The suicide bomber who killed 22 people including children in Manchester likely did not act alone, Britain’s interior minister said on Wednesday as soldiers were being deployed to key sites to help prevent further attacks.
The official threat level was raised late on Tuesday to its highest level, “critical”, meaning an attack is expected imminently.
Police have named British-born Salman Abedi, 22, as the perpetrator of the bombing at theManchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande on Monday, attended by thousands of children and teenagers.
“It seems likely, possible, that he wasn’t doing this on his own,” interior minister Amber Rudd told BBC radio.
Rudd also said Abedi had been known to security services before the bombing.
She said up to 3,800 soldiers would be deployed on Britain’s streets, freeing up police officers to carry out patrols and investigatory work.
The identities of the victims were becoming known little by little. They included an eight-year-old girl, two teenage girls and a 28-year-old man. A Polish couple who had come to collect their daughters after the concert also died, Poland’s foreign minister said. The daughters were safe.
The bombing also left more than 60 people wounded, some with life-threatening injuries.
“We are now treating 64 individuals … of those approximately 20 are receiving critical care, that means very urgent care,” Jon Rouse, chief officer for health and social care services in the Greater Manchester area, told Sky News.
“There is damage to major organs, major injuries in terms of limbs and some of these individuals are going to need very long term care and support. These are highly traumatic injuries.”
The Manchester attack was the deadliest in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London’s transport network.
U.S. security sources, citing British intelligence officials, said Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 to parents of Libyan origin.
Rudd told the BBC she believed Abedi had recently returned from Libya, and French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said British investigators had told French authorities Abedi had probably travelled to Syria as well.