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Theresa May raises terror threat level to critical - attack believed imminent [full statement]

Theresa May made a statement in Downing Street after a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee in the wake of the Manchester attack. Here it is in full:

"We again discussed the callous and cowardly terrorist attack in Manchester last night and the operational response from the security service, the police and other emergency services.

"It remains the case that other than the terrorist himself, 22 people were killed in the attack, 59 people remain injured and many of them have life-threatening conditions.

"As Greater Manchester Police confirmed earlier today, the perpetrator was Salman Ramadan Abedi, who was born and brought up in Britain and as the emergency services confirmed throughout the day, his victims were innocent children, young people and their families - our thoughts and prayers are with them all.

"I want to re-iterate what I said this morning about the professionalism of the emergency services and the bravery of the people in Manchester.

"Through their actions, they proved that cowardice will always be defeated by bravery, that evil can be overcome by good and that our values, the liberal, pluralistic values of Britain, will always prevail over the hateful ideology of the terrorists."

The terror threat level was increased after investigations revealed Abedi may not have acted alone.

Mrs May said: "The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.

"This morning I said that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, the independent organisation responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available, was keeping the threat level under constant review.

"It has now concluded, on the basis of today's investigations, that the threat level should be increased for the time being from severe to critical.

"This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent."

The Prime Minister said Operation Temperer - allowing military personnel to take to the streets - was now in force.

"This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

"You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe.

"Precisely how the military and armed police officers will be deployed is an operational decision for police commanders, and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police will be making a statement giving further details from Scotland Yard later this evening.

"In the coming days and weeks there will of course be many events being hosted up and down the country.

"The police will work with the organisers and hosts of these events to come to a judgment about how they can go ahead while making sure the people who attend them are safe and secure."

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