UNDERCOVER cops hunting a network of terrorists swooped on a suspect with a “suspicious package” in Wigan today as the number of arrests made over the Manchester bombing reached seven.
The arrest came just hours after officers armed with machine guns and wearing gas masks raided a flat in Manchester city centre – amid claims the bombmaker could still be at large.
SWNSThe suspect who police said was carrying a suspicious package is led away
SWNSPlain clothed Cops swarm on the man in Wigan today
Press AssociationPolice have raided a block of flats close to Manchester Piccadilly Station following Monday’s attack in the city
PA:Press AssociationArmed police outside Granby House in Granby Row, Manchester
This is the first picture of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi
HandoutSalman Abedi, pictured at Didsbury mosque, was known ‘up to a point’ to the intelligence services, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said
This evening armed cops raided a block of flats in Blackley, Greater Manchester, and arrested a woman in connection with the bombing. Later they made their seventh arrest, a man in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.
The swoops came after three men were arrested just streets away from where Manchester nail bomb terrorist Salman Abedi lived as Theresa May raised the UK threat level to “critical” for the first time in 10 years.
Police are now assessing the package being carried by the suspect arrested in Wigan with bomb squads reportedly called in.
Abedi, who US officials said was identified by a bank card found among his remains, detonated a nail bomb on Monday night killing 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert, with many of his victims being youngsters.
He is thought to have been a “mule” using a device built by someone else, the BBC reports, amid fears the bomb maker could still be at large.
A police source told the Manchester Evening News: “They don’t waste bomb makers. The reason we have gone to critical is because he is still out there and the fear is that he will strike again before they get caught.”
Police chiefs have said they are investigating the possibility of “a network” linked to the bomber, admitting there are gaps in their knowledge.Greater Manchester Police make arrest in Nuneaton in connection with Salman Abedi
PA:Press AssociationA woman was arrested tonight in connection with a raid in Blackley
PA:Press AssociationArmed police were pictured at the address in Blackley, Manchester, in a raid connected to Monday's attack
Dramatic moment cops raided the suicide bomber's home in the Fallowfield area of Manchester
Helpers attend to people inside the Manchester Arena after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device
The Sun's front page todayFootage from scene of new armed police raid in central Manchester
Today the dad of Abedi, who claims his son is innocent, was arrested in Libya.
The younger brother of the bomber, Hashem Abedi, has also been arrested in Tripoli along with his older brother in the UK yesterday.
The father told the Associated Press from Tripoli: "We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us."CC Ian Hopkins on Manchester attack: 'This is a network that we are investigating'
Armed police and men clad in balaclavas also stormed the Granby House building on Granby Row, in central Manchester today.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins confirmed a controlled explosion had taken place at the address and that a nearby railway was briefly closed during the raid.
A Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said: "Officers have this afternoon carried out a search at an address in Manchester City Centre as part of the investigation into the horrific incident at Manchester Arena.
"That search is ongoing.
"In order to do this safely we briefly closed a railway line, but it has now been reopened."
It has been suggested that the property is an Airbnb rental.Three men arrested in connection with Salman Abedi suicide bombing at Manchester Arena
The Home Secretary Amber Rudd this morning said it's "likely" Abedi "was not doing this on his own" as police arrested three more men in South Manchester in connection with the incident.
A Libyan family, a father, his wife and their two sons, aged in their late teens or early 20s, were taken away by armed police who raided a property on Aston Avenue, Fallowfield, at around 2.30am on Wednesday, neighbours said.
The house is less than a mile from the former home of Abedi.
The BBC has since revealed that two people who knew Salman Abedi had made separate calls to authorities with concerns about the man’s views, including that being a suicide bomber was “OK”.
The Sun revealed the killer is suspected of receiving terror training in Syria, where he may have visited secretly while seeing family in Libya.
Ray Collins-The SunSoldiers were pictured arriving at The Houses of Parliament this morning to help support police
Ray Collins-The SunThe Government has activated Operation Temperer, providing up to 3,800 troops to support the police
Getty ImagesSoldiers arrive by bus and head toward a building near New Scotland Yard police headquarters
Today French interior minister Gerard Collomb has said the Manchester bomber is believed to have travelled to Syria and had "proven" links with the Islamic State terror group.
Mr Collomb said: "He was a British national of Libyan origin, he grew up in Great Britain.
"All of a sudden he travelled to Libya and then most likely to Syria, became radicalised and decided to commit this attack."
The monster – who was killed when he detonated a bomb at Ariana Grande’s gig on Monday night that killed concert-goers as young as eight – was born and grew up in Britain.
Abedi’s family originally hail from Libya and he is thought to have visited the North African country - also a haven for ISIS fighters - regularly in recent years.
Sources said there were fears Abedi may have taken advantage of the conflict to make the simple journey across the Med to Syria without alerting the British authorities.
One revealed: “His potential ties to Syria now very much forms one line of inquiry.”PM Theresa May increases UK threat level to critical following Manchester terror attack by Salman Abedi
SWNS:South West News ServicePolice outside Didsbury Mosque this morning where it is reported bomber Salman Abedi prayed
SWNS:South West News ServiceArmed police outside Manchester Piccadilly train station during rush hour this morning
London News PicturesArmed police officers patrol at King's Cross station in London this morning as the terrorism threat level has been raised to critical
ReutersForensics investigators work outside the Manchester Arena two days after the attackThousands run screaming after 'explosion' at Ariana Grande gig in Manchester Arena
PA:Press AssociationForensic officer was seen holding a 'know your chemicals' booklet during a raid of the nail bomber's home
The book the forensic officer was clutching outside the address
Eight-year-old schoolgirl Saffie Roussos was named as one of the victims along with student Georgina Callander, 26-year-old John Atkinson and brave aunt Kelly Brewster, 32, who shielded her niece from the deadly blast.
Mums Alison Howe, 44, and Lisa Lees, 43, were also killed while waiting for their kids to leave the show and teenager Olivia Campbell who sparked an emotional TV appeal have also been listed among the dead.
Also confirmed dead are Angelika and Marcin Klis, a Polish couple whose daughter launched a desperate appeal to find them yesterday.
Friends of “iconic” Martyn Hett, 29, and young farmer Nell Jones, who is believed to have been on crutches at the time, confirmed both were killed.
Police today said they were "confident" they know the identity of all the people who died. They also confirmed an off-duty police officer died in the attack.
Jane Tweddle-Taylor, from Blackpool, was also killed at the Manchester Arena after going to pick a friend's daughter up.
Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, and Michelle Kiss are the latest victims confirmed dead after warped killer Salman Abedi detonated his bomb as fans left the gig.
The horrific attack came as:
Business management student Abedi’s identity emerged soon after armed cops dramatically stormed his home in Manchester, at around noon yesterday.
The uni dropout's older brother, computer expert Ismail, 23, was arrested in a separate raid and was being quizzed by anti-terror cops last night.
It came hours after Abedi had blown himself up in the foyer of a packed Manchester Arena, as 21,000 fans left a concert.
Abedi's device - thought to have been wrapped with nuts and bolts to send out a cloud of deadly shrapnel - detonated at 10.33pm.
The death toll currently stands at 22 - with the youngest victim aged just eight.
Of the grim casualty total, 12 children under 16 were injured and it is understood 20 people are still "critical" out of a total of 64 injured.
They are said to be suffering from "horrific injuries" including major organ damage and potential loss of limbs, Jon Rouse of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has said.
SWNS:South West News ServicePolice outside a house on Aston Avenue, Manchester, believed to be in connection with three new arrests this morning
SWNS:South West News ServiceArmed police outside Manchester Piccadilly train station this morning as the Met confirmed increased police numbers and operations across London
PA:Press AssociationPolice officers outside Downing Street after Scotland Yard announced armed troops will be deployed to guard "key locations"
EPAHome Secretary Amber Rudd has said it’s “likely” that Manchester bomber “was not doing this on his own”New video of moment door of suspect in Manchester Arena terror attack
Getty ImagesPolice officers arrive at the home on Elsmore Road in Fallowfield, Manchester this morning
AP:Associated PressArmed police keep guard near Victoria Station in Manchester this morning
Men SyndicationDramatic footage showed two heavily armed terror cops raiding a homePolice raid house of Manchester arena bomber Salman Abedi after terror attacks
US security sources, citing British intelligence officials, said Abedi was born in 1994 to parents who had fled to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.
His dad is understood to have left the UK in 2011 to try and overthrow the Libyan leader.
The Mail Online reports when Gaddafi was killed the family put a massive flag on the roof of their house.
Neighbour Debbie Smith, 53, said: “I think they were glad he was dead.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said Abedi was known "up to a point" to the intelligence services.
When asked in an interview with the BBC this morning if the attacker was a "lone wolf" or not Rudd said: "It seems likely, possible, that he wasn’t doing this on his own."
PA/SWNSSaffie Rose Roussos, eight, was killed in the suicide bomb attack, teachers say
Georgina Callander, pictured here with her pop hero Ariana, was also among the dead
Martyn SnapeThe heartbroken mother of bombing victim Georgina Callander was overcome with grief at the vigil
MEN MEDIAA heartbreaking note left by a nine-year-old girl in the wake of Monday night's terror attack
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(you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10)Injured teen with blood pouring from her leg after deadly Ariana Grande explosion at Manchester Arena
Theresa May has said the threat level has been raised to critical and that the Army will support cops
SWNS:South West News ServiceNell Jones, 14, has been confirmed dead after the attack at Manchester Arena
Martyn Hakan Hett/FacebookMartyn Hett was killed at the Manchester Arena when a suicide attacker set off a bomb as fans left an Ariana Grande concert
Kelly Brewster/FacebookBrave aunt Kelly Brewster, 32, who shielded her niece from the deadly Manchester Arena suicide bomb blast was named as the fourth victim
SWNS:South West News ServiceAngelika and Marcin Klis are the latest victims confirmed dead after their daughter launched a desperate appeal to find themScreaming heard amid chaos at Manchester Arena following 'loud bangs'
Theresa May said Britain is braced for further terrorist attacks after the atrocity.
The military will be providing armed guards for key locations across London including Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster and embassies, Scotland Yard said.
The Government has activated Operation Temperer, providing up to 3,800 troops to support the police in their security operations.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed 984 members of the military would help today at the request of police.
Following an emergency Cobra meeting, Mrs May said the independent body which sets the threat level has increased it from “severe” to “critical”.
She said: "This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent.
The defiant PM described the massacre as “callous and cowardly” and declared “terrorists will never win”.
Cowardly ISIS warlords - hiding in Syria - have claimed responsibility for the gutless attack.
London News PicturesAn injured man is led from the arena in Manchester after the chaos shortly after the concert finished
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SWNS:South West News ServiceDramatic moment armed cops arrested a 23-year-old man outside Morrisons in Chorlton, south Manchester yesterday morningMum describes moment she ‘saw’ Manchester Arena suicide bomber before deadly terror attack
SWNS:South West News ServiceFlowers and messages in memory of the victims of the Manchester terror attackPeople flee Manchester Arena after fatal 'explosion' during pop concert
Thousands gathered last night to remember the victims of the atrocity in a series of vigils across the country.
The people of Manchester have been encouraged to "get back to normal" as the city vows to continue with its day-to-day business.
But while the city's mayor Andy Burnham said it is important to send out a message that the people will not be "beaten", he also said the city is going through "very difficult times".
He confirmed the Great City Games is set to go ahead this weekend.
The blast detonated in the foyer near the box office as thousands of pop fans left the concert, many going to Victoria station
Dramatic footage captured the moment concert-goers ran for their livesPM Theresa May delivers defiant statement after terror attack at Ariana Grande gig in Manchester
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