Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Britain Raises Threat Level To 'Critical'; Attack 'May Be Imminent'

Dozens of concertgoers were also injured in the attack at the Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande show.

The announcement by the United Kingdom prime minister came just hours after police identified 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the person who carried out Monday's deadly suicide bombing in Manchester that left 22 people dead.

While ISIS quickly claimed credit for the attack, both British and USA authorities say they have yet to determine whether the terror group was involved. The spirit of Manchester - and the spirit of Britain - is far mightier than the sick plots of depraved terrorists.

Theresa May has raised Britain's security threat level from "severe" to "critical", meaning further attacks may be imminent.

It is the first time in 10 years the feared threat of a terror attack has reached its highest level and means some 5,000 troops could be deployed to support police, including at concerts and sporting events.

In a sign of the increased threat, the military could be deployed to support armed police officers, Mrs May said.

She said the request was part of an established plan known as Operation Temperer, which is now in force.

"This means that armed officers responsible for guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of officers on patrol in key locations".

The Islamic State (IS) terror group had claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned of more attacks.

"All acts of terrorism are cowardly", May said in a statement outside her Downing Street office after a meeting with British security and intelligence chiefs.

"Whilst we are chasing those gaps down, on a precautionary basis, based on that judgment, JTAC (the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre) have made this judgment about the threat level and we will respond in our policing stance to that decision".

Abedi, believed to have been born in Manchester and of Libyan descent, has been named as the suicide bomber.

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, of the Metropolitan Police, said counter-terror police were making "really good progress" in a "massive investigation" into the Manchester attack.

"There were also plain clothes officers who were armed".

"The Labour Party's General Election campaign remains suspended until further notice", a party spokesman said.

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