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UK security services foiled five terror attacks in past eight weeks.... Manchester bomb used same explosives as Paris, Brussels, says US congressman Mike McCaul, who suggests Salman Abedi had ‘foreign training’

A woman places flowers in St Ann's Square in Manchester, northwest England on May 25, 2017, in tribute to the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF
A woman places flowers in St Ann's Square in Manchester, northwest England on May 25, 2017, in tribute to the victims of the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF
Suicide bomber Salim Abedi, who blew himself up Monday night at a pop concert in Manchester, northern England, killing 22 people and injuring 64, used the same explosive that was employed in terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and London, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported.
As the UK’s terror alert remained at its maximum “critical” level, it was also revealed Thursday that British intelligence foiled five planned terror operations since an attack at Westminster on March 22.
In the March terror attack, a 52-year-old British citizen, Khaled Masood, killed four people and injured more than 50 when he drove a car into pedestrians close to the Houses of Parliament.
The Daily Telegraph quoted a senior government official saying that Britain’s M15 security services are currently managing 500 active investigations, involving some 3,000 individuals.

After Monday night’s suicide bombing, which happened towards the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, 20 people remain in critical condition, 12 of them children.
Eight people have been arrested so far.

People look at tributes in Parliament Square, London, Saturday, March 25, 2017, laid out for the victims of the Westminster attack on March 22, 2017. (John Stillwell/PA via AP)

The revelations about the explosive detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday came from Mike McCaul, Republican chair of the House homeland security committee, who said the backpack which Abedi detonated was stuffed with the explosive TATP, or triacetrone triperoxide.
McCaul said Abedi’s bomb had a “level of sophistication” that suggested its makers may have had foreign training, the Guardian reported.
TATP is known as “the Mother of Satan” because it is so easy to detonate by accident.
Made up from readily-available ingredients, it is popular with terrorists because it lacks nitrogen and is therefore not detected by scanners, which seek nitrogenous materials.
TATP was used in the London terror attacks in July 2005, during which four suicide bombers killed 52 people and hurt more than 700, as well as by ‘shoe bomber’ Richard Reid, who tried to blow up an American Airlines flight in 2001.
Most recently, it was employed by suicide bombers in Paris in November 2015 during terror attacks that killed 130, and in Brussels in 2016, where three suicide bombings killed 32 civilians and injured more than 300.
But if the explosive might have been home made, the detonator suggested the bomb was probably “specially acquired” and “professionally assembled,” a British security specialist, Will Geddes, told the Guardian.
Manchester’s police chief Ian Hopkins has said it is “very clear” that Abedi was part of a larger cell
One former counter terrorism specialist with knowledge of the Middle East region and bomb-making told the Guardian that Abedi was the “mule rather than the bomb maker” and that “the bomb maker is still out there.”
The Guardian said investigators were probing whether this “mule” was connected in any way with Mohamed Abrini, the so-called “man in the hat,” who failed to detonate his bomb at Brussels airport. Abrini visited Manchester in 2015. He was arrested in April 2016.
They were also looking into the possibility of links with another Manchester native — Ronald Fiddler, known as Jamal al-Harith — who blew himself up in a car full of explosives at a military facility near Mosul, Iraq in February for which Islamic State took responsibility.

Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini, seen left in an image released by Belgian police, is believed to be the ‘third man’ caught on CCTV at Brussels airport with the two men who blew themselves up there on March 22. (AFP Photo/Belgian Federal Police/STR and Twitter)

People who knew or purported to know the Abedis have been giving conflicting reports to the media.
The bomber’s father, Ramadan Abedi — arrested Wednesday by local security forces in Tripoli, along with another son, Hashem, 20 — told the Associated Press news agency that Salman had no connections to jihadists, adding, “We don’t believe in killing innocents.”
Ramadan Amedi was once part of a Libyan militant group with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda, according to a Libyan security source.
He was hunted by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi for his ties to the group, finding refuge in Britain before returning to Libya in 2011 to join the NATO-backed uprising that finally overthrew the dictator, British media have reported.
Most of Ramadan’s family joined him in Libya after Gadaffi’s ouster. Salman and his brother Ismail, now 23 – who was arrested Tuesday — stayed in Britain to finish their studies, although Salman dropped out of college at the beginning of his second year.
Mohammed Fadl, a spokesman for Libyan expatriates in Manchester, told AP, “Very few people in the community here were close to him [Salman] and therefore Salman’s fanaticism wasn’t something the community was aware of.”
Ramadan Abedi, father of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi. (YouTube screenshot, Reuters)
He said he heard that Ramadan Abedi confiscated Salman’s passport amid concerns about his son’s close ties to extremists and criminals, but could not offer any proof.
He also said Manchester’s Libyan community — one of the largest in the UK — met Wednesday to discuss combating radicalism.
“Parents expressed fears of this danger, and agreed to take measures to help youths get more integrated in the community while making sure that future visits to Libya take place as families, and not as individuals,” Fadl said.
A Muslim community worker told the BBC that members of the public alerted an anti-terror hotline five years ago about statements Abedi made, among them that “he was supporting terrorism” and “being a suicide bomber is OK.”
According to the station, Abedi lauded the value of dying for a cause and expressed hardline views on suicide bombings and the conflict in Libya.
Abedi’s sister Jomana told the Wall Street Journal that her brother was probably motivated by revenge for the West’s meddling in the Middle East.
But Agence France Press quoted a friend of his, also of Libyan descent, saying Thursday that Salim expressed a desire to avenge the killing of another Manchester friend, also of Libyan background, who was stabbed in the neck by youths in Manchester in May last year. The suspected killers are still on trial.
“That incident stirred up a sense of anger among young Libyans in
Manchester and especially Salman, who clearly expressed his desire for revenge,” the friend was quoted as saying. “I personally talked with him and tried to convince him that it was just a criminal act,” he added.
German officials told the Financial Times Abedi arrived in the UK just four days before the attack, from Istanbul, via Dusseldorf airport.
French officials meanwhile told the Financial Times that according to their British counterparts, Abedi “probably” visited Syria recently, a claim Ramadan Abedi denied.
A German magazine — Focus — reported that British police told their German counterparts that Abedi received paramilitary training in Syria.
Focus said that German authorities were now trying to work out whether Abedi had links with Islamic extremists in Germany.
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