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Manchester attack: Police hunt ‘network’ behind bomber
BBC, May 24, 2017:
A seventh person has been arrested in the UK over the Manchester Arena bombing, as police said they were investigating a “network”.
Police said they arrested the man in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, following searches.
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 – including children – and injured 64 at an Ariana Grande concert on Monday.
The bomber’s father, Ramadan, and younger brother, Hashem, have been detained by militia in Libya.
And his older brother, Ismail, was detained in Chorlton, south Manchester, on Tuesday.
Hashem Abedi, the bomber’s 20-year-old brother, was detained in Tripoli
The fifth UK arrest on Wednesday – in Wigan – involved a man who was carrying a package that is now being “assessed”, police said.
Eyewitness Connor Britton told the BBC the man had been held by “undercover armed police”.
He said workers in his office had been told to stay inside and lock their windows, and that a red package had been “moved to a clear part of the street”.
The UK terror threat level is now at its highest level of “critical”, meaning more attacks may be imminent.
Military personnel are being deployed to protect key sites after the UK’s terror threat level was raised on Tuesday night.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “[Monday’s attack] was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before, and it seems likely – possible – that [Abedi] wasn’t doing this on his own.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times has obtained photos which it says were gathered by UK authorities at the scene of the attack, including the remnants of a backpack, nuts and screws, and a device identified as a “possible detonator”.
The paper says the alleged evidence suggests “a powerful, high-velocity charge, and a bomb in which its shrapnel was carefully and evenly packed”.
UK authorities have reacted with anger to the publication of the leaked pictures.
One Whitehall source told the BBC there was “disbelief and astonishment” across Whitehall.
A counter terrorism policing spokesperson said it was a breach of trust that undermined relationships with “trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world” and undermined the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families.
“This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorised disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter terrorism investigation,” the spokesperson added.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said that the bomber is thought to have been a “mule”, using a device built by someone else.
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