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Britain Lowers Threat Level to 'Severe' as Bombing Probe Progresses

  • VOA News

A woman passes a street-art graffiti mural, created following the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena, featuring bees, which are synonymous with Manchester as a symbol of the city's industrial heritage, in Stevenson Square, Manchester.

Britain lowered its security threat level Saturday to "severe," Prime Minister Theresa May said, as police continue to make progress investigating the suicide bomb attack in Manchester.

British police say they have arrested two more people in connection with the suicide bombing earlier in the week after an Ariana Grande concert.

The Greater Manchester Police said on Twitter they arrested two men — ages 22 and 20 — in raids on 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."

The level had been raised to "critical" — meaning another attack was thought to be imminent — after Monday's bombing at the pop concert in Manchester. The downgrade to "severe" means an attack still is considered highly likely.

Soldiers, who have been helping police, will be withdrawn from Britain's streets.

Mark Rowley, head of Britain's counter-terrorism police, said Saturday at a news conference, “We’re getting a greater understanding of the preparation of the bomb. There is still much more to do, there will be more arrests, there will be more searches, but this greater clarity and this progress has led J-TAC, the independent body that assess threat, to come to the judgement that an attack is no longer imminent. And you’d have heard consequently the prime minister’s announcement therefore the threat level has moved down from critical to severe – which of course still means that an attack is highly likely.”

A group of police officers stand outside flats in Hulme, Manchester, May 25, 2017.
A group of police officers stand outside flats in Hulme, Manchester, May 25, 2017.

Manchester native Salman Abedi, 22, blew himself up in the lobby of Manchester Arena Monday just after pop singer 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 says she will 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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