigation into Monday's terrorist attack.

In a rare public show of dissatisfaction with Britain's closest security ally, Prime Minister Theresa May said she would tell US President Donald Trump at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit later on Thursday that intelligence shared between their two countries had to remain secure. Hopkins said the leaks "caused much distress for families that are already suffering terribly with their loss".

Defending its decision to publish the pictures, the New York Times said: "The images and information presented were neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims, and consistent with the common line of reporting on weapons used in horrific crimes". They were exploring potential ties to Abdalraouf Abdallah, a Libyan jailed in the United Kingdom for terror offenses, and to Raphael Hostey, an Islamic State recruiter killed in Syria.

British police and security services were also upset that Abedi's name was apparently leaked by USA officials and published while British police were withholding it - and while raids were underway in Manchester and in Libya, where the bomber's father lives.

Still, Fadl said he had heard Abedi's father took his son's passport away over concerns about his close ties to alleged extremists and criminals.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said "a significant amount of police activity" and several arrests had led to the level being lowered.

The bomber's father, Ramadan Abedi insisted Wednesday in an interview with the AP that Salman had no links to militants, saying "we don't believe in killing innocents". Based on the account from a younger brother, investigators think Abedi used the internet to learn how to make a bomb and "seek victory for the Islamic State", bin Salem said. The National Health Service said 75 people were hospitalized. She attended the concert with her mother and older sister, who were both injured.

Dodds and Katz reported from London; Michael reported from Cairo.

  • Leroy Wright