With heightened security, troops on our streets along with armed police, people are understandably edgy in the wake of the Manchester bomb massacre.
But Met Police chief Mark Rowley insisted the terror cell behind murderous Salman Abedi ’s attack has been smashed.
And he urged Brits to enjoy the bank holiday weekend, as officers continue to look into how the warped maniac ended up killing 22 people, including seven children at a gig on Monday.
Islamic State last night called for an “all-out war on the West”, sparking fears of further bloodshed.
Hospitals were still on high alert after the threat level was raised to critical, armed police are also patrolling trains and even beaches.
Officers reviewed security at more than 1,300 events this weekend. But Assistant Commissioner Mr Rowley said police had snared a “large part of the network” that supported Abedi, 22.
He added: “Enjoy yourselves. We can’t let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business.
“There will be extra officers on duty, and that will include hundreds of armed officers. Extra firearms officers have been out on streets because we have backfilled guarding posts at key places with military personnel. Their presence at these sites will continue throughout the weekend.”
On smashing the terror cell, he added: “We are very happy we’ve got our hands around some of the key players that we are concerned about.
“There still remain important lines of inquiry for us to pursue. We’ve got to understand everything about the terrorist, his associates, the whole network and how they acquired and built the bomb.
“We have made enormous progress but there are still some really important lines of inquiry to follow through.” Security minister Ben Wallace said there is no specific threat against an individual event at the moment. But additional armed officers will be at events such as this evening’s FA Cup Final at Wembley between Chelsea and Arsenal.
A 44-year-old man was tonight arrested in Rusholme over the bombing. The arrest takes the number of suspects in custody to nine. They include Abedi’s brother Ismail, 24, who was arrested in the street by armed police on Tuesday. Three of the his cousins – brothers aged 18, 21, and 24 – were held in the Fallowfield area on Wednesday. A barber shop in Moss Side run by two other cousins, Abderahman Forjani and Abdallah Forjani, was raided today.
Police were also searching a nearby terraced house. Abedi’s father Ramadan and brother Hashem, 19, are being held by authorities in Libya where they live.
A 16-year-old boy arrested at his home in Withington, Manchester, on Thursday morning was released without charge. Mr Rowley called the nine arrests
IS called for all-out war with a sick offer of “rewards” for “soldiers and supporters in Europe and America” who target civilians in cowardly attacks.
Spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir told them: “Prepare yourselves and be ready.”
There are 500 terror probes in Britain relating to 3,000 jihadists.
Detectives are looking at financial records to find who bought key parts for the Monday’s bomb.
A former teacher of Abedi’s at Burnage Academy for Boys yesterday described the killer as an “averagely lazy, dislikeable boy”. But Mark Roberts insisted the pupil did not show any radical tendencies.
And he believes he was incapable of plotting the attack alone as he was “slow, uneducated and passive”.
Police said there has been a spike in hate crime in Manchester since the bomb.
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Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “I completely understand the desire for information and answers but it is essential to protect the investigation, so at this stage I will not go into detail. Our aim must be to identify, arrest and put before a court of law those who are responsible – I am confident we will do that. I do not want to provide those people with any advantage allowing them to destroy evidence or any opportunity to counter what we have gathered.
“Broadly speaking, as with any investigation of this nature, we are focusing on understanding Abedi’s life; forensically examining a number of scenes, reviewing hours of CCTV from the night itself and the hours and before, financial work, communication, digital exhibits, the accounts from hundreds of witnesses and of course enquiries internationally.
“Eight men remain in police custody and we continue to make significant progress.”
On Tuesday, 23 May, the threat level to the UK was raised to critical based on an assessment by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. Police across the country are planning to deliver an enhanced level of policing throughout the bank holiday weekend.
AC Rowley, added: “Even with all the progress made so far, there still remain important lines of enquiry that will further build our confidence and understanding of the events that led to this ghastly attack. That will enable those who set the threat level to revise their judgment.
“Whilst we remain at critical our aim is simple – we are working with event organisers to advise and support them so everyone in this country can go to the hundreds of events that are on and simply relax and enjoy their bank holiday.
“A complete review of the plans for over 1,300 events across the country has been carried out by specialist security officers and policing has been stepped up.
“There will be extra officers on duty, and that will include hundreds of armed officers. Extra firearms officers have been out on streets because we have backfilled some static guarding posts at key places with military personnel. Their presence at these sites will continue throughout the weekend.
“I would like to thank those military colleagues, who are working hard as part of the UK’s policing operation, but also a huge thanks to all those who are working round the clock – those detectives, officers on patrol, support staff, our partners in the security services – to protect our country.
“My request to the public is simple – if this weekend you see something out of place, that causes you concern or raises your suspicions, tell us. If you have those suspicions now about someone – tell us – we will act on all information we are given and together we can defeat terrorism.”