Published: Sat, May 27, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was 'subject of interest' to security services

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was 'subject of interest' to security services

President Donald Trump on Thursday described U.S. intelligence leaks over the Manchester bombing as "deeply troubling" and threatened to prosecute those responsible, after a warning by British Prime Minister Theresa May to keep shared data "secure".

Ms May said in a televised statement on Thursday (UK time) she would "make clear" to Mr Trump at an upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit that intelligence shared between the two countries must remain secure. The statement further said, "I am asking the Department of Justice and other agencies to conduct an inquiry into this matter, and if appropriate, the person involved in the leak must be punished".

It comes after The Independent revealed on Thursday police and security services had found bomb-making materials as they conducted raids across the country, which they feared could be primed for imminent attacks.

Meanwhile Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins hit out at the leaks of intelligence by USA agencies to the media, which had caused "distress and upset" to the families of victims of the atrocity.

Queen Elizabeth condemned the "wicked" attack on Manchester Arena as she joined young victims at their hospital bedside.

The pictures, leaked to the New York Times, show the charred remains of a blue Karrimor rucksack alongside screws and nuts used as shrapnel.

"It is very clear that this is a network we are investigating", Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said. His father and a younger brother have been arrested in Libya.

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Mr Hopkins said there had been an "intense three days" for his officers and staff, along with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and United Kingdom intelligence services. In the statement, the force says that the 20-year-old engineering student had been planning to launch an attack of his own in Tripoli and that after his arrest Tuesday night, Hashim confessed to ties with the Islamic State and knowledge of his brother's alleged plans for the Manchester attack.

Hours before the attack, he had phoned his mother and said "forgive me", according to a Libyan anti-terror official.

"We will continue in honour of the ones we lost, their loved ones, my fans and all affected by this tragedy", she said.

"Who's leaking it? Where's it coming from?" The deadliest bomb attack on British soil took place in July 2005 when four British suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London's transport system, killing 52 people and wounding 700.

Middle East Eye reported that the British government operated an "open door" policy that allowed Libyan exiles and British-Libyan citizens to join the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi even though some had been subject to counter-terrorism control orders.

White House officials have said the leaked details of that meeting by intelligence officials are similarly under investigation. The report said one suspect device was blown up in a controlled explosion.

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