UK lowers terror threat level to ‘severe’ as more arrested

UK lowers terror threat level to ‘severe’ as more arrested
Police officers carry an evidence bag outside the entrance of a property in Moss Side, Manchester, Britain, May 27, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 27 May 2017

UK lowers terror threat level to ‘severe’ as more arrested

UK lowers terror threat level to ‘severe’ as more arrested

MANCHESTER, England: Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from “critical” to “severe,” as authorities said major progress has been made in unraveling the plot behind the Manchester bombing. More arrests are expected.
Prime Minister Theresa May said “a significant amount of police activity” and several arrests had led to the level being lowered. But she urged Britons to remain vigilant and said soldiers would remain at high-profile sites throughout the current holiday weekend. The troops will gradually be withdrawn from Monday, May said.
A severe threat means an attack is “highly likely,” according to the scale set by Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Center. Until it was raised Tuesday, it had stayed at severe since mid-2014.
Police made two more attests Saturday, bringing the number of suspects in custody to 11. All are men, aged between 18 and 44.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer, said authorities have dismantled a “large part” of the network around bomber Salman Abedi. But he said there were still “gaps in our understanding” of the plot, as investigators probed Abedi’s potential links to jihadis in Britain, Europe, Libya and the Middle East.
Rowley said the investigation had made “rapid progress,” and police “are getting a greater understanding of the preparation of the bomb.”
“There is still much more to do. There will be more arrests and there will be more searches,” he said.
Greater Manchester Police said two men, aged 20 and 22, were detained early Saturday in the northwest England city on suspicion of terrorism offenses. Police used an explosive device to get into a property to make the arrests.
Investigators have searched 17 properties, including bomber Salman Abedi’s home in south Manchester and other houses in nearby districts.
Residents were evacuated from streets in the south Manchester neighborhood of Moss Side in what police called a precaution as one search was carried out Saturday. Photos showed an army bomb-disposal unit at the property.