Manhunt in Manchester
‘Sophisticated device’ shows Abedi had help, say experts as tension remains
AFTER the deadliest terror attack in Britain since July 2005, a new poll indicated that Labour had closed to five points behind Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party, with police budgets and foreign policy emerging as key campaign issues.
Armed police, backed up by the army, are patrolling cities and trains, and hospitals have been warned to be ready.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the threat level remained at its highest level, “critical“, meaning an attack is expected imminently.
“JTAC [the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre] has assessed that the level of threat should remain at critical while the operation continues,” Rudd said. “The public should be in no doubt that there is a large threat.”
Rudd and security experts have revealed that the explosive device was highly sophisticated.
However, Security Minister Ben Wallace said there was no evidence of a specific threat over this holiday weekend, when a number of major events take place, including today’s soccer FA Cup final in London, where extra armed officers will be on duty.
In Manchester, police hunting for a suspected Islamist network behind Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old British-born man with Libyan parents who blew himself up after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande, were questioning eight men aged between 18 and 38.
On his first official trip to Britain as US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said “all across America, hearts are broken” by the Manchester attack.
British police briefly suspended sharing intelligence with the US on Thursday after confidential details of their investigation repeatedly ap- peared in American media.
For the first time since the attack, politicians resumed campaigning on a national scale for the June 8 vote as an opinion poll found the Conservatives’ lead, once as much as 23 percentage points, had shrunk to just five.
May called the snap election to strengthen her hand in negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Britain’s involvement in foreign wars had increased the threat of terrorism. He was also highly critical of cuts in the police force.
Rudd said counter-terrorism was adequately resourced, and denied that police cuts had made it harder to prevent Monday’s attack.
But she conceded that the attack had been “more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before”.
Abedi used a powerful explosive device that was
IN MEMORY: Some of the tributes to the victims of the attack on the Manchester Arena