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British prime minister raises nation’s threat level, saying another attack ‘may be imminent’

MANCHESTER, England British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack may be imminent following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead.

The announcement, which takes Britain s alert level from severe to its highest rating, critical, clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites. May announced the move after chairing an emergency meeting of her security cabinet and concluding that the attacker who carried out Monday s bombing may have been part of a wider network that is poised to strike again. The decision, she said, was a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face. The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall that he transformed from a scene of youthful merriment into a tableau of horror.

But whether Salman Abedi acted alone or with accomplices remained a question that British investigators were urgently trying to answer Tuesday night as they reckoned with an attack more sophisticated and worrisome than any seen here in years. The prospect of a wider plot, May said, was a possibility we cannot ignore. The killing of 22 people many of them teens following a concert in this northern English city by American pop star Ariana Grande was claimed Tuesday by the Islamic State, which said one of its soldiers was responsible.

Even as officials and experts cast doubt on the terrorist group s assertion, however, authorities were scrambling to execute searches, arrest potential accomplices and reinforce security systems at a spectrum of public events that look newly vulnerable to attacks like Monday s. After years of successfully fending off more-sophisticated strikes even as countries across continental Europe have fallen victim to bombings, Monday night s carnage underscored that Britain is not immune amid a rising tide of extremist violence. The highest priority for police, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, was to establish whether [Abedi] was acting alone or as part of a network.

Earlier he had said that Abedi executed the bombing alone and that he was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity. But unlike in previous high-profile attacks including one in March in which an assailant driving a speeding car ran down pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed to death a British police officer experts said it was unlikely that Monday s attack had been carried out without help.

British Prime Minister Raises Nation's Threat Level, Saying Another Attack 'may Be Imminent'

[Three seconds of silence, then a scream: How the attack unfolded[1]]

Getting a car or a knife is easy, said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. Making a bomb that works and goes off when you want it to go off takes preparation and practice. And it usually involves other people. Pantucci said British authorities are going to try to figure out who [Abedi] knows, who he s linked to. Did he build the bomb itself, or did someone build it and give it to him?

Young victims

If police have an answer, they did not say so publicly Tuesday. But there was ample evidence of a widening security operation, with the arrest of a 23-year-old from south Manchester in connection with the bombing. Police also carried out searches at two homes, including the house in the leafy suburban neighborhood where Abedi was registered as having lived. A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect s brother has been taken into custody. A family friend said Abedi traveled frequently between Libya and Britain. We have an ISIS problem in Libya. We wonder whether he met people there who trained him, said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ISIS is another name for the Islamic State.

Even before May s announcement of a critical threat level for just the third time ever the first two came in 2006 and 2007 authorities from London to Scotland said that they would be reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. Even smaller gatherings that would not have been policed in the past may now get protection, they said.

[The targeting of women and girls in Manchester may have been intentional[2]]

Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers, including armed officers, said Commander Jane Connors of London s Metropolitan Police Department. May s decision to deploy the military means the public may now see soldiers rather than police. May said the military would operate under police command. The escalation came as the nation grieved for the young victims, with thousands of people converging on Manchester s graceful Albert Square for a vigil that was part solemn remembrance and part rally against extremism.

To roaring applause, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed that the city which has seen hardship, having been bombed relentlessly during World War II would not succumb to division or anger. A poet named Tony Walsh delivered an ode to the city titled This Is the Place. And in what has become a dark mainstay of life in Western Europe, passersby left candles, flowers and cards for the dead. The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16. Among the dead was Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8 years old. The first victim to be publicly identified was Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student.

[An 8-year-old was separated from her family. She never made it out.[3]]

Other names were expected to be released Wednesday, with authorities bracing the public for deaths among the teens and tweens who form the core of Grande s enthusiastic fan base. The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out, raising doubts about the truth of its claim. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites. The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous boasts have not been proved.

In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the group s statement, we have not verified yet the connection. He noted in a Senate hearing that they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.

Wave of revulsion

In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, where flags were lowered to half-staff, May called the Manchester killings a callous terrorist attack.

This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives, she said. May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims. Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, led guests of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in a moment of silence and issued a statement expressing her deepest sympathies.

The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert, she said.

Across the world, other leaders expressed revulsion and scorn toward the bomber.

[The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared[4]]

During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Trump pledged absolute solidarity with Britain and called those responsible for the attack evil losers in life. Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the bombing as an attack on culture, youth and joyfulness and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people.

[In the midst of Manchester s terror, strangers reach out through Twitter[5]]

The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people[6]. And as with that attack, Monday s bombing prompted desperate searches for missing loved ones that continued through the night and into Tuesday.

Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was phoning everybody, including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter Monday night while she was at the concert.

She d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go, Campbell said in an emotional interview. The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station. Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible.

You can t stop people from getting through the train station, Taylor said.

Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena s entrance, although bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded.

There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station, said Harrison, 44.

[Trump decries the losers who wage terrorism[7]]

In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, Prime Minister douard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of a threat which is more present than ever before. Britain s threat level had been classified as severe since the summer of 2014, meaning the chance of an attack at any given time was highly likely. Pantucci, the security expert, said that authorities had disrupted several plots in recent months but that Monday s attack somehow slipped through. Understanding why, he said, will be crucial.

They ve been dealing with a very high threat tempo, he said. But this is one they weren t able to stop.

Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker, James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester; Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethi o pia; and Devlin Barrett, Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more

Four killed, 40 injured in vehicle and knife assault near Parliament[8]

After privileged childhood, London attacker became a troubled loner[9]

What we know about the victims of the London attack[10]

Today s coverage from Post correspondents around the world[11]

Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news[12]

References

  1. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  2. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  3. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ The Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared (www.washingtonpost.com)
  5. ^ In the midst of Manchester s terror, strangers reach out through Twitter (www.washingtonpost.com)
  6. ^ killing 54 people (en.wikipedia.org)
  7. ^ Trump decries the losers who wage terrorism (www.washingtonpost.com)
  8. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  9. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  10. ^ www.washingtonpost.com (www.washingtonpost.com)
  11. ^ Today s coverage from Post correspondents around the world (www.washingtonpost.com)
  12. ^ Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news (www.facebook.com)

Prince Harry ‘drove 100 miles’ to get Meghan Markle for Pippa’s evening reception

Prince Harry drove 100 miles to bring girlfriend Meghan Markle to Pippa Middleton’s evening wedding reception, according to reports.

The Prince left the afternoon celebration early to drive to London and back to collect Miss Markle from Kensington Palace, according to the Sun on Sunday.

There had been speculation the American actress would be at the wedding itself, but she is said to have stayed away so as not to take attention away from the bride and her husband.

It would have been Miss Markle’s first big public engagement with Prince Harry since they started dating last year.

:: Young Royals attend Pippa Middleton’s wedding[1]

Prince Harry arrived at the wedding, which took place at St Mark’s Church on the private Englefield estate in Berkshire, with his brother Prince William.

He reportedly stayed briefly at the afternoon reception before driving with a security guard to collect Miss Markle from London.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte acted as page boy and bridesmaid at the wedding in the village of Bucklebury.

The bride wore a high-necked, cap-sleeve Edwardian-style lace wedding dress for her wedding to hedge fund manager James Matthews.

Tennis star Roger Federer and his wife were among the guests at the service.

Others included the groom’s brother Made In Chelsea star Spencer Matthews, Princess Eugenie and James Middleton’s girlfriend Donna Air.

The cost of the wedding is rumoured to have been about 300,000.

Prince Harry 'drove 100 Miles' To Get Meghan Markle For Pippa's Evening Reception

References

  1. ^ :: Young Royals attend Pippa Middleton’s wedding (news.sky.com)

Trump to graduates: ‘No politician in history… has been treated worse’

Trump To Graduates: 'No Politician In History... Has Been Treated Worse' Trump: No politician treated worse

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NEW LONDON, Connecticut (CNN) – President Donald Trump, amid his own swirling controversies, advised United States Coast Guard Academy graduates that while things aren’t always fair, “you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight.”

The comment was a clear reference to the fact that Trump’s White House is now besieged by bipartisan questions about his alleged request that former FBI Director James Comey to halt an investigation into his former top national security aide.

“Never, never, never give up. Things will work out just fine,” he said in New London, Connecticut, Wednesday. Then, dropping the pretext even more, he bemoaned the media coverage of his presidency.

“Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media,” he said. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down, you can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.”

The comment was well received by the pro-Trump crowd. People in “Make America Great Again” hats and Trump shirt applauded as the President slammed succumbing adversity.

“I guess that is why we won,” Trump said, a reference to his 2016 election win, something the President often does.

“Adversity makes your stronger,” he added. “Don’t give in. Don’t back down and never stop doing what you know is right. Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy. And the more righteous your fight, the most opposition you will face.”

Trump argued that the controversy was something only the media cared about.

“The people understand what I am doing and that is the most important thing,” Trump said. “I didn’t get elected to serve the Washington media or special interest.”

Trump also lauded himself during the nearly 30-minute long speech.

“We’ve saved the second amendment,” he said, after touting his work on immigration, job creation and tax reform. Nearly everything Trump has done, though, has been overshadowed by Trump’s continued controversies, the latest being the fact he allegedly asked FBI director during a February meeting to end the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser whose ties to Russia are currently being scrutinized by the bureau.

“I hope you can let this go,” Comey wrote in a memo, quoting Trump. CNN has not viewed the document, but the reported memo has caused shockwaves to ripple across Washington, raising the question of impeachment with Democrats and leading some Republicans to consider a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia’s 2016 hacking.

The President ignored shouted questions about the Comey memo as he left the White House to head to Connecticut. Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the academy to welcome Trump to the seaside town. Sporting signs, including “Hillary for Prison,” a reference to Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, the Trump supporters were joined outside the academy by dozens of protesters who sported signs urging Trump to step down. Joined by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and the commandant of the Coast Guard, Trump also lauded the nearly 200 cadets-turned-ensigns for their service.

“You have done amazing work and in the true Coast Guard fashion, you had fewer people and fewer resources, but you accomplished the objective and you did it with skill and with pride,” Trump said. “And I would like to say, under budget and ahead of schedule. … We are doing a lot of that.”

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