Thursday 17 August 2017

Police arrest 'key players' in terror probe

Ruby Tindall (3) at a vigil in Royton, near Manchester, yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Ruby Tindall (3) at a vigil in Royton, near Manchester, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Dean Gray

Detectives have made "immense" progress in the investigation into the Manchester bombing and are confident they have arrested some "key players", Britain's top counter-terror officer has said.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said police have made "significant" arrests and "finds" and have got hold of a "large part" of the suspected network being sought over the atrocity.

He said: "We are very happy we've got our hands around some of the key players that we are concerned about but there's still a little bit more to do."

The senior officer also issued a defiant message as he urged people to go about their business as normal over the bank holiday weekend.

"Enjoy yourselves and be reassured by the greater policing presence you will see," he said.

"We can't let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business."

A huge security operation is planned with 1,100 armed officers on hand to protect major events, including the FA Cup Final at Wembley and the Great Manchester Run.

It was revealed that specialist teams have carried out a review of security for more than 1,300 events with Britain remaining at the highest threat level of critical while the investigation into the bombing continues.

Attack

Twenty-two victims, including children, were killed when Salman Abedi (22) launched a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Since Tuesday a total of 10 people have been arrested, with eight men aged between 18 and 38 remaining in custody.

Two of those held, a 16-year-old boy and a woman aged 34, have been released without charge.

Yesterday evening officers were still carrying out searches at 12 locations, with activity expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Providing an update on the probe into the atrocity, Mr Rowley said it was likely further arrests would follow in the course of the weekend.

"Having made enormous progress and made some significant arrests and had some significant finds, there still remain important lines of inquiry for us to pursue," he said.

"We've got to try to understand everything we can about the dead terrorist, his associates.We need to understand the whole network and how they acquired and built the bomb that exploded on Monday night.

"It's going to take a little more time to close down those gaps in our understanding. We are working as fast as we can do because everyone wants answers to this."

Irish Independent

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