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Trainee pilot arrested in connection with Manchester attack

The fresh arrest took up the total number of people in custody in relation to the May 22 attack to 14. Meanwhile, UK’s MI5 intelligence agency launched urgent inquiries into how it missed the danger posed by the Manchester bomber.

world Updated: May 29, 2017 22:33 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Agencies, London
Manchester attack,Manchester terror attack,MI5 internal probe
People look at flowers and balloons in St Ann's Square in Manchester on May 29, placed in tribute to the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena.(AFP Photo)

A Libya-born ‘trainee pilot’ was on Monday arrestedin the UK, bringing the total number of people in custody in relation to the Manchesterterror attack to 14.

According to the police, the 23-year-old was arrested at a property in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, more than 400-km from the Manchester Arena, where Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb a week ago killing 22 people.

The National Health Service said 54 people injured in the attack were still being treated in 8 hospitals with 19 receiving critical care.

A total of 116 people had required hospital care in the wake of the massacre.

MI5 launches internal probe

Meanwhile, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, launched an internal probe into whether vital clues were missed ahead of the Manchester attack.

MI5 are also looking at decisions taken in the case of Abedi, who used to be on a terror watchlist but was no longer on it at the time of the attack, and whether warnings about his behaviour were ignored amid mounting criticism of the security services.

“There is a lot of information coming out at the moment about what happened, how this occurred, what people might or might not have known,” interior minister Amber Rudd told Sky News.

“It is right that MI5 take a look to find out what the facts are,” she said, adding: “We shouldn’t rush to make any conclusions at this stage”.

Two people who knew Abedi made separate calls to an anti-terrorism hotline to warn the police about his extremist views, British media have reported.

The Mail on Sunday also cited a source saying US federal agents had been investigating Abedi since the middle of 2016 and had flagged up concerns to MI5.

The BBC reported that Abedi had taken part in the armed uprising against Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s regime as a teenager during school holidays.

British investigators have released pictures of Abedi taken from CCTV shortly on the night of the massacre, appealing to the public for help in tracing his movements in the days before.

Abedi could be seen wearing jeans and trainers, a black bodywarmer and a baseball cap, with the straps of the backpack believed to contain the bomb visible on his shoulders.

The police statement said one of the last places he went to before the attack at the Manchester Arena venue was a city centre flat, where they believe he may have finished assembling the device.

None of the men arrested have been charged with a crime yet and police have up to 14 days in which to do so under special anti-terrorism laws.

First Published: May 29, 2017 22:23 IST