Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

UK reduces terror threat level from critical to severe

UK reduces terror threat level from critical to severe UK reduces terror threat level from critical to severe
Johnnie Parks | 28 May, 2017, 03:51

Britain lowered its security threat level to "severe" on Saturday following significant activity by police investigating the suicide bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester, Prime Minister Theresa May said.

At an emergency COBRA meeting, the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre advised that the United Kingdom should return to the second highest level, which indicates an attack is highly likely rather than imminent.

The government earlier reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from "critical" to "severe", as authorities said major progress has been made in unraveling the plot behind the Manchester bombing.

As well as killing 22 people, including seven children, Monday's blast injured 116 with 63 still in hospital and 20 in critical care, health officials said.

"As part of the ongoing investigation into the attack on Manchester Arena, two men aged 22 and 20 have been arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to the terrorism act", a Greater Manchester Police statement said.

Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, died in Monday's explosion, which killed 22 others and wounded almost 120 as crowds were leaving an Ariana Grande concert. More arrests are expected.

"However, as a precautionary measure and as plans are already in place, members of the public will continue to see the high level of policing, including armed officers, on our communities' streets throughout the bank holiday weekend".

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These can't be directly linked to Monday's bombing, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said, but police are monitoring the situation.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gives a press conference during the G7 on May 26, 2017, in Taormina, Sicily. But he said there were still "gaps in our understanding" of the plot, as investigators probed Abedi's potential links to jihadis in Britain, Europe, Libya and the Middle East. Police used an explosive device to get into a property to make the arrests.

Some hours later, police cordoned off a large area in the Moss Side area of south Manchester and houses were evacuated with a bomb disposal unit sent to the scene.

Mark Rowley, the head of national counter-terrorism policing, said 17 searches had either concluded or were continuing - mostly in the North West.

"As it stands, 13 people in total have been arrested in connection with the investigation, of which two people have since been released without charge".

Hundreds of soldiers replaced police at high-profile sites including Buckingham Palace and Parliament, and police armed with submachine guns have been deployed in city centers, transit hubs, tourist areas and major events.

The country is taking the unusual step of arming police for patrols in Manchester, London and other locations this weekend during spring bank holiday, the country's first holiday since the bombing.

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