Intensive search for Manchester bomber’s network

British police have arrested six men over attack, including brother of Salman Abedi

Police were last night investigating a network around the man who killed 22 people in Monday's suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, with possible links to Syria or Libya. Manchester police have arrested six men in connection with the attack, including the brother of Salman Abedi.

Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said police were continuing extensive searches of premises in the city in search of the suicide bomber's accomplices.

“I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating and it continues at pace and there’s extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester,” he said.

The latest arrests, including one late last night, came as almost 1,000 soldiers were deployed to support police guarding Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and other locations in London. The deployment followed Theresa May’s announcement that the security threat level in Britain had been raised to its highest level, and the security services believed another terrorist attack is imminent.

Home secretary Amber Rudd said the emergency measures were temporary and could end within days.

“I do note that the last time the threat level was raised to critical it lasted five days, and before that four days. So we will see,” she told the BBC.

Photographs of the crime scene leaked to the New York Times suggest Abedi carried his bomb in a Karrimor rucksack and detonated it with a device he held in his left hand.

The bomb’s sophistication convinced Britain’s security services that Abedi must have been part of a bigger network rather than a lone wolf attacker. Reports from Libya last night suggested Abedi’s younger brother Hashem had been arrested by a powerful Tripoli-based militia, along with his father. In all, six men and one woman have been arrested.

Vigils

More of those who died in the bombing were named yesterday, as Manchester held further vigils to remember them. They included 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski, who was at the Ariane Grande concert with her mother and grandmother, who are seriously injured in hospital.

Cheshire police said one of their officers was among those killed in the explosion. The female police officer was reportedly with her husband and two children, all three of whom were injured in the blast.

Last night in bars across the city football fans watched Manchester United take on Ajax in a highly-charged Europa League final in Stockholm. Before kick-off in the stadium in Sweden, players and supporters observed a minute's silence, followed by a minute's applause.

Election campaign

Britain’s general election campaign, which has been suspended since the attack, will resume today at noon, but only at a local level. National campaigning will start tomorrow.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was important to return to campaigning so that terrorism would not derail the democratic process. "Resuming democratic debate and campaigning is an essential mark of the country's determination to defend our democracy, and the unity that the terrorists have sought to attack," he said.