Police ‘stop sharing Manchester bomb intelligence’ after series of leaks

A soldiers joins police outside the Palace of Westminster, London. PIC: PA
A soldiers joins police outside the Palace of Westminster, London. PIC: PA
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Police hunting the terror network behind the Manchester Arena bombing have stopped passing information to the US on the investigation as a major transatlantic row erupted over leaks of key evidence in the US, according to a report.

The police, Downing Street and the Home Office refused to comment on the BBC report, but Theresa May will confront Donald Trump about the leaks - including crime scene photographs - when she meets him at a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday.

The leaks included suggestions that bomber Salman Abedi’s family had warned security officials he was dangerous.

There were also reports Abedi’s parents were so worried about him being radicalised in Manchester that they got him to join them in Libya and confiscated his passport. It was apparently returned when he said he wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted Abedi, 22, was known to the security services “up to a point”.

But further details have emerged about the UK-born bomber’s radicalisation, and the warnings that were sounded, which will raise questions about why he was not more closely monitored.

Responding to the leak in the New York Times of crime scene photos showing bomb fragments and the backpack used by Abedi to conceal his device, the National Police Chiefs’ Council said it “undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families”.

But in the US, politicians were openly briefing the media on what they had been told about Abedi and his “cell of Isis-inspired terrorists”.

US congressman Mike McCaul, Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the bomb was of a “level of sophistication” that might indicate its maker had foreign training.

He described it as “a classic explosive device used by terrorists”, using the same substance as the one used in the deadly November 2015 attacks in Paris and the March 2016 attack in Brussels.

Mr McCaul said evidence so far suggests “we’re not dealing with a lone wolf situation”, adding: “There’s a network - a cell of ISIS-inspired terrorists.”

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