UK lowers attack threat level as police close in on bomber’s network

News Hour:

British intelligence experts no longer believe another attack is imminent as significant progress has been made by police investigating the suicide bomb attack on a pop concert in Manchester, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday.

Police hunting a suspected network behind Salman Abedi, the bomber who killed 22 people on Monday night, said they had made two further arrests overnight and that they had a greater understanding of how his device was made, reports Reuters.

May said this meant the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), the independent body which sets the threat level, had decided it should be lowered from its highest rating “critical”, which meant an attack could be imminent, to “severe”.

“A significant amount of police activity has taken place over the last 24 hours and there are now 11 suspects in custody,” May said.

“The public should be clear about what this means. A threat level of severe means an attack is highly likely. The country should remain vigilant.”

The threat assessment has now been returned to the level it was at prior to the attack in Manchester, northwest England, and means soldiers who have been assisting police would be withdrawn from Britain’s streets from midnight on Monday.

As well as killing 22 people, including seven children, Monday’s blast injured 116 with 63 still in hospital and 20 in critical care, health officials said.

In the latest police action on Saturday, officers used a controlled explosion to gain entry to an address in the north of the city where two men were detained.

Some hours later, police cordoned off a large area in the Moss Side area of south Manchester and houses were evacuated with a bomb disposal unit sent to the scene.

Security services had feared an experienced bomb-maker could be large but a source with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters on Thursday Abedi might have made the bomb himself or with an accomplice, lessening the risk of another attack.

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