Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Theresa May to confront Donald Trump over intel leaks on Manchester bombing

Melinda Barton | 03 June, 2017, 01:23

Two men were arrested by police in Greater Manchester overnight on Thursday, bringing the number in United Kingdom custody to eight.

Prime Minister Theresa May raised British concerns with Trump at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, telling him intelligence shared between their two countries had to remain secure, in a rare public show of dissatisfaction with Britain's closest security ally.

Britain raced Thursday to track down a jihadist network suspected of orchestrating the Manchester concert attack, while a row escalated between London and Washington over leaked material from the probe.

"And as I've said, it continues at a pace". The attack left 22 people dead and dozens injured.

His uncle was detained yesterday in Manchester, while there are conflicting reports that the killer's mother is also in police custody.

Early Thursday, police said they conducted a controlled explosion in the south of Manchester where they were carrying out searches in the Moss Side area connected to the attack. The security alert was later lifted. Israeli intelligence officials were said to be "boiling mad" at the leak, stating that they would never have given away USA intelligence.

According to photographs from the scene of Monday's attack at the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, Abedi's device appeared to be fairly sophisticated.

Britain's terror threat assessment has been hiked to "critical", the highest level, meaning an attack is considered imminent.

Counter-terrorist police in Libya also arrested Salman Abedi's brother, Hashim Abedi, on Tuesday, Libyan forces said in a statement on Facebook.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham raised the issue with the USA ambassador, reports said.

"The focus is still the search for accomplices and the network but he could have made this bomb himself", the source said.

NBC News reported that a USA intelligence official with direct knowledge of the investigation said that Abedi's bomb was "big and sophisticated" and comprised of materials that are hard to find in England, which means that "it's nearly impossible to see he didn't have help". A source said British investigators were hunting for anyone who may have helped build the suicide bomb and who could be ready to kill again.

British Interior minister Amber Rudd had described the leaks as "irritating".

Meanwhile, Senior police chiefs in Britain reacted with anger Wednesday night after sensitive details of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing were leaked to media in the US.

They said one thread of the inquiry involved pursuing whether Abedi was part of a larger terror cell that included Mohamed Abrini, otherwise known as "the man in the hat", with connections to the Brussels and Paris attacks.

Although British authorities asked members of Salman Abedi's southern Manchester community not to speak to the media, people who knew the family said on Wednesday that Abedi cared for his parents.