Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What You Need To Know About The Manchester Terrorist Attack

Britain is on critical terror alert with military troops set to bolster police forces across the nation amid fears Manchester attacker Salman Abedi did not act alone.

Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the threat level to the highest possible rating, meaning another atrocity is expected imminently.

Here's everything we know about what happened in Manchester on Monday night, all the arrests so far, and how the government is dealing with the threat.

What is the latest?

Mrs May has raised the UK threat level to critical, saying a "wider group of individuals" could have been involved in the Manchester Arena blast rather than just suicide bomber Abedi.

Special Forces have been deployed to Manchester ready to engage in the hunt for accomplices after Abedi detonated a homemade bomb in the foyer of the Manchester Arena on Monday night, killing 22 people, including an eight year old girl, moments after US singer Ariana Grande finished performing.

Police and counter-terrorism agencies immediately mounted a massive inquiry while the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility.

A total of four people have now been arrested, including three men in south Manchester on Wednesday morning. The first arrest happened on Tuesday in nearby Chorlton when a 23-year-old man was held.

What is Operation Temperer?

Operation Temperer is the government plan to put up to 3,800 soldiers on the streets in response to a major terrorist threat. It was devised in 2015 and had been a secret until it was accidentally leaked to a newspaper.

Mrs May said last night that the operation was now in force and armed soldiers would guard "key locations" across London.

The move is temporary but it's not known how long the heightened state of alert will remain in place.
The unprecedented move puts Mrs May at odds with her predecessor David Cameron who was reluctant to use the controversial power.

It's the first time in 10 years the UK threat level has been raised to critical.

What do we know about Salman Abedi?

Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 and is of Libyan descent.

The second youngest of four children, his parents Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime. They have lived in the Fallowfield area of south Manchester for at least 10 years.

Abedi studied business at Salford University but dropped out before completing his degree. He is thought to have attended the Manchester Islamic Centre, also known as Didsbury Mosque, along with his parents and siblings.

A family friend, who asked not to be named, described him as "normal" and said they were known to the Libyan community in the city.

It has emerged that Abedi had travelled to Libya, raising fears he had been trained there and posing questions for the security services on whether he should have been tracked.

French interior minister Gerard Collomb has said Abedi is believed to have travelled to Syria and had "proven" links with the Islamic State terror group.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed the UK security services had been aware of the British-born 22-year-old.

"We do know that he was known up to a point to the intelligence services," she told Sky News.
"I am sure that we will get more information about him over the next few days and the next few weeks."

Were there accomplices?

Investigators fear Abedi was part of a wider network of Isil-inspired terrorists.
Experts believe the device detonated at the concert was so sophisticated that Abedi must have either been given specialist training abroad or used a bomb made by a technician who has not yet been captured.

What did Abedi do on Monday?

Abedi travelled to the Manchester Arena and detonated a homemade bomb packed with nuts and bolts near the foyer just minutes after Grande had finished her final song.

Thousands of young fans and their families were streaming out of the venue - Europe's largest indoor arena - when they were caught up in the explosion at about 10:30pm.

Panic and confusion quickly spread and witnesses reported being thrown across the floor by the force of the blast.

Grande, 23, who was led to safety, said on Twitter: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, [I] am so so sorry. [I] don't have words."

Who are the victims?

Many children and young people are among the dead and missing.

The first victim was named as college student Georgina Callander. The 18-year-old "superfan", from Whittle-le-Woods in Lancashire, had met her idol Miss Grande in 2015 and had posted excitedly about the moment on Instagram.

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos from Leyland, Lancashire is the youngest victim so far. She was caught in the blast after becoming separated from her mother Lisa and sister Ashlee Bromwich, who is in her 20s. They are both being treated for shrapnel injuries.

Olivia Campbell, 15, from Bury, was also killed, her mother said on Facebook on Tuesday night.

Tributes have also been paid to 26-year-old John Atkinson from Bury, and Marcin and Angelika Klis, Polish parents of a student at the University of York, who were both at the concert to pick up their children.

Kelly Brewster, 32, from Sheffield was also killed and leaves behind a young daughter, Phoebe. Mothers Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 47, from Royton, Oldham, died as they were waiting to collect their teenage daughters.

PR manager Martyn Hett, from Stockport died after attending the concert with a friend.
Meanwhile, many of the 59 people hurt are being treated for life-threatening injuries. Twelve of those rushed to hospital were children. Many people are still missing.

What's happening in Manchester today?

A cordon remains in place around the Arena and Manchester Victoria Station (which is attached to the Arena) while forensic officers examine the scene and police continue investigations around the city.

Manchester Victoria is likely to remain closed for several days. Trains are not running to, from or through the station, with services diverted or cancelled. Metrolink trams are also not operating through the station.

Who can I call if I am concerned about a loved one or have information?

Anyone with concerns over loved ones can contact 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900 for assistance.
Any footage from the scene can be uploaded at or
The anti-terrorist hotline is 0800 789321. Anyone with urgent concerns should contact 999.

Is the timing relevant?

The blast occurred on the anniversary of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death on a London street on May 22, 2013.

Rigby's gruesome murder gained international notoriety when Michael Adebolajo was filmed by passers-by standing in the street with blood-soaked hands trying to justify the attack.
Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme yesterday: "That may be significant as well."

What about the June 8 election?

Campaigning for the June 8 General Election has been suspended following the attack, which is the worst terrorist atrocity ever to take place during a UK election period.

Mrs May spoke with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hours after the blast and agreed to put the contest on hold until further notice.

Leaders of all main parties sent messages of support and sympathy for those caught up in the horrific incident.