Britain braced for possibility of another terrorist attack
Hospitals put on alert as armed police patrol UK trains and raids continue in Manchester
The queen speaks to Millie Robson, 15, from Co Durham, who was injured in Monday’s bombing in Manchester, and her mother, Marie, during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to meet victims of the terror attack. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Hospitals in Britain have been told to prepare for the possibility of another terrorist attack over the weekend, as armed police began patrolling trains across the country for the first time. Chris Moran, the national clinical director for trauma at National Health Service, told 27 major trauma centres to ensure they are prepared if there is an attack over the bank holiday weekend.
“There are a number of things that all trauma units and major trauma centres can do to prepare for a further incident, and I should be grateful if you could disseminate these within your network so that frontline clinicians are aware,” he said.
Counter-terror police made a fresh arrest in the early hours of Friday. A man was held in the Moss Side area of the city, Greater Manchester Police said.
As the security threat level across Britain remained critical, British Transport Police said armed officers would be on patrol on trains outside London, as they have been on the London Underground since last December.
In Manchester, police continued to raid houses and flats across the city on Thursday in pursuit of a network linked to suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said police had made two more arrests on Thursday, bringing to eight the number of people in custody in connection with Monday’s bombing at Manchester Arena.
“The arrests we have made are significant, and initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation,” he said.
Still at large
Investigators believe that some members of the network linked to Abedi are still at large and that some bomb-making materials remain to be found. Mike McCaul, the Republican chair of the House Homeland Security Committee in Washington, said Abedi used TATP, the same explosive used in bombings in Paris and Brussels. Mr McCaul said the bomb was sufficiently sophisticated to suggest that its maker may have had foreign training.
Manchester police have stopped sharing information about the investigation with the United States, after the New York Times published leaked photographs of parts of the bomb at the crime scene at Manchester Arena. Prime minister Theresa May raised the issue with US president Donald Trump on the margins of a Nato meeting in Brussels, warning that it could damage the “special relationship” between their two countries.
Describing the leaks as “deeply troubling”, Mr Trump promised to punish anyone in the US intelligence or law enforcement agencies who was involved in the leak.
“These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security. I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and, if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no relationship we cherish more than the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, ” he said.
‘War on terror’
As Britain’s general election campaign, which has been suspended since Monday’s attack, resumes on Friday, Jeremy Corbyn will link the bombing in Manchester with Britain’s recent military adventures. The Labour leader will say that the “war on terror” which began after the attacks of September 11th, 2001, has failed and has helped to nurture terrorism.
“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people and that fights rather than fuels terrorism,” he will say.