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Extra security in place for Arsenal-Chelsea FA Cup final

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.”

References

  1. ^ stringent security measures are in place (www.skysports.com)

Manchester Arndale evacuated as UK on alert

Manchester’s Arndale Centre has been evacuated, with people seen running away screaming and witnesses saying a man was arrested by armed police.

“Security guards and police who were armed shouted at people to get away,” said Sky’s Mike McCarthy, at the scene. “At least 100 people came round the corner – many of them screaming and trying to get away.” Some people fell over in the rush to get away and police with sniffer dogs went inside the shopping centre, said McCarthy. Police said they do not think it was related to the incident at Manchester Arena and the centre has now reopened.

Image: Some people were in tears as the shopping centre was evacuated

The evacuation happened around 12 hours after a bomb attack killed 22 people at a concert at the arena.1 :: Live updates – Manchester attack2 Extra armed police are on UK streets after the attack, with a high state of alert seeing a suspicious item blown up in Manchester in the early hours.

Image: People leave the Arndale Centre after it was evacuated

A controlled explosion took place just after 1.30am in Cathedral Gardens, near the site of the attack, but it later turned out to be a pile of abandoned clothing.

:: Security services think they know who bomber is3 Another suspicious item sparked an evacuation of London’s Victoria coach station around 6.40am. Passengers were moved to the end of the street as the area was cordoned off and buses diverted . However, the alert was called off shortly after 8am.

Image: Cars arriving at Manchester United’s training ground were also searched

Manchester United players arriving at the team’s Carrington training ground have also had their cars searched. Security staff used mirrors to check underneath vehicles and opened up the boots. The team are getting set for Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm.

:: Manchester Arena witness: ‘It was absolute carnage’4

A “mix of armed and unarmed officers” were called up for the rush hour in London, with Met Police chief Cressida Dick saying they would “continue for as long as is needed”. Police Scotland said more armed officers would be at “transport hubs and crowded places”. Policing in crowded places is also being reviewed in the West Midlands, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. Extra armed officers were called up in London and other cities after the Westminster attack in March and the Berlin attack in December. The threat from international terrorism in the UK remains “severe” – as it has been since August 2014 – meaning an attack is highly likely.

References

  1. ^ bomb attack killed 22 people at a concert at the arena. (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ Live updates – Manchester attack (news.sky.com)
  3. ^ Security services think they know who bomber is (news.sky.com)
  4. ^ Manchester Arena witness: ‘It was absolute carnage’ (news.sky.com)

Police think they know who suicide bomber is

Police and security services believe they know the identity of the man behind the Manchester suicide bombing. Speaking outside Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency COBRA committee, the Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities are working to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a group. She said the blast at Manchester Arena, which left 22 people dead1, was “among the worst terrorism we have experienced in the United Kingdom” and that the city had fallen victim to a “callous terrorist attack”. :: Live updates: 23-year-old man arrested after Manchester suicide bombing2

The target was a pop concert, the audience was a mixture of teenagers, many of them young girls, all out for a fun and innocent evening . Some were young enough to need chaperoning by parents or grandparents. If this does turn out to be an Islamist-inspired attack, the attacker has deliberately targeted everything his warped beliefs hate in a Western society. He has also demonstrated a deadly competence – he blew himself up as the high-spirited crowd streamed out of the arena after the concert .

The timing, and location of the explosion – just outside the main arena itself – suggests planning and shows he probably carried out a recce. The singer Ariana Grande is world-famous . She has more than 45 million followers on Twitter . Another basic but twisted way of guaranteeing this attack will resonate far. :: What we know so far3 The morning after the attack, a number of things will be happening simultaneously and with urgency. In Manchester, counterterrorism police from North West Command will be carrying out forensic work at the scene of the explosion.

They will try and find bomb-making signatures that might give a clue as to who was behind this attack. They will look for certain chemicals, such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP). :: Witness: ‘It was absolute carnage’4

TATP has been used by terrorists around the world, it is a favoured compound of Islamic State and it is relatively straightforward to make, but it is extremely unstable and lethal. It has been confirmed that the attacker died on the scene – this tells us that something is left of his body. That will be important in identifying him, either facially, through fingerprints, dental records or DNA. Once the security services are confident they have the right man, databases will be scoured . Was the attacker known to the security services ? Does he have known associates? His home will be searched .

So too the homes of any close relatives or friends. People might be detained, questioned and then released . Computers will be taken away and their contents and internet history studied. GCHQ will be looking for a digital trail and if necessary MI6 will speak to foreign partners to build a picture of who this man was and who he knew. Was he acting alone, a so-called lone-wolf (unlikely with this nature of attack), did he have supporters helping him in the UK, was he being remotely ‘directed’ by a centralised body (for example IS leadership in Raqqa)? These are all questions which will have been asked by the Prime Minister as she chaired the COBRA meeting. The most pressing questions of all though – was this part of a network and should the UK prepare for a secondary attack?

COBRA (the dramatic acronym for the mundane Cabinet Office Briefing Room) is attended by key members of Government, including the home and defence secretaries, the heads of the UK’s intelligence agencies and other relevant figures. The Foreign Secretary is in Brussels so wouldn’t have been there in person but could have dialled in, if necessary. The decision to raise the national threat level is one for JTAC – the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. It sits inside MI5’s headquarters on the banks of the River Thames, and acts independent from government although with input from government officials. The threat level is currently set at “severe”, one from the top . It means an attack is highly likely. If JTAC assesses that another attack is under way or imminent, it will raise that level to the highest – “critical”.

The security services have been warning that London isn’t the only target of terrorists wishing to attack the UK. Many smaller cities might be less prepared for an incident like this, but not Manchester. MI5 has a regional base in Bury, just on the outer edges of the city.

The police armed response unit is highly trained and on the scene within minutes of the attack. Now and in the coming days, armed police will patrol Manchester city centre, partly for reassurance, partly for increased security. And then there are 22 families, the morning after, at home, mourning the death of loved ones.

“The death of these children will remain with us forever,” a member of the city council told Sky News.

References

  1. ^ which left 22 people dead (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ Live updates: 23-year-old man arrested after Manchester suicide bombing (news.sky.com)
  3. ^ What we know so far (news.sky.com)
  4. ^ Witness: ‘It was absolute carnage’ (news.sky.com)