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Britain Enlisting Tech Companies in Fight Against Terrorism

  • VOA News

Amber Rudd, Britain's Home Secretary, arrives for a cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street, London, March 29, 2017.

Internet companies are beginning to be more helpful in the fight against terrorism, in the wake of the recent attack in Manchester, Britain’s home secretary said.

Amber Rudd said in a British television interview Sunday Britain is making “good progress” in working with technology companies to attain access to the encrypted messages of terror suspects.

She added, however, “The area that I am most concerned about is the internet companies who are continuing to publish the hate publications, the hate material that is contributing to radicalizing people in this country.”

Fans are searched as they arrive for a concert at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, England, May 27 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening.
Fans are searched as they arrive for a concert at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, England, May 27 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening.

Concert in Manchester

Saturday in Manchester, a group of local bands drew 50,000 fans to the city’s first big music event since Monday’s suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

Earlier Saturday, Britain reduced its terrorism threat level from “critical” to “severe.”

Extra security, however, was in place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, on the outskirts of Manchester, for a concert by Manchester bands the Courteneers, the Charlatans, Blossoms and Cabbage.

Fans attending the show were asked to arrive early and not to bring bags. Security officers in ball caps and high-visibility jackets were stationed at 50-meter intervals on roads approaching the venue.

In comments ahead of their set, Courteneers front-man Liam Fray said of Manchester: “If you can think you can beat us, you don’t know who we are.”

Wedding vows

One couple even went ahead with their wedding celebration at the concert. The groom, Pete Richards, told the Manchester Evening News: ”It has been crazy today. We have had complete strangers coming and congratulating us and having pictures with us.”

The bride, Abby Turner, said the couple had had doubts about whether to continue with their wedding plans, but decided: “You’ve just got to crack on, really.”

Salman Abedi, the bomber behind the Manchester suicide bombing, is seen in this image taken from CCTV on the night he committed the attack in this handout photo released, May 27, 2017, from the Greater Manchester Police.
Salman Abedi, the bomber behind the Manchester suicide bombing, is seen in this image taken from CCTV on the night he committed the attack in this handout photo released, May 27, 2017, from the Greater Manchester Police.

Police also released more details about the bomber’s actions just before he detonated his device.

Officials say they are trying to learn whether more people were involved in the planning of the attack.

An apartment building in Manchester’s city center is cordoned off after police found the flat where they believe the bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, may have assembled his explosive device. Police are guarding the building, known as Granby House.

The Greater Manchester Police said on Twitter they arrested two men — ages 22 and 20 — in raids Saturday. The statement said a “controlled explosion” was used to gain entry to the men’s address in the Cheetham Hill neighborhood.

A police tweet said, “A total of 11 men remain in custody for questioning.”

Armed police guard the area during the Great Manchester Run in Manchester, England, May 28, 2017.
Armed police guard the area during the Great Manchester Run in Manchester, England, May 28, 2017.

Troop presence

Soldiers, who have been helping police, are expected to be withdrawn from Britain’s streets in the next few days.

Abedi, a Manchester native, blew himself up in the lobby of Manchester Arena Monday just after U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande finished her concert. The explosion killed 22 people and wounded at least 116 children and adults.

A militia in Libya has detained Abedi’s father and brother. Details on how they may be tied to the bombing have not been released.

Many of the victims were young girls, a large part of Grande’s fan base. Others were parents who had gone to meet their children after the concert. The youngest victim was 8 years old.

Grande said she would return to Manchester to do a benefit show to raise money for the victims and their families. No date has yet been set for the concert.

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