The government terror threat level of ‘critical’, which was set after the Manchester terror attack on Monday was reduced to severe Saturday lunchtime, as British police announced another series of terror arrests.
‘Critical’, which means the government and security services believes an attack is imminent, was put in place this week and saw the deployment of 1,000 troops of the British army to assist police in their duties, with an option to expand the deployment to 5,000. After a number of arrests across the country including locations in Manchester and Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the terror threat has fallen to the second highest level, where it was before the Manchester attack.
Returned to critical, the government now assess the likelihood of a terror attack to be “highly likely”, as opposed to imminent.
The reduction is likely to have stemmed from the flurry of arrests in recent days, with 11 individuals now in police custody. British counter-terror boss Mark Rowley said a “large part” of the terror network that had been connected to bomber Salman Abedi had been dismantled by the arrests, But he said there were still “gaps in our understanding” of the plot, as investigators probed Abedi’s potential links to jihadis in Britain, Europe, Libya and the Middle East.
Despite that there were still “gaps in our understanding” of the conspiracy to kill, he said.
The Prime Minister said “a significant amount of police activity” and the fresh arrests had contributed to an improved overall security picture, meaning the terror threat level could be knocked down a notch. Despite the slight relaxation she urged the public to remain vigilant.
While the presence of 1,000 armed soldiers would continue over the bank holiday weekend to assist police and provide re-assurance from the public, Operation Temperer is to be wound down at the start of next week.
Despite the change in security level, the situation remains tense in Manchester — the announcement came as evacuations took place in the Moss Side area, with bomb disposal troops deployed.
Latest update pic.twitter.com/3QXPonaGqM
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 27, 2017
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