Manchester marks week since attack as intelligence questions grow

2017-05-30 07:20
Memorial candles are pictured before a vigil in St Ann's Square for the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena. (John Super, AFP)

Memorial candles are pictured before a vigil in St Ann's Square for the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena. (John Super, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manchester - A bell tolled in Manchester on Monday at the exact time when a suicide bomber struck a week before outside a teenage pop concert killing 22 people, as Britain's intelligence agency questioned whether vital clues had been missed.

Hundreds braved the rain in the northwest English city for a silent vigil at 21:31 GMT amid floral tributes, candles and teddy bears to honour the victims, who included six children.

As the number of people detained in Britain rose to 14, following an arrest early on Monday morning, police also released new CCTV images of 22-year-old attacker Salman Abedi carrying a large suitcase and appealed for information about the luggage.

Abedi detonated his bomb just after the end of a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande in one of Europe's biggest indoor arenas in central Manchester. Many of the victims were either young concert-goers or parents waiting to take their children home.

A total of 116 people were injured in the attack, by Manchester-born Abedi, a university dropout of Libyan origin, 19 of whom remain in critical condition.

The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

"You tried to destroy us but you've brought us closer together," read one message of defiance left among the tributes in central Manchester, which included heart-shaped balloons and runners' bibs left by participants in a half-marathon on Sunday.

Blue suitcase

Investigators meanwhile pushed ahead with their probe.

Police could be seen conducting a search at a rubbish tip near Manchester and they released images of Abedi carrying a blue suitcase hours before the attack, asking the public where and when they might have seen him with it in the preceding days.

"We have no reason to believe the case and its contents contain anything dangerous, but would ask people to be cautious," the police said in a statement, stressing that the suitcase was different from the backpack Abedi used in the attack.

Abedi is believed to have returned from a trip to Libya a few days before the bombing and had also recently transited through airports in Istanbul and Dusseldorf in Germany.

The latest person held was a 23-year-old man arrested in the southern coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, more than 400km from Manchester.

Fourteen men are now detained on UK soil in the investigation, while Abedi's father and brother have been held in Libya, where officials said the two brothers were ISIS jihadists.

None of the men arrested in Britain have so far been charged with any crime and police have up to 14 days in which to do so under special anti-terrorism laws.

MI5 probe is 'right' 

Amid mounting criticism of the security services, the domestic intelligence agency MI5 is looking at decisions taken in the case of Abedi, who used to be on a terror watchlist, but was no longer on it at the time of the attack, and whether warnings about his behaviour were ignored.

"There is a lot of information coming out at the moment about what happened, how this occurred, what people might or might not have known," Britain's interior minister Amber Rudd told Sky News.

"It is right that MI5 take a look to find out what the facts are," she added.

British media have reported that two people who knew Abedi made separate calls to an anti-terrorism hotline to warn the police about his extremist views.

The Mail on Sunday also cited a source saying that US federal agents had been investigating Abedi since mid-2016 and had flagged up concerns to MI5.

The BBC reported that Abedi had taken part in the armed uprising against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi regime as a teenager during school holidays.

Station reopening

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday lowered the terror threat level, which had been hiked in the immediate aftermath of Monday's attack.

Operation Temperer, which involved the highly unusual deployment of armed troops on Britain's streets, was also being wound down on Monday night.

Cuts in police force numbers made while May was interior minister have become a focus for the campaign ahead of a general election on June 8 and polls have shown her ruling Conservatives' strong lead over the opposition Labour Party shrinking in recent days.

From 2009 to 2016, the number of police officers fell by almost 20 000, or around 14%.

May argues that the government has increased funding for security and intelligence agencies.

"What we had to do when we came into government in 2010 was to ensure that we were living within our means," May said when pressed about the cuts by a police officer during a televised question and answer session on Monday.

Read more on:    uk  |  manchester attack

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.

 
 

Paws

Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.