UK raises threat level to 'critical' - HTML TITLE TAG

UK raises threat level to 'critical'

Posted: May 23, 2017 6:23 PM Updated:

The UK raised its terrorism threat level to "critical" -- the highest level -- for the first time in a decade Tuesday. Prime Minister Theresa May warned that intelligence services believe an attack may be "imminent."

Hours earlier, police identified 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide attacker who detonated a bomb as throngs of teenagers poured out of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people. Abedi is of Libyan descent, sources in Manchester's Libyan community told CNN. May said he was born and raised in the UK.
 
The suspect apparently acted as a lone attacker and died in the blast Monday night, police said, which left the wounded and the dead scattered across the arena's bloodied entrance and sent screaming girls running for cover.
But May warned that investigators could not discount the possible involvement of a "wider group" of terrorists.
 
The raising of the terror threat level means "not only that another attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent," she said. It will enable the government to deploy armed military personnel of support of police and other security forces, particularly in the guarding of key sites, concerts and sporting events, May said.
 
"I do not want the public to feel unduly alarmed," she said, calling the response "proportionate and sensible" to the threat level.
 
The blast marked the deadliest terror attack on British soil since the 2005 London bombings. Hundreds of residents remembered the newest victims during a Tuesday evening vigil.
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