June 20, 2018

Manchester attack: May to tackle Trump over ‘evidence’ leaks

7Theresa May is to raise concerns with Donald Trump after evidence from the Manchester Arena bombing was apparently leaked to US media.
UK officials were “furious” when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times.
Monday night’s attack at Manchester Arena killed 22 people – including children – and injured 64.
Eight men are now in custody following the attack, carried out by suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
The prime minister is expected to raise the issue of the leak with the US president when they meet at a Nato summit later.
Details about Abedi’s identity had already emerged in the US media less than 24 hours after the explosion and against the UK’s wishes.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she was “irritated” by the disclosure of Abedi’s identity and had warned Washington “it should not happen again”.
However, the pictures of debris – which appear to show bloodstained fragments from the bomb and the backpack used to conceal it – were subsequently leaked to the New York Times, prompting a furious response from within Whitehall and from UK police chiefs.
BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera says UK officials believe that US law enforcement rather than the White House is the likely culprit for the leaks.
Further two arrests
The meeting between Mrs May and Mr Trump, at a Nato summit in Brussels, will take place as British police continue to investigate an alleged “network” linked to Abedi.
Early on Thursday morning, detectives carried out a controlled explosion as they searched a property in the Moss Side area of Manchester.
Two men were also arrested following a search of an address in the Withington area of Greater Manchester.
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In total, eight men, including Abedi’s older brother, and a woman have been arrested in a series of raids across Manchester, Wigan and Nuneaton.
The woman was subsequently released without charge in the early hours of Thursday.
Meanwhile, Abedi’s father and a younger brother have been detained by militia in Libya.
A Whitehall source described the second US leak as “on another level”, and told the BBC it had caused “disbelief and astonishment” across the British government.
The source said the the issue was “being raised at every relevant level by the British authorities with their US counterparts”.
The UK’s National Police Chiefs’ Council described the “unauthorised disclosure” as a breach of trust which had potentially undermined a “major counter-terrorism investigation”.
Counter-terrorism detectives have spoken in the past about how important it sometimes is the names of suspects do not make it into the media.
A delay of around 36 hours, before the public know who they are investigating, can allow them to arrest known associates of the suspect before they know police are looking for them.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the leaks had worried him “greatly,” and he had raised them with the US ambassador.
Mr Burnham told Newsnight a decision had been taken to adopt a “cautious approach” to making information public, “and yet the first reports were coming seemingly out of the United States”.
Abedi’s identity was first reported in the US – with American TV networks CBS and NBC naming him as the suspect.
What Libya tells us about Manchester bomber
Who was the suspect Salman Abedi?
In other developments, the government has announced that a minute’s silence will be held at 11:00 BST on Thursday in remembrance of those who lost their lives or were affected by the attack.
The Conservatives and Labour are to resume local general election campaigning on Thursday, and national campaigning on Friday.
What’s happening with the investigation?
Eight men and one woman have been arrested in the UK since Monday night, including Abedi’s older brother Ismail, 23, although the woman has since been released.
Younger brother Hashem, 20, was held by militia in the Libyan capital Tripoli, as was their father.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating.
“And as I’ve said, it continues at a pace. There’s extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester, as we speak.”
As part of their investigation, police raided a block of flats near Manchester Piccadilly station in the city centre, requiring them to carry out a controlled explosion and briefly close the railway line.
Police carried out another controlled explosion in the early hours of Thursday morning at an address in the Moss Side area of Manchester.
Anyone with information about the attack can call the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789321.
Who are the victims?
The victims include 14-year-old Sorrell Leczkowski, from Leeds, whose grandmother is critically injured in hospital.
Others who died are mother-of-three Michelle Kiss, Nell Jones, 14, eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, Alison Howe, Lisa Lees, Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51, Martyn Hett, 29, and Olivia Campbell, 15.
Kelly Brewster, 32, John Atkinson, 28, Georgina Callander – thought to be 18 – and Marcin and Angelika Klis, a Polish couple from York, have also been named.
South Shields couple Chloe Rutherford, 17, and Liam Curry, 19 have been named among the dead. Family members paid tribute to the teenagers and in a statement issued by police said: “They wanted to be together forever and now they are.”
Some of the victims had been making their way outside at the end of the gig when Abedi detonated his “nuts-and-bolts” bomb.
Others had been waiting in the foyer to pick up children and family.
A serving Cheshire police officer – off-duty at the time – was also among those killed. She has not yet been named.
The BBC understands her partner is critically ill and his two children were injured.
Of the 64 injured, 20 are in a critical condition. Twelve of them are children.
The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police said the families of all those injured had been contacted.
Who was the attacker?
Salman Abedi is understood to have been a 22-year-old born in Manchester to Libyan parents, and a former University of Salford student.
He attended Burnage Academy for Boys in Manchester between 2009 and 2011, and The Manchester College until 2013.
Hamid El-Said, who worked for the UN on tackling radicalisation and now works at Manchester Metropolitan University, said Abedi had had a “really bad relationship” with his family and his parents had tried but failed to keep him on the “right path”.
“Eventually he was doing very bad at his university, at his education, and he didn’t complete, and they tried to take him back to Libya several times. He had difficulties adjusting to European lifestyle,” he said.
A former classmate of Abedi’s told the BBC that he was a “very jokey lad” but also “very short tempered” and would get angry at “the littlest thing”.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said Abedi had hung around “the wrong crowd and was very, very gullible”.
Before leaving Burnage Academy in 2011, Abedi had become “more and more religious”, the man added.
A Muslim community worker, who did not want to be identified, has told the BBC that two people who had known Abedi at college had made separate calls to a hotline to warn the police about his extremist views.
He said they had been worried that Abedi was “supporting terrorism” and he had expressed the view that “being a suicide bomber was ok”.
The calls are thought to have been made five years ago, he added.

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