‘Key players’ among 11 held in Manchester attack investigation

‘Key players’ among 11 held in Manchester attack investigation

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Police have carried out more raids and made additional arrests in connection to the Manchester bombing – with several “key players” now in custody.

Officers conducted a controlled explosion overnight at a property in the Cheetham Hill area of the city, where two men, 20 and 22, were arrested.

A bus was also stormed to detain a 44-year-old man in Rusholme.

Eleven people are now being held in connection with the Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert on Monday night.

The latest arrests came just hours after police said they had tracked down a large part of the network linked to the bomber, Salman Abedi.

:: Inside flat where Abedi spent last evening

Britain’s senior counter-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, told Sky News: “They are very significant, these arrests. We are very happy that we have got our hands around some of the key players that we are concerned about, but there is still more to do.”

In recent days, several homes and businesses have been raided by police, with items such as computers, electronic tablets, unopened post and routers being seized as evidence.

The aim is to establish Abedi’s last movements and to track down the terror cell that he was connected with.

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins said: “We have seized thousands of exhibits which are now being assessed.

“I think it is fair to say that there has been enormous progress with the investigation, but there is still an awful lot of work to do.”

The terrorism threat level remains at critical and armed officers have been seen patrolling public transport and beaches in some parts of the country.

They will also be on duty at hundreds of bank holiday events over the weekend, including the FA Cup final at Wembley and the Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham.

In and around Manchester, vigils continue to take place for those who lost their lives. The latest was in Oldham, in memory of mothers Lisa Lees and Alison Howe, who died whilst waiting for their daughters in the arena’s foyer.

Hundreds turned out to pay their respects, releasing pink balloons into the air.

:: Timeline of terror: The last days of Salman Abedi

Mick Finnity, who was close friends with the Howe family, told Sky News: “She was lovely, an absolute angel, not a bad bone in her body. I was devastated, upset for them. I’m absolutely sickened by it.”

Pop star Ariana Grande has announced that she will return to Manchester to hold a benefit concert to raise money for those affected by the attack.

In a heartfelt message on Twitter, she said she would think of the victims for the rest of her life. She praised the city of Manchester for its strength and said she wanted her gigs to be a safe place for her fans.

:: What the US leaks mean for ‘special relationship’

Since the attack, there has been a rise in hate crimes, with Greater Manchester Police saying offences have doubled since Monday night. Communities are now being urged to come together.

(c) Sky News 2017: ‘Key players’ among 11 held in Manchester attack investigation