London – Britain lowered its security threat level to “severe” on Saturday following significant activity by police investigating the suicide bomb attack in Manchester, Prime Minister Theresa May said.
The level was raised to “critical” – meaning another attack was thought to be imminent – after Monday’s bombing at a pop concert in Manchester. It has now been downgraded to “severe”, which means an attack is considered highly likely.
As a result, soldiers who have been assisting police, would be withdrawn from Britain’s streets from midnight on Monday.
“A significant amount of police activity has taken place over the last 24 hours and there are now 11 suspects in custody,” May said.
“The public should be clear about what this means. A threat level of “severe” means an attack is highly likely. The country should remain vigilant.”
The threat assessment has now been returned to the level it was at prior to the attack in Manchester, northwest England, and means soldiers who have been assisting police would be withdrawn from Britain’s streets from midnight on Monday.
Police are on high alert as tens of thousands of people are expected to attend major events, including the Football Association Cup Final and the Premiership Rugby Final over the three-day holiday weekend in London.
British police said they arrested two more people during raids Saturday in connection with the suicide bombing at a Manchester concert, with a “large part” of the network behind the attack now being held, AFP reported.
The two men, aged 20 and 22, were arrested in north Manchester early Saturday after police gained entry to an address using a controlled explosion, AFP added.
The arrests bring to 11 the number of suspects held in Britain over Monday’s blast at a concert by US pop idol Ariana Grande, in which 22 people died and 116 were injured, and for which ISIS terrorist group has claimed responsibility.
A large police presence was in place at the Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester where some 50,000 people were expected on Saturday for a concert by the Courteeners rock band.
While police and politicians have praised communities in Manchester for their reaction to the bombing, Hopkins said there had been a rise in reported hate crimes, from an average of 28 to 56 incidents on Wednesday.