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Police and security services have found bomb-making materials which could be primed for imminent attacks in the extensive raids following the Manchester suicide bombing, The Independent has learned. One suspect device was blown up in a controlled explosion and security sources say that there is a real possibility that there are other materials yet to be found . The law agencies are convinced that a terrorist network had been established to carry out a sustained assault and further arrests are likely in and outside Manchester. Meanwhile family members of the Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi have been arrested in Libya and the UK . The bomber s father, Ramadan Abedi, was taken away in Tripoli by masked gunmen from a government militia as he was giving a television interview declaring that his dead son was innocent .
Another son living in the city with him, Hashem, was detained soon afterwards, with Libyan officials officials stating that he had links with Isis . Salman Abedi s mother, Samia Tabbal, and another son, Ismail, have been arrested in Manchester. Three arrests were made on Tuesday night, and a further three arrests followed on Wednesday of a man in Wigan, a man in Nuneaton and a woman in Blackley, north Manchester. The focus is now very much on the Libyan connection . Abedi s father was a fighter with an Islamist group banned by the UN s Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee after the 9/11 attacks in New York. The Independent has learned he once worked for the Gaddafi regime s security apparatus before turning towards hardline Islam: one of his associates once ran a group called the Islamic Martyrs Movement.
The Abedi elder, also known as Abu Ismail al-Obaidi, was a long-term member of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group (LIFG), which had forged links with al-Qaeda during the war against the Russians in Afghanistan . He left Manchester to take part in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and currently works with a militia, the Nawasi Brigade, in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Abedi had joined LIFG when it was run by Abdelhakim Belhaj who now heads a political party, Al Watan, in Libya and is taking legal action against the British government for the “rendition”of him and his wife to the Libyan regime in which MI6 played a part . This was at a time when Muammar Gaddafi was being presented by the UK as a valued ally and feted by prime minister Tony Blair.
Abedi claimed today his son had nothing to do with the murders of 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert. “We don t believe in killing innocents . This is not us,” he insisted . His son, he claimed, was preparing to go to Saudi Arabia before spending the month of Ramadan with the rest of the family in Libya. The police and security agencies had managed to establish Abedi s identity quickly after finding his bank card at the scene of the attack . It has also emerged that a member of the family, as yet unnamed, had contacted the police after being alarmed by Abedi s increasingly aggressive Islamist statements.
The developments came on a day when authorities scrambled to piece together the events that led to Monday night’s atrocity in Manchester:
– Police arrested six people in the UK in connection with Monday night’s attack after discovering evidence of a wider terrorist cell functioning in the city
– Crime scene photos of shrapnel, a battery pack and the detonator used in the attack were published by The New York Times in a suspected intelligence leak, condemned by UK officials
– 1,000 armed soldiers were deployed to key sites across the country, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament
– Police confirmed they had identified the 22 who died, including a serving off-duty police officer from Cheshire Constabulary
Abedi had been to Libya several times . His last visit, according to his father, was six weeks ago . The French foreign minister, Gerard Collomb, claimed today that the British security agencies believe he went on to Syria from Libya . But a senior security source said: “We think he got a few things garbled there, we know that Abedi had gone to Libya, whether he went to Syria or not remains a line of inquiry.”
Abedi s behaviour changed after he returned from his last Libyan visit, according to neighbours and friends with espousal of hardline Islam . It is at this time, it is believed, that one of the calls to the police was made by a member of the extended family. His father’s path to militancy began when he fell out with Gaddafi regime. The Independent has learned that in 1991 he left Libya for Saudi Arabia where he began to attend sermons by Salafist preachers .
It was a time when Saudi Arabia was funding, with the US and UK, the mujaheddin war against the Russians in Afghanistan and at a time when LIFG built connections with al-Qaeda . There is no evidence that Abedi had fought in Afghanistan or had links with al-Qaeda. Abedi left Saudi Arabia for Britain in 1992 with his wife . They lived in London before joining the Libyan community in Manchester, the largest in the UK where they started their family . He returned to Libya in 2008 under a reconciliation programme started by the Gaddafi regime . This involved him, and others taking part, to renounce extremism and violence.
Three years later Abedi was back in Libya in the uprising against Col Gaddafi . The regime fell after months of Nato bombing instigated by Britain and France . In the chaotic aftermath which followed extremist groups, including Isis, moved in . Conditions became ripe for exporting jihad to the UK.
Scotland’s roads thrown into chaos as security ramped up at Fife naval base in wake of Manchester bombing
security threat chaos
But the measures were still warmly welcomed by those affected as a ring of steel is thrown up around key locations
SCOTLAND S new national security level caused major road delays today as commuters got to grips with enhanced security measures ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of the Manchester bombing. But the measures were still warmly welcomed by those affected as a ring of steel is thrown up around key locations including the strategically important dockyards and travel hubs in Fife.
Staff at Rosyth Dockyard, an integration site for the Royal Navy s newest aircraft carriers, went through rigorous security checks this morning causing huge tailbacks towards Dunfermline and Edinburgh. Commuters waited for hours as traffic came to a standstill, while bus services were thrown into chaos.
A union chief said increased security at naval bases is standard practice during heightened terror threats. Bob MacGregor, regional officer at Unite, said: We at Unite welcome this decision which will give our members increased protection. The move comes two days after Manchester Arena was nail bombed by terrorist Salman Abedi1.
The Brit-born suicide bomber, 22, was unmasked 2as Theresa May raised the UK threat level to critical for the first time in ten years with up to 3,800 soldiers on the streets because another terror attack could be imminent .
The frantic family of missing Scots teen Eilidh MacLeod3 are continuing their desperate search for her following the attack. The 14-year-old had travelled to see pop star Ariana Grande with pal Laura MacIntyre4, 15, when horror struck on Monday night. The pair had made the long trip south from Barra to see their favourite singer.
Laura s relatives received news last night that the teenager had been found alive in hospital and is being treated for serious burns.5
Police Scotland announced this morning there would be increased security at sites across Scotland. Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: My thoughts and those of everyone at Police Scotland continue to be with those who have lost loved ones or who were injured in the attack in Manchester.
With the threat level now at Critical, we have now established a multi-agency co-ordination centre to lead and co-ordinate the response across the country along with key partners.
Police Scotland will be increasing our operations to protect the people of Scotland, our businesses and public places.
This may include a range of options aimed at increasing security at these sites, reassuring residents, businesses, workers and visitors so they can go about their daily lives as normally as possible.
Yesterday morning, we increased the number of armed police on patrol at key locations and the public should expect to see armed officers on foot patrol.
We are reviewing all significant events along with event organisers taking place within the next 14 days and will increase the security footprint around those events where it is deemed appropriate.
We have well-rehearsed plans to respond to major incidents and we will be continuing to work with our partners to address the current heightened threat.
However, there is no intelligence to suggest there is any specific threat to Scotland but I would ask the public to remain alert and report anything suspicious.
SEARCH FOR EILIDH
SCOTS CAUGHT IN TERROR
‘Cowardice has a face’
COUNSELLING FOR KIDS
HARD TO SWALLOW
WE WON’T BACK DOWN
SCOTLAND TERROR REVIEW
ARMED POLICE ON ALERT
ARMED COPS ONLY
However troops will not be deployed imminently in Scotland6 following the Manchester terror attack despite nearly 1000 soldiers being scrambled down south.
Police Scotland chiefs have declined to follow suit after Theresa May said the Army could be sent to concerts and sports matches .
World unites in solidarity with Manchester after Salman Abedi terror attack at Ariana Grande gig
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- ^ nail bombed by terrorist Salman Abedi (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
- ^ unmasked (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
- ^ missing Scots teen Eilidh MacLeod (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
- ^ pal Laura MacIntyre (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
- ^ last night that the teenager had been found alive in hospital and is being treated for serious burns. (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
- ^ troops will not be deployed imminently in Scotland (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
Last Updated: 23/05/17 2:27pm
Wembley will have enhanced security for Saturday’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea
The Football Association says “enhanced security” will be in place at the FA Cup final in the wake of Monday’s Manchester attack. A terrorist attack at the end of a concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday night left 22 people dead and 59 injured. And sporting organisations including the FA, the EFL and the International Cricket Council have sought to reassure supporters due to attend upcoming games. The victims of the attack will be remembered at Saturday’s final between Arsenal and Chelsea, and fans have been told to expect extra security checks at Wembley.
“Fan safety is of paramount importance and we have robust security measures in place at Wembley Stadium,” an FA statement read. “In collaboration with the Metropolitan Police and the local authorities there will be an enhanced security operation for all upcoming events. “All supporters are encouraged to arrive for events at Wembley Stadium as early as possible for security checks and to avoid any delays in entering the stadium.”
Wembley also hosts the League Two and Championship play-off finals on Sunday and Monday, and an EFL statement read: “Whilst there have been no specific threats in this country, our Security Advisor will be liaising with Wembley Stadium, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and the Metropolitan Police to ensure the arrangements in place provide a safe and secure environment for all supporters attending this weekend’s play-off matches. “The safety of fans remains our highest priority . The EFL takes security issues extremely seriously and we would urge all supporters planning to be at Wembley Stadium to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times, stay alert and not be alarmed.”
Manchester United held a minute’s silence for the victims and those injured in the Manchester attacks
Manchester United held a minute’s silence for the victims as they prepared to fly out for Wednesday’s Europa League final in Stockholm, where stringent security measures are in place1. The ICC, meanwhile, says security is the “highest priority” ahead of its Champions Trophy and Women’s World Cup tournaments in England. “We operate on advice from our Tournament Security Directorate – in conjunction with the ECB and relevant authorities – to ensure that we have a robust safety and security plan for both tournaments,” a statement read. “We will continue to work with authorities over the coming hours and days and review our security in line with the threat levels.
“The security situation has been very much front and centre of our preparations and we constantly review our procedures to guarantee they are as effective as possible to keep everyone safe.”