It’s not fair, says Trump
U.S. president excoriates fellow NATO members for failing to fulfil the military alliance’s financial goals.
Britons faced stepped-up security, authorities pushed forward with raids they said were uncovering key evidence and a trans-Atlantic rift opened Thursday in the aftermath of a deadly concert bombing.
The investigation of the Manchester Arena attack that killed 22 people extended across Europe and into Libya, where most of the suspected bomber’s family lived. Authorities in multiple countries worked to determine if Salman Abedi, who died in the blast, acted alone or with assistance from a sophisticated cell.
After Abedi’s mother and three of his siblings were brought in for questioning, a Libyan official told of a final phone call he placed to his mother and brother just before the attack. On that call, he purportedly told his mother: “Forgive me,” said Ahmed bin Salem, a spokesman for the Special Deterrent Force.
“He was giving farewell,” bin Salem added.
The number of arrests in the U.K. ticked up to eight as British Transport Police said armed officers would begin patrols on some trains because of an increased threat of terrorism.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said, without elaborating, that searches of suspects’ homes brought “very important” clues in the probe of Monday’s bombing
at the close of an Ariana Grande show. But leaks from the investigation were creating a diplomatic mess.
Manchester police have stopped sharing investigative information with the U.S. until they are guaranteed an end to media leaks, a British official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, arriving at a NATO summit in Brussels, said the countries’ partnership on defence and security
was built on trust, but “part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently.” May discussed the matter privately with Trump later in the day.
British officials were particularly angry over photos published by The New York Times showing remnants of a blue backpack which may have held the explosive, a 12-volt battery that apparently powered the device and a possible switch in the left hand of the alleged bomber that could have ignited it.
But it wasn’t clear U.S. officials
were the source of the images, which the Times defended as “neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims” and consistent with basic reporting “on weapons used in horrific crimes.”
British security services were also upset that 22-year-old Abedi’s name was apparently leaked by U.S. officials while police in the U.K. continued withholding it and while raids were underway in Manchester and in Libya. Hopkins said the leaks “caused much distress for families that are already suffering terribly with their loss.”
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with British Prime Minister Theresa May at NATO headquarters in Brussels Thursday.