Developments pertaining to the horrific Manchester bombing on Monday have continued to unfold as a fifth man and a woman were arrested Wednesday in Britain, in what Greater Manchester police describe as “a fast-moving investigation.”
This brings the arrest tally to six in the UK, with police saying they are investigating a “network” after suicide bomber Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured 64 at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
Police arrested a woman in an armed raid at a block of apartments in north Manchester as well as a man in Wigan – 16 miles northwest of Manchester – the latter of whom had been carrying a package which is now being “assessed.” Reuters has reported that Abedi’s father, Ramadan, and his younger brother Hashem have been arrested in Libya with Hashem reportedly arrested on suspicion of links with the Islamic State.
With the UK terror threat level now up to its highest level of “critical,” Grande, who was on the European leg of her Dangerous Woman world tour, officially suspended future shows until June 7, canceling concerts at London’s O2 Arena on Thursday and Friday as well as shows in Belgium, Poland and Germany. A statement from the singer said she wanted to pay “proper respects to those lost.”
British actor Tom Hardy has already launched a fundraising drive for victims of the attack. The Mad Max star is raising money for the British Red Cross Society saying that he was “truly saddened by what I have witnessed and there is no doubt that terrorism is an evil thing.” Hardy has raised nearly £12,500 of his £15,000 target. The British Red Cross has so far crossed the £2M mark for victims of the attack.
Warner Bros. announced that it was canceling the London premiere of Wonder Woman in the wake of the events saying that “in light of the current situation, we will not be proceeding with our plans for the Wonder Woman premiere and junket activities in London.”
Almost 1,000 British soldiers have been deployed on the streets of Britain today. Buckingham Palace’s famous changing of the guard, a major London tourist attraction, was canceled so troops could be redeployed across the country.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that the attack “was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before, and it seems likely – possible – that he [Abedi] wasn’t doing this on his own.”
Earlier this morning, Rudd criticized the U.S. after confidential details about the attack and attacker were apparently leaked to the media by American intelligence officers. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that “the British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise.”
She added: “So it is irritating when it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again.”
The New York Times has released a series of images which it says were gathered by UK authorities at the scene of the attack and suggests the evidence is a “powerful, high-velocity charge, and a bomb in which its shrapnel was carefully and evenly packed.” UK authorities have reportedly reacted with dismay to the publication of the pictures.
Tomorrow (Thursday) a minute’s silence will be held at 11am BST in remembrance of those who lost their lives or were affected by the attack.
More as it unfolds…