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British police 'working closely' with US again after 'fresh assurances' over leaked evidence

 

By PA Reporters

British police have reopened information-sharing ties with the US following a spat over leaked evidence from the Manchester bombing, police chiefs have said.

Mark Rowley, the country's most senior counter-terrorism officer, confirmed they had "received fresh assurances" from their foreign counterparts and were now "working closely" with them.

An extraordinary row erupted between the US and British authorities after a host of sensitive information was leaked to American news outlets in the wake of Monday's attack.

Mr Rowley said: "We greatly value the crucial relationship with our trusted partners around the world so we can collaborate and share sensitive information to defeat terrorism and protect the public at home and abroad.

"While we do not usually comment on information-sharing arrangements with international law enforcement organisations, we want to emphasise that, having received fresh assurances, we are now working closely with our key partners around the world including all those in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance."

Apparent leaks from the investigation, including evidence photographs from the scene of the attack, were said to have caused "distress and upset" to victims' families.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd publicly rebuked the US authorities for passing on the information unauthorised, only for more material to surface in the New York Times hours later.

The Prime Minister said she would raise the leaks with President Donald Trump in the margins of a Nato summit in Brussels, stressing that the "special relationship" was based on trust.

President Trump vowed to investigate, calling the leaks "deeply troubling" and warning the sources of the security lapse could be prosecuted.

On Thursday, a sombre silence in memory of the bomb victims came to a rousing end with a spontaneous rendition of Don't Look Back In Anger.

The Oasis hit rang out across Manchester's St Ann's Square after hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects.

The tribute was one of many nationwide events taking place at 11am to mark Monday night's tragedy, including one at Belfast City Hall.

With the country remaining braced for another terror attack:

  • Eight people remained in custody in connection with the investigation.
  • Officers carried out searches at properties in Manchester, Wigan and Nuneaton. A bomb disposal unit returned to the Wigan address last night.
  • NHS England said 23 people remained in critical care across eight hospitals. They include five children at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

As detectives continued a huge inquiry into the outrage, it emerged attacker Salman Abedi was known to security services and his risk to the public remained "subject to review".

Abedi, whose sister said he "wanted revenge" for Western military strikes in the Middle East, was a "former subject of interest" to MI5, a Whitehall source confirmed.

Hours before his deadly assault, he had phoned his mother and said "forgive me", according to a Libyan anti-terror official.

Libyan investigators believe Abedi acted alone when perpetrating the atrocity, Special Deterrent Force spokesman Ahmed bin Salem added.

Relatives of the British-born bomber are being interrogated by authorities in Tripoli, where his father Ramadan and teenage brother Hashim were arrested on Wednesday.

Abedi's mother, Samia Tabbal, was said to have told them her son left the North African country bound for the UK four days before detonating his device at Manchester Arena.

Hashim (18) allegedly claimed his older brother learnt to build bombs from the internet, hoping to "seek victory for the Islamic State", Mr Bin Salem added.

Despite the belief of the Libyan authorities that Abedi acted alone, British investigative efforts remained focused on smashing the potential terror ring which may have assisted him.

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