London: British police made two more arrests on Saturday in connection with the Manchester concert bombing that killed 22 people, bringing the number of suspects in custody to 11.
Two men, aged 20 and 22, were arrested on suspicion of terror offences after officers carried out a controlled explosion to gain entry to a home in the Cheetham Hill area of the city, The Telegraph reported.
Till now 13 people have been detained in the Monday terror attack probe, two of whom were released earlier without charge, the Greater Manchester Police said.
Two cousins of the Manchester suicide bomber were being questioned in connection with the attack, as police said they were confident they had identified much of the terrorist’s network, according to the report. Abedi’s cousins — Abderahman and Abdallah Forjani — were arrested earlier this week from a home in the Fallowfield area of the city.
Armed officers raided Fade’Away barber shop, run by Abedi’s cousins, in the early hours of Friday morning and took away a number of items of interest.
According to police, one unsubstantiated theory is Abedi may have used the shop to obtain hydrogen peroxide — a chemical used in the hairdressing industry which can also be used to build bombs. Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley said that while there were still important lines of inquiry to pursue and further arrests were likely, the public should “go out as you planned and enjoy yourselves” over the bank holiday weekend.
He said detectives had made “very significant arrests and some significant finds”. The threat level is set to remain at critical throughout the weekend, meaning an attack is still considered imminent.
Extra armed police will patrol the FA Cup Final at Wembley and the Rugby Premiership final at Twickenham, while 50 per cent more armed officers have been deployed on the streets.
Prime Minister Theresa May was chairing an emergency COBRA (a crisis response committee) meeting, having left the G7 summit in Sicily early.
The investigation into whether a network supported Abedi’s suicide attack involved raids at 12 addresses in Britain, including Manchester, Wigan, Nuneaton and St. Helens.
Libyan authorities also arrested Abedi’s father, Ramadan, and younger brother Hashem, 20.