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Security and safety measures in response to bombing

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the events in Manchester and our deepest condolences are with the families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives.

Dorset Police stand with Greater Manchester Police and other forces across the country . Public safety is our priority and we have a variety of established operational tactics that are regularly used to ensure that our local communities and businesses are both well prepared and protected.

Our aim is to reduce the risk to the public and maximise public awareness . As is normal practice, we are in touch with national anti-terrorism coordinators.

At .

this time there has been no change to the threat level in the UK but this is reviewed on a national basis and Dorset Police will, if necessary, respond accordingly . We regularly review intelligence and information and would like to reassure the public that at this time there is no specific threat to Dorset . The public should be alert but not alarmed.

The advice remains the same members of the public should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity to police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.

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)

UEFA confirm Europa League final to go ahead but will increase security in wake of Manchester attack

European football’s governing body, UEFA, have confirmed that the Europa League1 final between Manchester United2 and Ajax3 in Stockholm will go ahead following the tragic events at Manchester Arena on Monday night. A terror attack4 at an Ariana Grande concert left 22 people dead and 59 injured. UEFA have two major finals in the next 11 days, with Wednesday’s clash followed by the pinnacle of the European season on Saturday week – the Champions League final in Cardiff.

They have been liaising with Swedish police ahead of the match in Stockholm for a number of months, increasing their detail following the Stockholm terror attack5 in April, which left five people dead and 15 other injured when a hijacked truck was eliberately driven into crowds along Drottninggatan,. Seeking to allay fears, UEFA have stated that there is “currently no specific intelligence” that the final will be targeted. UEFA have urged supporters travelling to the Friends Arena that “detailed checks” will take place upon arrival.

Stockholm’s Friends Arena A pitchside view

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“UEFA is shocked by last night’s attack in Manchester .

Our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those affected,” read the statement.

“There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks.

“UEFA has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA for many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project.

“Furthermore, a number of additional security measures were implemented following the attacks in Stockholm last April.

“Due to the tight security arrangements, UEFA urges fans to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, as detailed checks will be made at the entrances, resulting in potential in accessing the stadium.”

United fly out to the Swedish capital on Tuesday, ahead of the clash with the Dutch giants .

They are expected to ask UEFA if they can wear black armbands.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin offered his condolences

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin added: “I am deeply saddened by the horrible terrorist attack in Manchester last night.

“It shocks me that so many innocent people lost their lives and I would like to send my condolences to the families of those affected.”

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Who will win the Europa League final?

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Manchester United Ajax

References

  1. ^ Europa League (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Manchester United (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ Ajax (www.mirror.co.uk)
  4. ^ terror attack (www.mirror.co.uk)
  5. ^ Stockholm terror attack (www.mirror.co.uk)