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Anger as New York Times prints leaked photos of Manchester bomb attack

PM to raise compromised intelligence with Trump over fears it may hurt investigation

by staff reporter

Theresa May is expected to raise UK concerns over the leaking of intelligence about the Manchester Arena bomb attack to the US Press when she meets President Donald Trump today.

British ministers have voiced their anger to American counterparts after photographs apparently showing bloodstained fragments from the concert bomb were published in the New York Times.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi (22) detonated an improvised explosive device killing 22 people, including himself, and injuring up to 64. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

The pictures appeared a day after the bomber's name was briefed to the US media against the wishes of Greater Manchester Police, and just hours after Home Secretary Amber Rudd issued a plea to US authorities not to leak material about the atrocity.

The disclosure is regarded as "completely unacceptable" by Britain, both because of the distress it may cause families of those killed or injured and because of the risk it could complicate ongoing investigations.

A Whitehall source said: "We are furious. This is completely unacceptable."

The new pictures show torn scraps from a blue Karrimor rucksack as well as screws and nuts used as shrapnel and a metal item which the newspaper suggests could have been part of the bomb's detonator.

The paper described them as "law enforcement images" but did not make clear how they had been obtained.

The Home Secretary said she did not believe that the Americans had compromised the investigation. But she described the leaks as "irritating".

It also emerged yesterday that troops will not be back on the streets of Northern Ireland - despite the Prime Minister's announcement that the military will be deployed in the wake of the attack.

Almost 1,000 military personnel were being deployed around the country yesterday, including to key sites such as Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, after the official terror threat level was raised to critical, indicating that a further attack may be imminent.

But PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has insisted there is no need for him to deploy the Army in Ulster to deal with the increased terrorist threat in the wake of the atrocity.

He insisted there was "absolutely no requirement" for a similar response here.

"It would be disproportionate. It would be unnecessary," he said. "I'm not going to make a bid for military resources on to the streets of our post-conflict society just because everyone else has the need to do that."

In a day of dramatic developments, a man was arrested at an address in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, following searches linked to the Manchester Arena suicide bombing.

It brings the total arrests to six men and one woman, all of whom are in custody and being questioned by police.

Abedi's father, Ramadan Abedi, was arrested in the Libyan capital Tripoli along with his brother Hashim, who Libyan security forces said was "aware of all the details" of the attack.

Ramadan Abedi had earlier claimed his son was innocent, saying: "We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us."

A spokesman for the Libyan authorities told BBC2's Newsnight that one of the killer's final acts before the murders was to ring his mother.

The spokesman said: "His brother felt there was something going on there in Manchester and he thought his brother would do something like bombing or attack. So after that, he told us: 'Having internet, I see the attack in Manchester and I knew that's my brother'."

The spokesman added that Libyan authorities were aware of Abedi going to the capital of Tripoli on April 18 and it is believed he stayed for two or three weeks.

He revealed that Abedi's younger brother Hashim had been investigated for about a month and a half over suspicions that he was linked to Isis.

"We were not quite sure about this, but when we arrested and we asked him, he told us: 'I have ideology with my brother'. Hashim told us: 'I know everything about my brother, what he was doing there in Manchester'."

On the Belfast Islamic Centre Facebook page, a spokesman said they were "shocked and horrified" at the attack. They said such groups "work in cult-like secrecy, often via the internet; few of us will ever meet anyone with these sort of sympathies".

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