Manchester attack: Police hunt for Salman Abedi's 'network'

Getty Images

Getty Images

Salman Abedi, 22, has been identified as the suicide bomber who died at the scene of the Monday attack that killed 22 and injured more than 60.

On Wednesday afternoon, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the level of activity in the probe is "intense" and continuing "at pace".

"I think he saw children - Muslim children - dying everywhere, and wanted revenge", she said. The arrests have taken place in Manchester, Wigan and Nuneaton. Britain's interior minister said earlier that he had recently returned from Libya and had likely not acted alone.

Another brother, Ismail Abedi, 23, was arrested by counter-terror officers in the U.K. Tuesday. But it wasn't clear US 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".

Authorities chased possible links between Abedi and militants in Manchester, elsewhere in Europe, and in North Africa and the Middle East.

Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British-born man with Libyan parents, blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue after a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande, whose fans are mostly children and teenagers.

Many at the concert were young girls and teenagers enthralled by Grande's pop power - and those who died included an 8-year-old girl.

Britain raised its threat level from terrorism to "critical" late on Tuesday amid concerns that Abedi may have accomplices planning another attack. The government said almost 1,000 soldiers were deployed instead of police on Wednesday in high-profile sites in London and elsewhere.

Soldiers were seen at the Houses of Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May's Downing Street residence and at London police headquarters at New Scotland Yard.

A source close to the investigation into the bombing told Reuters that the focus was on whether Abedi had received help in putting together the bomb and on where it had been done.

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since July 7, 2005 when four suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London's transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people.

Rudd earlier slammed the United States for leaking several details on the attack investigation as "irritating" and asked them to stop. ISIS quickly stepped forward to claim responsibility for the bombings, though police said they had not yet verified the claims.

Chelsea football club said they were cancelling their Premier League victory parade on Sunday saying it would be "inappropriate".

Police hunting the "network" behind his attack said they had made "significant" arrests and seized "very important" items in raids linked to the investigation. They said they would formally name the victims after forensic post-mortems, which would take four or five days.

"That incident stirred up a sense of anger among young Libyans in Manchester and especially Salman, who clearly expressed his desire for revenge", said the source, declining to be named.

Leaks from an investigation into the Manchester terror attack are undermining the investigation, British police said on Thursday as the BBC reported that police had stopped sharing information with the United States.

British police have indicated they will stop sharing intelligence with the Americans for the time being.

"I have been very clear with our friends that should not happen again", Rudd said. A spokeswoman for Rudd declined to clarify her comments. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and has an extensive fighter network in the country.

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