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Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Manchester Bombing Yields 3 ARRESTS
Three suspects were rounded up in Manchester Wednesday in connection with Monday's deadly concert bombing, as British authorities raced to prevent another attack that could be imminent.
British officials gave the green light to an operation that could deploy up to 3,800 troops to assist police, The Guardian reported. The operation would allow armed officers to leave their posts for patrols in key areas, according to the newspaper.
Multiple law enforcement agencies swept through Manchester in a bid to head off a follow-up to the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 other people. Officials also raised the number of wounded Wednesday to 119.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, is unlikely to have acted alone, officials said. In fact, investigators said he may have acted as a "mule," hauling a shrapnel-packed explosive device that somebody else built, the BBC reported.
Abedi had been known to security forces "up to a point," Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.
Prime Minister Theresa May Wednesday chaired a meeting of her emergency security cabinet group, known as COBRA, to review intelligence reports about Abedi and concerns that he might have had outside support.
Police raided Abedi's house, using a controlled explosion to blast down the door. Neighbors recalled him as a tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress and did not talk much.
Police also raided and searched a property elsewhere in Manchester where Abedi's brother Ismail is thought to have lived. A 23-year-old man has also been arrested as part of the investigation but officials have released no details about him.
British soldiers have been deployed in place of police officers to guard high-profile sites such as Buckingham Palace and Parliament.
Abedi was born in Britain to a Libyan family, grew up in Manchester's southern suburbs and attended the local Salford University for a time.
Officials are probing how often Abedi had traveled to Libya, which has seen an eruption of armed Islamist groups since dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.
France's interior minister said Abedi is believed to have traveled to Syria and had "proven" links with the Islamic State group.
Minister Gerard Collomb said Wednesday on BFM television that British and French intelligence have information that Abedi had been to Syria. He did not provide details, and said it's unclear whether Abedi was part of a larger network of attackers.
British officials have not commented on whether Abedi had links to ISIS or other extremist groups.
In addition to those killed in the concert attack, 64 people are being treated for their wounds, Jon Rouse of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said Wednesday.
He said some of the reported 59 wounded had been discharged, but that the number of patients being treated had increased due to "walking wounded" who came in hours after the attack. Rouse said many of those hospitalized had serious wounds that would require "very long term care and support in terms of their recovery."
Soldiers were replacing armed police on Wednesday at sites like Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and Parliament. London Police Commander Jane Connors said the goal is to "make our city as hostile an environment as possible for terrorists to plan and operate."
She said police will also be ready to respond quickly to any incidents with armed officers, and have added more armed police walking patrols
Collomb, who spoke with May after the attack, said the two countries should continue cooperating closely on counterterrorism efforts despite Britain's pending exit from the European Union.