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Three men arrested over Manchester attack: police

British police patrol through Trafalgar Square in central London on May 23, 2017 a day after a deadly terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (AFP)
Interior Minister says suspected bomber was known by police as national terror threat raised to 'critical'

British police on Wednesday made three more arrests over the Manchester concert attack that left 22 people dead, bringing the number of men in custody to four.

"Three men have been arrested after police executed warrants in South Manchester, in connection with the ongoing investigation into Monday night's horrific attack at the Manchester arena," a statement said.

The attack was "likely" the work of more than one person, British interior minister Amber Rudd said Wednesday.

"It was a devastating occasion, it was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we've seen before, and it seems likely -- possible -- that he wasn't doing this on his own," she told BBC radio.

Rudd confirmed that bomber Salman Abedi, a British man of Libyan heritage who died in the explosion on Monday night, had been on the radar of the security services.

"We do know that he was known up to a point to the intelligence services," she told Sky News.

Clarifying this on the BBC she said: "The security services will know a lot of people. It doesn't mean that they're expected to arrest everybody they know.

"But it is somebody that they had known."

Ben STANSALL (AFP)

She said she had "complete confidence" in the security services.

The minister said she was "not surprised at all" that the attack had been claimed by the Islamic State group, but said there was no information yet to confirm the extremist organisation's active direction.

Britain's national terror threat level was raised late Tuesday to "critical", meaning another attack may be imminent, following the attack on the concert of US singer Ariana Grande.

London police said Wednesday they would be calling in the army to help guard key landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and foreign embassies.

Troops deploy as Britain goes on top terror alert

Britain ordered soldiers to key sites on Wednesday after going on maximum alert for fear of an imminent new terror strike following a suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester.

Prime Minister Theresa May placed the country on its highest level of terror alert -- "critical" -- for the first time since June 2007, following an attack on Glasgow Airport.

The last time troops were deployed on British streets was after an airliner plot in 2007.

Ben STANSALL (AFP)

Troops will fan out at sites such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster and foreign embassies in London to free up armed police for anti-terror duties.

May said a new attack "may be imminent" but the authorities stressed that the soldiers would remain under police command.

"This is a temporary arrangement in order to respond to an exceptional event," Rudd said.

'Sing with the angels'

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since July 7, 2005 when four suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London's transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people.

A Polish couple living in Britain were confirmed among the Manchester victims, along with 15-year-old Olivia Campbell, whose mother had issued heartrending appeals for help when her daughter was still listed as missing.

Next to a photograph of Olivia, Charlotte Campbell wrote on Facebook: "RIP my darling precious gorgeous girl Olivia Campbell taken far far to soon go sing with the angels and keep smiling mummy loves you so much."

Oli SCARFF                           (AFP)

A total of 59 people were taken to hospital, many with life-threatening conditions. Twelve of them were aged under 16.

British media said Abedi was born in Manchester and that his Libyan parents had fled the regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Police on Tuesday staged an armed raid on a Manchester address believed to be where Abedi lived, carrying out a controlled explosion to gain entry after arresting a 23-year-old man as part of the investigation.

Abedi was reported to be a former business student who dropped out of university and turned to radical Islam.

Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun carried pictures Wednesday of eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who was killed in the attack, and of Abedi under the words "PURE" and "EVIL" respectively.

Monday's attack came just over two weeks before Britain votes in a general election and campaigning remained suspended by all the main political parties.

Black armbands

The plan for the troop deployment, which has never before been used and is codenamed Operation Temperer, was first revealed after the November 2015 Paris terror attacks and is believed to allow up to 5,000 troops to be deployed.

France has already grown used to the sight of rifle-toting soldiers on the streets of its major cities under a state of emergency imposed after the attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and elsewhere in Paris.

Ben STANSALL (AFP)

British police had already announced extra security measures for upcoming sporting fixtures including Saturday's FA Cup football final.

Manchester was the latest in a series of deadly incidents across Europe claimed by IS jihadists that have coincided with an offensive on the group's redoubts in Syria and Iraq carried out by US, British and other Western forces.

In a city famed globally for its football teams and pop bands like Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Take That, showbusiness stars and teams have joined political leaders worldwide in expressing their horror at the carnage.

"Words don't really do justice for how we all feel. We're numb," Manchester United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said, ahead of Wednesday evening's Europa League final against Amsterdam giants Ajax.

The players will wear black armbands for the game in Stockholm and a minute's silence will be held.

In the city centre Tuesday evening, thousands gathered for a multi-faith vigil outside the town hall to remember the victims, with defiant chants of "Manchester! Manchester!" ringing around.

Macron seeks extension of French state of emergency: presidency

New French President Emmanuel Macron will seek an extension of the country's state of emergency until November 1 and wants to strengthen the power of security forces with a new law, the presidency announced on Wednesday.

Before his election on May 7, 39-year-old Macron had indicated that he would ask parliament to prolong the state of emergency, which has been in place since a series of attacks in Paris in November 2015.

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