Manchester Ariana Grande concert attack: Further arrests as police investigations advance

MANCHESTER police wearing combat gear are raiding a block of flats in the city’s centre, just hours after making three arrests in the city’s south in relation to the Ariana Grande concert bombing.

The flats are part of a stone and brick building on Granby Row. Fire and ambulance units are also in attendance.

More details are to come.

Earlier, police said they were executing a search warrant in South Manchester when three new arrests were made.

The Manchester Evening News reported neighbors as saying they saw police raid a property early this morning local time (shortly after 7pm AEDT).

A 23-year-old had been arrested in the South Manchester area on Tuesday in relation to the bombing.

The new arrests came shortly after Britain’s Interior Minister said the suicide bomber who killed 22 people, including children, was likely not acting alone.

Manchester health authorities say 64 people remain in hospital, with 20 of those in a critical condition.

Thousands of locals packed central city streets in Manchester, in northern England, to honour those killed and injured when Salman Ramadan Abedi set off a bomb packed with nails, bolts and ball-bearings at a concert at Manchester Arena being performed by American pop star Ariana Grande.

They vowed not to be defeated or divided by terrorism, with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham saying: “today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.’’

But in Downing Street, officials warned the prime minister that the risk of another terror strike was critical.

A man is detained by police near Buckingham Palace.

QUEEN IN SECURITY SCARE

In an unrelated incident, Police detained a man outside Buckingham Palace as a car believed to be carrying the Queen drove past. He was held to the ground by police who took him away in the back of a police van.

Scotland Yard have since confirmed the man who was arrested was in posession of a knife, but the incident was not believed terror related.

Police officers guard the location of a building where it is believed a number of arrests were made in connection with terrorist Salmon Abedi Wednesday in Manchester, England.

MORE VICTIMS NAMED

Greater Manchester Police say they are now ‘confident’ they have identified all those who lost their lives and that all families have been informed.

“Due to the number of victims, forensic post-mortems are likely to take four or five days,” a statement reads. “After this we will be in a position to formally name the victims with guidance from the coroner.”

A 29-year-old PR manager, Martyn Hett, has been confirmed as among those who died in the stadium blast.

Mr Hett’s partner Russell Hayward, who had appeared with his “soulmate’’ on the TV show Come Dine with Me, confirmed the tragic news in a tweet.

“We got the news last night that our wonderful, iconic and beautiful Martyn didn’t survive,’’ Mr Hayward wrote.

“He left the world exactly how he lived, centre of attention. I’m in a really bad way so please forgive if I don’t reply.

“Thankfully I have his wonderful and amazing friends to keep each other strong, I love you Martyn. I always will.’’

A married Polish couple who went to the concert to collect their daughters have also been confirmed dead.

Marcin and Angelika Klis were in the foyer of the stadium, waiting to take their daughters home to York, when the bomb was detonated.

Their daughters had been running a social media campaign looking for Mr Klis, 42, and Mrs Klis, 40.

One of their children was a student at the University of York.

Angelika and Marcin Klis have been named as victims of the Manchester suicide bomber

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told radio RFM FM a Polish couple had died, although their daughters had been found safe.

“The parents came after the concert to collect their daughters and unfortunately we have information that they are dead,’’ he said.

Among the victims have now been named are two mothers who went to collect their teenage daughters from the concert, an aunt who shielded her sister and niece from the blast, two 15-year-old girls, an 18-year-old girl, a 26-year-old man, and the tiniest victim, eight-year-old fan Saffie Rose Roussos.

Distraught pop princess Grande, a Nickelodeon TV starlet who transitioned into pop and whose fan base is heavily built on young girls and teenagers, flew into her home city of Boca Raton in Florida, the US.

She stepped off a private jet and into the arms of her boyfriend, Mac Miller.

She has tweeted that she is “broken’’ by the carnage unleashed on her young fans, and has suspended her Dangerous Woman tour of Europe.

Armed police patrol St Albert’s square in Manchester city centre. Britain’s Westminster Palace has been closed to all non-authorised personnel and the famous Changing of the Guard suspended indefinitely as a result of advice from police.

ATTACKER UNMASKED

The man who killed 22 people in a suicide blast at Manchester was named as the British-born son of Libyan refugees

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Salman Ramadan Abedi was known to security services “up to a point.’’

“It seems likely, possible, that he wasn’t doing this on his own,” she said.

Ms Rudd said it was not yet known if Abedi had carried out the attack on behalf of Islamic State, which on Tuesday claimed responsibility.

Abedi was a university dropout with “proven” links to the Islamic State group, according to France’s interior minister.

Born to a devoutly Muslim Libyan family in Britain’s third biggest city, officials said he was known to British security services and the Financial Times reported he had turned to radical Islam.

Abedi, 22, worshipped at a mosque in a leafy Manchester suburb popular with students.

His father was reportedly a well-known figure who sometimes performed the call to prayer.

Abedi “grew up in Britain and then suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then likely to Syria, became radicalised and decided to carry out this attack”, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told BFMTV.

He said it was “possible” that Abedi had had assistance from other people, adding that his links with the Islamic State group which claimed responsibility for the carnage “are proven”.

Abedi’s family have lived in the Fallowfield area of south Manchester for at least 10 years, according to The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Armed police raided an address in the modestly well-to-do area on Tuesday, carrying out a controlled explosion to gain entry.

A 23-year-old man was also arrested in the south of the city in connection with the attack. Three more men were arrested in the area Wednesday.

Abedi’s family were closely linked to the Didsbury Mosque, a Victorian former Methodist chapel in a leafy suburb that was bought in 1967 by donors from the Syrian community.

His father Ramadan had sometimes performed the call to prayer and his brother Ismael had been a volunteer.

One senior figure from the mosque however, Mohammed Saeed, told The Guardian that when he once gave a sermon denouncing terror, Abedi stared him down.

“Salman showed me a face of hate after that sermon,” Mohammed Saeed said of the 2015 encounter.

“He was showing me hatred.”

SCHOOL STATEMENT

Abedi’s former school, the Burnage Academy for Boys, has released a statement after it was revealed the attacker had been one of their pupils:

“We can confirm that Salman Abedi attended Burnage between 2009-2011. As this is an ongoing police investigation, we know that the press will understand that it is in the public interest for us to say no more at this time. We are a Manchester school. We feel the pain that Manchester feels. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Mancunian’s against terrorism in all forms.

“Our deepest condolences go to all who have been affected by this outrage.”

Mounted police direct media and onlookers away after cycle police detained a man near Buckingham Palace.

SECURITY CLAMP-DOWN

The Palace of Westminster – where UK’s Parliament is housed – was last night closed to the public and all not posessing the appropriate security passes. The move was based on police advice, but no details were released.

With the terror threat raised to critical, the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, which always attracts crowds of tourists, was cancelled on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Defence said it was to allow the “deployment of police.’’

Scotland Yard has confirmed troops will replace police at locations including Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and Westminster.

British soldiers arrive by bus and head toward a building next to New Scotland Yard police headquarters near to the Houses of Parliament in central London. Britain ordered soldiers to key sites Wednesday.

TROOPS SWARM STREETS

Up to 1000 heavily-armed troops are being deployed on to streets across the United Kingdom as the terror threat was raised to critical.

The Government has activated Operation Temperer, a plan to replace some police patrols with 984 heavily-armed troops, and increase police presence, major sporting events and tourist landmarks.

Prime Minister Theresa May raised the terror threat level from severe to critical for the first time in almost 10 years, meaning the risk of terror striking on UK soil was now imminent.

Mrs May said she did not want to “unduly alarm’’ the public but warned: “it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack’’.

With the FA Cup final scheduled for Saturday at Wembley Stadium, it is likely the public will see troops patrolling as soon as this weekend.

Police forensic investigators search the property of Salmon Abedi today.

INVESTIGATION ADVANCES

In Manchester, investigators are working to determine if Manchester-born Abedi, whose Libyan-born parents were granted refugee status in the UK to allow them to escape the despotic regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was acting alone, or as part of an Islamist network.

Forensic specialists are sifting the remnants of the bomb he detonated inside the foyer at the Manchester Arena as thousands of young concertgoers left the arena at the end of the concert, and seized a handbook entitled “Know your Chemicals’’ from his home in south Manchester.

They have also obtained CCTV vision of him approaching the arena.

Special Forces were deployed to Manchester in the hunt for anyone who may have been an accomplice to Abedi, while a 23-year-old man arrested on Tuesday remained in custody.

MANCHESTER UNITES

As the roads around Manchester Arena and the adjoining Victoria train station remain cordoned off by police last night, there were extraordinary scenes hours earlier when thousands of people packed into the CBD to stand against terrorism.

Senior figures including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, home secretary Amber Rudd, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, and sporting hero, former cricket captain Freddie Flintoff were in the crowd.

The city vowed to stick together.

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Mayor Burnham said Manchester would grow stronger.

“I wanted to thank the people of Manchester. Even in the minute after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.

“It will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”