In a letter to her fans, musician Ariana Grande said she will return to Manchester to hold a benefit concert for the victims of the May 22th bombing.
MANCHESTER, England — Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from “critical” to “severe” on Saturday, as authorities said they had made major progress in unravelling the plot behind the Manchester concert bombing.
But police said more arrests were expected, and security was tight across Britain as hundreds of thousands of people attended major soccer matches, concerts and other big holiday-weekend events.
Police made two more arrests in Manchester on Saturday on suspicion of terrorism offenses, bringing the number of suspects in custody to 11. All are men, aged between 18 and 44. In addition, Manchester bomber Salman Abedi’s father and younger brother are in detention in Libya.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said “a significant amount of police activity” and several arrests had led to the level being lowered. But she urged Britons to remain vigilant and said soldiers would remain at high-profile sites throughout the holiday weekend. The troops will gradually be withdrawn beginning on Monday, she said.
A severe threat means an attack is “highly likely,” according to the scale set by Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. Until it was raised Tuesday, it had stayed at severe since mid-2014.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer, said authorities have dismantled a “large part” of the network around Abedi, who killed 22 people and wounded dozens by bombing an Ariana Grande concert Monday in Manchester.
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.
Rowley said the investigation had made “rapid progress,” and police “are getting a greater understanding of the preparation of the bomb.”
“There is still much more to do. There will be more arrests and there will be more searches,” he said.
Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent who grew up in Manchester, died in Monday’s explosion.
Police used an explosive device Saturday to get into a property in Manchester to arrest two men, aged 20 and 22. Investigators have searched 17 properties, including Abedi’s home in south Manchester and other houses in nearby districts.
Residents were evacuated from streets in the south Manchester neighborhood of Moss Side in what police called a precaution as one search was carried out Saturday. Photos showed an army bomb-disposal unit at the property.
One search was at an apartment in a Manchester high-rise that British media say was rented by Abedi in the months before the attack. Mohammed El-Hudarey, a friend of the landlord, said after Abedi moved out about six weeks ago there was a strong smell of chemicals and debris, including metal rods and cut-up fabric.
“We thought he must have been a drug dealer or doing witchcraft,” El-Hudarey told the BBC.
Britain’s health service said Saturday that 63 people injured in the bombing remained hospitalized, 20 of them in critical condition. A total of 116 people were treated in hospitals after the bombing.
Despite the alert, police have urged people to go out and enjoy themselves over the three-day holiday weekend.
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.
Armed police were on the streets Saturday outside London’s Wembley Stadium, and security guards conducted extra bag checks, as 90,000 fans arrived for the FA Cup soccer final between Chelsea and Arsenal, one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
Before kickoff, Prince William laid a wreath in memory of the victims alongside Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
Arsenal fan Liz Johnson says she was a “sad after what happened in Manchester. But I grew up in Ireland, so bombs did go off there and life does go on.”
“We will be thinking about all the people who died and were injured,” she said.
“Everything should go on as normal,” said Chelsea fan Steve Barrass, who came from Manchester to watch the FA Cup in London with his son.
A security alert at London’s Old Vic Theatre prompted the evacuation of cast and audience in the middle of a performance of “Woyzeck” — starring “Star Wars” actor John Boyega. Police searched the building and found nothing suspicious.
Manchester slowly returned to normal, though the damaged arena and adjacent Victoria train station remained closed.
Grande promised to return to “the incredibly brave city of Manchester” for a benefit concert to raise money for the bombing victims and their families.
“Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before,” the American singer said. “We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win.”
Lawless reported from London. Rob Harris in London contributed to this story.
Queen Elizabeth visited with some of the young victims and their parents Thursday.
Video provided by Newsy
Eight people have been arrested in connection with the suicide bomb attack on a Manchester pop concert in which 22 people were killed. Manchester’s police chief says the arrests made are ‘significant.’
Video provided by AFP
Former President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he was “heartbroken” by the loss of life after Monday’s deadly attack at a pop concert in Manchester. (May 25)
Photos obtained by the New York Times show materials believed to have been used in the Manchester terrorist attack that left 22 people dead. British police arrested a seventh person Wednesday in connection with the attack.
Video provided by AFP
Security camera photos reportedly show a man believed to be Manchester bomber Salman Abadi carrying a backpack. The UK is on its highest threat level as authorities investigate a ‘network’ of alleged attackers. (May 24)
British officials are frustrated over the U.S. officials leaking to the media investigative details into the Manchester bombing. Nathan Rousseau Smith (@fantasticmrnate) explains.
Manchester mayor Andy Burnham led a minute of silence in the city’s Albert Square on Thursday, in memory of the victims of Monday’s bombing attack. (May 25)
British police confirm that the suicide bomber who died in an attack on a Manchester concert venue was not acting alone.
Video provided by AFP
Manchester residents took amateur video of police activity apparently connected with the Manchester Arena explosion which killed at least 22 people on Monday night. (May 24)
Chelsea has canceled a planned parade celebrating the club’s Premier League title following the terrorist attack in Manchester earlier this week that killed 22 people.
The Islamic Centre of Manchester said Wednesday that it was not true that bomber Salman Abedi once worked there. Officials accused some media organizations of manufacturing news stories. (May 24)
Manchester’s police chief told reporters Wednesday that it is clear “this is a network we are investigating” as he gave an update on the probe into the bomb attack at a pop concert in the city. He also said four arrests have been made. (May 24)
British Prime Minister Theresa May says the U.K. terror threat level is increased from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’ following the Manchester bombing.
Officials identified 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the suicide bomber in Monday night’s deadly attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. He was previously known to British authorities, CBS News reported.
The Paris monument went completely dark to honor the victims of the bombing that killed more than 20 people and injured dozens of others during an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
Chants of ‘Manchester! Manchester!’ ring out as thousands gather for a multi-faith vigil in the city centre to remember the victims of the deadly suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
Video provided by AFP
Police confirm they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection to the Manchester arena bombing that killed 22 and injured 59. Elizabeth Keatinge (@elizkeatinge) has more.
Singer Ariana Grande says she is ‘broken’ following the attack that killed at least 22 people after her concert in Manchester, England.
US President Donald Trump expressed solidarity with the United Kingdom following the deadly explosion in Manchester. Trump called the person or people who carried out the attack “evil losers.” (May 23)
An explosion killed at least 19 people and injured dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
Singer Ariana Grande says she is “broken” after Manchester attack. Angeli Kakade (@angelikakade) has the story.
An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in Manchester, northern England, killing at least 19 people and injuring dozens in what police said was being treated as a terrorist attack. (May 23)
Extra police were visible outside a John Legend concert near Dallas on Monday. The Homeland Security Department says there is no credible threat against US music venues, but that extra security was likely following the concert bombing in England. (May 23)
Ariana Grande concert-goers express their shock after an explosion at Manchester Arena killed 22 people on Monday evening. They describe the panic after the blast. (May 23)
On the red carpet for the ‘Baywatch’ premiere in New York, stars Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, and Ilfenesh Hadera react to news of the explosions at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. (May 22)
Police says there are “a number of fatalities” after reports of an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England. Police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena Monday night. (May 22)
At least one explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in the United Kingdom sent terrified fans running for the exits. Police report multiple fatalities.
Manchester police have reported multiple fatalities after at least one explosion struck a concert in Manchester, U.K.
Video provided by Newsy
UK lowers terror threat level to ‘severe’ as more arrested in Manchester attack – USA TODAY