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Ninth man in custody in Manchester terror probe

Armed police officers near Manchester Arena (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA)
Armed police officers near Manchester Arena (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA)

A ninth man is being questioned by police after being arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences in connection with the Manchester bombing.

The 44-year-old was detained in the Rusholme area on Friday evening, bringing the total number arrested to 11, Greater Manchester Police said.

Of those, two people have since been released without charge.

Twenty-two victims including children were killed when Salman Abedi, 22, launched a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Read more: All 22 Manchester Arena suicide bomb victims have now been named 

On Friday evening officers were still carrying out searches at 12 locations, with activity expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Since Tuesday, a total of 11 people have been arrested, with nine men aged between 18 and 44 remaining in custody. Two of those held, a 16-year-old boy and a woman aged 34, have been released without charge.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain's top counter-terror officer, said detectives have made "immense" progress in the investigation and are confident they have arrested some "key players".

He said police have made "significant" arrests and "finds" and have got hold of a "large part" of the suspected network being sought over the atrocity.

We are very happy we've got our hands around some of the key players that we are concerned about but there's still a little bit more to do. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley

The senior officer also issued a defiant message as he urged people to go about their business as normal over the bank holiday weekend.

"Enjoy yourselves and be reassured by the greater policing presence you will see," he said. "We can't let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business."

A huge security operation is planned with 1,100 armed officers on hand to protect major spectacles around the country, including the FA Cup Final at Wembley and the Great Manchester Run.

It was revealed that specialist teams have carried out a review of security for more than 1,300 events with Britain remaining at the highest threat level of critical while the investigation into the bombing continues.

Providing an update on the probe earlier on Friday, Mr Rowley said it was likely further arrests would follow.

Having made enormous progress and made some significant arrests and had some significant finds, there still remain important lines of inquiry for us to pursue. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley

"We've got to try to understand everything we can about the dead terrorist, his associates. We need to understand the whole network and how they acquired and built the bomb that exploded on Monday night.

"It's going to take a little more time to close down those gaps in our understanding. We are working as fast as we can do because everyone wants answers to this."

He said police now have a "much better understanding" with a "lot of the risk contained". However, some uncertainty remains.

Read more: Ariana Grande to hold benefit concert for Manchester bomb victims

Mr Rowley said: "We need to grow our confidence that we have got every component of the network and we have got as full an understanding as possible about how the device was constructed and whether there's any remaining risk.

"Clearly we haven't covered all the territory we want to but we have covered a large part of it.

"Our confidence has been increasing over recent days but there's still more to do to get to the degree of confidence we want."

Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee in Whitehall on Saturday morning to discuss the latest developments in the Manchester investigation with senior ministers, officials and security officers, Downing Street said.

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