LONDON – The UK has raised the terrorism threat level on the entire country from “severe” to “critical” as British intelligence believes that another attack is “imminent”.
It is the first time since the London bombings in 2005 that the threat level was raised to critical, which is the highest level.
This, after an alleged suicide bomber identified by police as Salman Abedi, who is of Libyan descent but born and raised in Britain, detonated himself outside the Manchester Arena on Monday night just after a concert by pop tar Ariana Grande.
Twenty-two peopl, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed while 59 others were wounded in the blast. Most of those injured were girls in their pre-teens and teens.
Police said Abedi acted alone.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the raising of the threat level means “not only that another attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent.”
She also said it will allow the government to deploy armed military personnel, police and other security forces, particularly in the guarding of key sites, concerts and sporting events.
“I do not want the public to feel unduly alarmed,” May pointed out, adding that the deployment of security forces is “proportionate and sensible” to the threat level.
British flags across the country flew at half-mast as tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing. Flags of European Union member-countries also flew at half-mast outside the EU’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Queen Elizabeth II expressed shock over the bombing and described the bombing as “an act of barbarity”.
Meanwhile, British police have carried two raids and arrested a person in relation to the Manchester blast.
World leaders led by US President Donald Trump condemned the bombing. Trump said in a speech in Jerusalem described the terrorists involved as “evil losers”.
The terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the bombing but did not provide evidence to back up their claim.
A US counterterrorism official told CNN that ISIS said on its Telegram channel on Tuesday that a “soldier of the caliphate” was able to “plant explosive devices” at the arena while a British counterterrorism source also told the cable network that there is no evidence of a link between the attacker and an established terror group. GAC/Expat Media
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