British PM upgrades threat level, says 'further attack may be imminent'

Ruben Hill
May 24, 2017

Under Operation Temperer, members of the armed forces could be deployed to public events, such as concerts and sports events, and also on the streets and at major shopping centres.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced late on Tuesday that intelligence analysts had raised the United Kingdom terrorism threat from "severe" to "critical" - the highest level - for the first time since 2007.

May said Britain's terror threat level had been raised to critical - meaning another attack may be imminent.

Police staged an armed raid on a Manchester address believed to be where Abedi lived, carrying out a controlled explosion to gain entry after arresting a 23-year-old man earlier Tuesday in connection with the attack.

She added that was cause for the terrorism threat level to be raised to critical.

The Times newspaper reported that Abedi had arrived in Britain from Libya recently.

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since July 7, 2005 when four suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London's transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people and wounding 700 more.

He told reporters he hoped that, as has previously been the case, the level would not stay at critical for a long period. More than 200 people were injured, although no one was killed.

The suicide bombing came at the conclusion of USA pop star Ariana Grande's concert at the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, one of Europe's largest indoor venues.

Islamic State's claim of responsibility echoed others the group has made for attacks in the West but with vague details that left open the possibility it was an opportunistic attempt at propaganda.

The militant group has repeatedly called for attacks on Western countries as retaliation for their involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

At Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II marked a moment of silence alongside her husband Prince Philip as well as Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.

Macron and senior French ministers walked to the British embassy in Paris to sign the condolence book. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the attack only strengthens Germany's resolve to work with the British.

The U.N. Security Council condemned "the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack" and expressed solidarity with Britain in the fight against terrorism.

Manchester remained on high alert, with additional armed police drafted in. Most U.K. police are unarmed, so the most jarring sight for many British people may be that of officers with submachine guns on the streets.

In the city centre, thousands gathered for a multi-faith vigil outside the Town Hall to remember the victims, with defiant chants of "Manchester!" They will be stationed in places where Britain now has armed police, freeing those officers for other frontline patrol duties. The Guardian's Alan Travis reports that up to 5,000 troops will be deployed to replace police officers guarding national sites, allowing more police officers to concentrate in locations deemed potential targets for attack.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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