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Manchester Ariana Grande concert attack: Agencies warned Salman Abedi was a threat

SECURITY agencies were warned multiple times that Manchester terrorist Salman Abedi was a dangerous extremist but failed to arrest him before he detonated a “big and sophisticated’’ suicide bomb that killed 22 people.

The warnings to MI5 and police were revealed as Abedi’s father and younger brother were arrested in Libya, and police discovered a rented flat in central Manchester they believe was used as a bomb factory.

Forensic photographs of the bomb debris leaked from US intelligence sources to the New York Times show it packed with projectiles and built into a backpack, which Abedi detonated with his left hand.

Security officials said it was a “sophisticated’’ device built in the UK.

Police in Manchester have now detained six people of part of their inquiries and believe British-born university dropout Abedi, 22, was acting as part of a terror cell which may have links to international jihadists.

Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19 both died in the Manchester Arena attack. Picture: Facebook
Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19 both died in the Manchester Arena attack. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied

VICTIMS NAMED: The identities of all who have so far died have been released

“It is very clear that this is a network we are investigating,” Greater Manchester’s chief constable, Ian Hopkins said.

The 19th victim was yesterday identified as Scotland’s Eilidh MacLeod, 14.

The parents of Eilidh MacLeod, who had been missing since Monday evening, have confirmed that she died in the attack.

In a statement, they said: “Words cannot express how we feel at losing our darling Eilidh.”

Eilidh and her friend Laura MacIntyre, 15, who are both from the Hebridean island of Barra, attended the concert together.

Both were initially reported as missing but Laura was later found to be in hospital, with severe burns.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in central London today. Speaking ahead of her departure for a NATO summit in Brussels, May said she would "make clear to President (Donald) Trump that intelligence which is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure". Picture: AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in central London today. Speaking ahead of her departure for a NATO summit in Brussels, May said she would "make clear to President (Donald) Trump that intelligence which is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure". Picture: AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASSource:AFP

TRUMP TELLS NATO LEADER ‘EXPECT MORE ATTACKS’

US President Donald Trump told leaders of the NATO alliance that the Manchester bombing that killed 22 earlier this week will continue unless steps are taken to counter terrorism strikes.

“Terrorism must be stopped or ... the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever,” Mr Trump said

He said that the United States would never stop fighting terrorism, calling the Manchester attacks ‘savage’ and ‘barbaric’.

“We will never waiver in our determination to defeat terrorism and achieve lasting security, prosperity and peace,” he said.

US President Donald Trump, right, speaks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is unimpressed by the leaking out of the US in regards to the Manchester investigation. Picture: AP
US President Donald Trump, right, speaks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is unimpressed by the leaking out of the US in regards to the Manchester investigation. Picture: APSource:AP

DRAMATIC DEVELOPMENTS

*Police in the Libyan capital Tripoli seized Abedi’s father, Ramadan, 51, and arrested his young brother, Hashem, 20 at gunpoint.

*The third Abedi brother, Ismail, 23, remained in custody in Manchester after being arrested on Tuesday morning.

*Three people have now been detained by Greater Manchester police in south Manchester, a fourth in Wigan and a fifth in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, while a woman detained in north Manchester was released without charge.

*A rented flat in Granby Road, in central Manchester, was identified as the venue where chemicals to make the bomb were mixed.

*Police believe a second, as yet unidentified venue, was used to assemble the bomb, which comprised metal nuts and screws in a metal box, hidden within a Karrimor backpack.

*The device was powerful enough to penetrate metal doors, and ripped Abedi’s torso from the rest of his body, while killing people in a circle around him.

*Abedi rented the flat a few days before the attack and stayed there until 7pm before leaving for the Manchester Arena, where Ariana Grande was holding a pop concert, and detonating the bomb at 10.30pm.

*Likely links between Abedi and other Manchester jihadists with connections to Islamic State were uncovered.

*Police were investigating potential links with international terrorists including Mohamed Abrini, the so-called Man in the Hat who was connected to the terror attacks in France and Brussels in the past two years.

*The French interior minister said Abedi had “proven links’’ with Islamic State, while US authorities say he was known to them.

*Prime Minister Theresa May used a NATO summit in Brussels to raise her concerns with US president Donald Trump over the US security leaks.

*Campaigning will resume in the UK elections after a minute’s silence was held nationwide for the victims.

*Questions were being asked of security agencies after details emerged of multiple warnings made about the dangerous extremist views Abedi held.

Armed police patrol the streets in central Manchester. Picture: AP / Rui Vieira
Armed police patrol the streets in central Manchester. Picture: AP / Rui VieiraSource:AP

EARLY WARNING

The Times reports Abedi was flagged with authorities five times, including once when his friends had called the Government’s anti-terrorism hotline.

Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, told the Telegraph Abedi was reported by community members two years ago because of concerns he was involved in “extremism and terrorism”.

“They did not hear anything since.”

The BBC said two friends of Abedi’ phoned the police counter-terrorism line five years ago and again last year, warning Abedi was expressing views including that ‘being a suicide bomber was OK.’’

Before his detention in Libya yesterday Ramadan Abedi had insisted his son was innocent and not linked to IS.

He said he spoke to Salman last Friday, that he sounded “normal’’ and “we don’t believe in killing innocents.’’

“Every father knows his son and his thoughts, my son does not have extremist thoughts. I was really shocked when I saw the news, I still don’t believe it,’’ he said.

Two men were detained by police after a scuffle outside a flat being searched. Both men, one Asian and one white, were taken away in police vans amid a heavy security presence outside Granby House on Granby Row in the city centre. Picture: Caters
Two men were detained by police after a scuffle outside a flat being searched. Both men, one Asian and one white, were taken away in police vans amid a heavy security presence outside Granby House on Granby Row in the city centre. Picture: CatersSource:Supplied

BROTHER ARRESTED

Libyan police arrested younger brother Hashem, with revelations he had been under surveillance for up to six weeks on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack in Tripoli, and supporting Islamic State.

A spokesman for the Libyan Special Deterrence Force (SDF) said: ‘Hashem confessed to being in the UK while the terrorist operation was being planned. And it is clear that he was fully aware of all the details of the [Manchester] terrorist operation.

“It is also important to note that Hashem left the UK on April 16 and said he was in constant contact with his brother, the executor of the operation.’

A Libyan government spokesman also said one of Abedi’s final acts before the bomb was detonated was to call his mother Samia Tabbal, a nuclear scientist.

Abedi returned to the UK days ago from Libya, where he is thought to have undergone terrorism training.

Links between Abedi and other Manchester jihadis continue to be investigated by police, with suggestions he knew Raphael Hostey, a local IS recruiter killed in a drone strike in Syria last year.

Police are also investigating any links to the Abedi family and Abdalraouf Abdallah, a Libyan refugee from Manchester jailed for terrorism offences.

Abdallah is connected to extremists in Belgium including Mohamed Abrini, known as the Man in the Hat, who plotted the France and Brussels attack.

Abrini went to Manchester in 2015 and took photographs of the Old Trafford football stadium, raising money from supporters before returning to Belgium.

Meanwhile Abedi’s sister Jomana, 18, told the Wall Street Journal she believed her brother’s actions in Manchester were revenge for “the explosives America drops on children in Syria’’.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in central London. She said she would raise the issue of leaks from a probe into the Manchester terror attack that have infuriated British authorities with their US counterparts at a NATO summit. Picture: AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in central London. She said she would raise the issue of leaks from a probe into the Manchester terror attack that have infuriated British authorities with their US counterparts at a NATO summit. Picture: AFP / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASSource:AFP

LEAKS ‘THREATEN RELATIONSHIP’

US leaks about the British investigation into the Manchester bomber have strained the two countries’ “special relationship” and thrown into doubt the sharing of information among the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance.

Greater Manchester Police are trying to establish who made the bomb detonated by 22-year old Islamist terrorist Salman Abedi on Monday, killing 22, but they have reportedly stopped sharing intelligence information with US law enforcement agencies after key details were leaked to newspapers.

British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to confront US President Donald Trump when the pair meet at Thursday’s NATO meeting in Brussels, with the American leader already struggling domestically to stem a tide of damaging leaks from law enforcement agencies.

US First Lady Melania Trump, right, poses for a selfie as she visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels. Picture: AFP / Aurore Belot
US First Lady Melania Trump, right, poses for a selfie as she visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels. Picture: AFP / Aurore BelotSource:AFP

May said she would “make clear to President Trump that intelligence which is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure”, after key details of the investigation were published in US media, including the New York Times.

Her Downing Street office insisted that any decision to stop sharing intelligence on the case was “an operational matter for police,” and it was reported that general intelligence sharing was still ongoing.

A Foreign Office source told the domestic Press Agency that the government was “furious” with the leaks.

May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump’s White House, underlining the importance of the so-called “special relationship” between the two countries.

The two countries are also members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance, along with Australia, New Zealand and Canada, highlighting the seriousness of the row.

An undated family handout photograph released by Greater Manchester Police showing 19-year-old Courtney Boyle. Picture via AFP
An undated family handout photograph released by Greater Manchester Police showing 19-year-old Courtney Boyle. Picture via AFPSource:AFP

COURTNEY BOYLE, PHILIP TRON CONFIRMED DEAD

Courtney Boyle, 19, and her stepdad Philip Tron, 32, have been confirmed dead following the Manchester arena terror attack.

Their death was confirmed on Newcastle’s Metro Radio.

Courtney’s mother, Deborah, said: “My stunning amazing beautiful daughter you were my rock. You made me so proud with all you had achieved.

“And my gorgeous crazy Philip you made my world a happy place and now you are both my angels flying high in the sky.”

Courtney Boyle, 19 and stepdad Philip Tron, 32.
Courtney Boyle, 19 and stepdad Philip Tron, 32.Source:Supplied

Her father added: “I am going to miss my baby girl for the rest of my life. I will never forget you and I will love you forever.”

The pair had been the subject of a desperate Facebook appeal by Deborah shortly after the blast.

She said: “My daughter Courtney Boyle and partner Philip Tron have gone missing tonight in an attack at Manchester tonight please share and help find them I need them home safe.”

INJURED CHILDREN GET RIGHT ROYAL SURPRISE

Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital last night to meet those who were injured in Monday’s terror attack.

Her Majesty met the many children who were seriously hurt in the bombing, as well as paramedics staff who worked tirelessly throughout the night in the bloody aftermath of the Ariana Grande concert.

She reportedly described the attack as ‘very wicked’ during the visit.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Millie Robson, 15, from Co Durham, who was injured in the Manchester Arena terror attack, and her mother Marie, centre, during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Picture: AFP / Peter Byrne
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Millie Robson, 15, from Co Durham, who was injured in the Manchester Arena terror attack, and her mother Marie, centre, during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. Picture: AFP / Peter ByrneSource:AFP

Twelve children under the age of 16 — among the 64 casualties — were taken to the hospital following the suicide bombing, which killed 22 people.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also attended the hospital to pay her respects on Tuesday afternoon.

NHS England advises 23 victims remain in critical care, while 116 people have been treated in relation to the attack.

After a minute’s silence of respect for the victims of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing, the crowd gathered in St Ann's Square broke into a spontaneous rendition of the song ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. Picture: AFP / Oli SCARFF
After a minute’s silence of respect for the victims of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing, the crowd gathered in St Ann's Square broke into a spontaneous rendition of the song ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. Picture: AFP / Oli SCARFFSource:AFP

TWITCHY POLICE RESPOND TO BOMB SCARE

Manchester Police summoned armed SWAT teams and army bomb disposal experts following reports of a suspicious package near a Hulme college.

Nearby streets have been closed and helicopter flew overhead.

Local media reported up to 10 vehicles filled with armed police swarming into Linby St in Hulme, in the vicinity of Castlefield Campus — a school for students with ‘social, emotional and mental health difficulties’.

After ‘assessing the situation’, police deemed the package to be safe.

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