MANCH­ESTER RAL­LIES IN THE FACE OF TER­ROR

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

TROOPS are be­ing de­ployed to Bri­tain’s streets amid fears of a fol­low-up ter­ror at­tack.

Theresa May an­nounced the move last night, 24 hours af­ter a sui­cide bomber killed 22 con­cert­go­ers, in­clud­ing a girl of 8.

The prime min­is­ter con­firmed the iden­tity of the Manch­ester at­tacker as Bri­tish-born Sal­man Abedi, 22.

In­tel­li­gence agen­cies fear he may not have acted alone — mean­ing a ter­ror cell may be on the loose.

The Joint Ter­ror­ism Anal­y­sis Cen­tre last night raised the at­tack threat to its high­est level, crit­i­cal — where an atroc­ity is “highly likely and may be im­mi­nent”.

Speak­ing in­side Down­ing Street fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the emer­gency com­mit­tee Co­bra, May said: “We can­not ig­nore that there is a wider group of in­di­vid­u­als linked to this at­tack.”

She in­sisted the ter­ror­ists would be de­feated, adding: “The spirit of Manch­ester and Bri­tain is far might­ier than the sick plots of the ter­ror­ists.

“That is why they will never win and we will pre­vail.”

It is the first time troops have been de­ployed in main­land Bri­tain since Fe­bru­ary 2003, when Tony Blair sent tanks to guard Heathrow in a ter­ror scare. Soldiers will pa­trol key sites in­clud­ing sport­ing and con­cert venues.

Un­der­cover SAS troop­ers will join reg­u­lar soldiers un­der Op­er­a­tion Tem­perer.

Po­lice were last night quizzing Abedi’s brother, Is­mail, 23, on sus­pi­cion of in­volve­ment in the nail bomb at­tack, the worst UK atroc­ity since 2005.

Sources said al­though Abedi was known to the se­cu­rity ser­vices, he was not un­der sur­veil­lance and of­fi­cers had no idea he was build­ing a bomb. His fa­ther is a sus­pected ji­hadi who left the UK in 2011 to fight against Colonel Muam­mar Gaddafi in his na­tive Libya.

It was claimed Abedi trav­elled by train from Lon­don to Manch­ester on Mon­day, rais­ing sus­pi­cions that he may have met co­con­spir­a­tors or picked up the bomb.

Ex­perts checked his home for traces of chem­i­cals or ex­plo­sives.

Po­lice have re­cov­ered Closed­cir­cuit tele­vi­sion footages of Abedi strid­ing into the Manch­ester Arena on Mon­day night with what of­fi­cers be­lieve was a homemade bomb.

Spe­cial forces were yes­ter­day moved for­ward from their base in Here­ford to Manch­ester to pro­vide as­sis­tance to the po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices.

Un­der the di­rec­tion of the Counter Ter­ror­ist Com­mand the soldiers, many of who have worked with spe­cial­ist po­lice units in the past few years joined un­der­cover teams and armed re­sponse units.

Army com­man­ders have three in­fantry bat­tal­ions of armed soldiers ready to de­ploy any­where across the coun­try to sup­port the po­lice.

The ro­ta­tion of avail­able soldiers changes on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with para­troop­ers from 16 Air As­sault Brigade cur­rently listed as the “in role” force ready to pro­vide ad­di­tional pub­lic se­cu­rity.

The Queen summed up the dis­gust of the na­tion at the Manch­ester at­tack yes­ter­day, de­scrib­ing it as an “act of bar­bar­ity”.

She also ex­pressed her “deep­est sym­pa­thy” to all those af­fected by the “dread­ful” events of Mon­day night.

In Tripoli, the younger brother of the sui­cide bomber who killed 22 peo­ple at a con­cert venue in Manch­ester has been ar­rested in Tripoli on sus­pi­cion of links with Is­lamic State, a spokesman for a lo­cal counter-ter­ror­ism force said on Wed­nes­day.

The force, known as Rada, de­tained Hashem Abedi, who was born in 1997, on Tues­day evening, spokesman Ahmed Bin Salem told Reuters. Agen­cies

AGENCY PIX

Peo­ple at­tend­ing a vigil in Al­bert Square in Manch­ester on Tues­day, in sol­i­dar­ity with those killed and in­jured in the May 22 ter­ror at­tack at the Ari­ana Grande con­cert at the Manch­ester Arena.

Sal­man Abedi

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