Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Britain raises terror threat level to 'critical,' deploys army

Britain raises terror threat level to 'critical,' deploys army

Abedi was known to the security services but was not flagged as high risk, police said.

Military personnel will now be deployed to protect key sites.

A blast on Monday night at a concert in the northern English city of Manchester where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing left an unknown number of people dead and injured, police said.

She announced that the army would be deployed on the streets to support armed police under a plan codenamed Operation Temperer, which was developed in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris terror attacks.

May said critical status means armed soldiers may be deployed instead of police at public events such as sports matches.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Those investigations continue. But the work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we can not ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.

In her statement May added that the bravery of the emergency services and the people in Manchester shows that cowardice will "always be defeated by bravery, that evil can be overcome by good and that our values, the liberal, pluralistic values of Britain, will always prevail over the hateful ideology of the terrorists". "We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage", May said.

The last time the alert level was raised to critical in Britain was in June 2007 after an attempted auto bombing at Glasgow Airport.

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Former Salford University student Salman Abedi, understood to be a 22-year-old born in Manchester to parents of Libyan descent, is thought to have blown himself up in the arena's foyer shortly after 22:30 BST on Monday, as fans were beginning to leave a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande.

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos and teenager Georgina Callander were among the first of the 22 victims to be confirmed.

While claiming responsibility on its Telegram account, the group appeared to contradict the police description of a suicide bomber.

An explosion at a pop concert in England Monday night is being treated as a terrorist attack. The actual bomber is believed among the dead. Manchester, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northwest of London, is one of Britain's largest cities and Manchester Arena is one of the world's largest indoor concert venues.

Twelve children under the age of 16 were seriously injured, officials said.

Several people are still missing.

The terrorist attack in Manchester has forced the prime minister back onto the territory where she is most experienced, dealing with national security. Islamic State has repeatedly called for attacks as retaliation for Western involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

"Our priority, along with the police counterterrorism network and our security partners, is to continue to establish whether he was acting alone or working as part of a wider network", Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.

Police raided a property in the Manchester district of Fallowfield where they carried out a controlled explosion.

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