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.
HOLYROOD SECURITY TRAINING
MP, political party HQ and council building as well as two police bases were targeted within a matter of hours last month
HOLYROOD security chiefs are working with cops on a training programme on suspicious packages for MSPs after a spate of recent scares. An MP, political party HQ and council building as well as two police bases were targeted within a matter of hours last month with suspect packages in the mail.
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Police stationed outside Scottish Parliament
MSPs were put on alert1 after three items were delivered to SNP MP John Nicolson s office, a party base and an Angus Council building in 24 hours. Security officials at the Scottish Parliament sent advice to elected members after one of the packages was sent to the constituency office of Nicolson2 on Tuesday, May 25.
Now they are working with police to develop special training for MSPs and their staff on mail handling and suspicious packages.
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PETROL STATION PROBE
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M8 CAR SMASH
A Holyrood spokesman told the Scottish Sun: Parliament security staff are currently working with Police Scotland to develop a training package on mail handling and suspicious packages. Two days after the incident at Nicolson s office, cops revealed officers were scrambled to the Scottish Police Federation building in Glasgow and to the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan, Fife after packages were delivered there. Two packages containing white powder were also delivered to an Angus Council building in Forfar.
The Municipal Buildings on Castle Street were closed off despite police saying the package poses no immediate threat to the public.
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Police car outside Holyrood
The contents of the package were described as white powder type substances and are related to the upcoming snap election in June. Cops have launched a major probe into the incidents. An email from Holyrood head of security Becky Thomson was circulated around MSPs with advice from cops.
In the email, she said: Dear Members, between Tuesday and Wednesday, three suspicious mail packages containing a white powder type substance were sent to an elected official, a political party headquarters and a council building.
All packages were associated with the forthcoming UK general election . Police Scotland s enquiries into this matter are ongoing.
We enclose a letter from Police Scotland with some further advice regarding mail handling, suspicious packages and indicators of white powder .
We would be grateful if you would take the time to review this information and discuss with your local office staff . The same information has been issued to all elected representatives across Scotland.
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A drunken hostel resident was caught on camera allegedly beating a security guard to death1 because the man was ‘drinking on duty’. The horrific incident was captured on CCTV 2in the foyer of a hostel in the Russian city of Severodvinsk. Police later arrested the 45-year-old resident who confronted the guard, 57, on his way from his room to the porch of the hostel for a cigarette.
Both men had reportedly been drinking but the resident was unhappy that the security guard was drinking in his office at the hostel when he was supposed to be on duty. The man gave the security guard a piece of his mind and then continued outside for a cigarette but the pair clashed again when he was on his way back to his room. The security guard is said to have told the younger man to mind his own business and the pair squared up to each other before the resident knocked out the guard with a single punch.
The man gave the security guard a piece of his mind (Photo: CEN) A single punch knocked out the guard (Photo: CEN)
The resident then stamped four times on his rival’s head before standing back to survey the damage before kicking him in the side of the head. Video shows the attacker then looked into the guard’s room before checking his pockets and walking away. The footage of the violent attack has shocked viewers after it was posted on social media.
The resident then stamped four times on his rival’s head (Photo: CEN)
He has been charged with killing the security guard and faces a 15-year prison sentence if convicted. Severodvinsk is home to the main shipyard for the Russian Navy so access is restricted for foreigners. Visitors need a special pass to enter the city.