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UK police find 'significant' evidence; May slams US on leaks

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/25/2017 By JILL LAWLESS, PAISLEY DODDS and GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press
People observe a minutes silence in Westminster in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017, after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press People observe a minutes silence in Westminster in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017, after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Home searches across Manchester and beyond have uncovered important items in a fast-moving investigation into the concert bombing that left 22 people dead, Manchester's police chief said Thursday as a diplomatic spat escalated over U.S. leaks about the investigation to the media.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks to Amy Barlow, 12, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, left, and her mother, Kathy, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester England, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week and to thank members of staff who treated them Thursday May 25, 2017. (Peter Byrne/Pool via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks to Amy Barlow, 12, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, left, and her mother, Kathy, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester England, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week and to thank members of staff who treated them Thursday May 25, 2017. (Peter Byrne/Pool via AP)

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters the eight suspects detained so far are "significant" arrests, and "initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation."

An armed soldier and policeman stand guard at Parliament, in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Armed troops are guarding vital locations in the country after the official threat level was raised to its highest point following a suicide bombing that killed more than 20 in Manchester. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press An armed soldier and policeman stand guard at Parliament, in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Armed troops are guarding vital locations in the country after the official threat level was raised to its highest point following a suicide bombing that killed more than 20 in Manchester. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

He did not elaborate, but those arrests around the northwestern English city include Ismail Abedi, the brother of 22-year-old Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi. The bomber's father Ramadan Abedi and another brother Hashim have been detained in Libya.

A police officer at the scene at an address in Nuneaton, England Thursday May 25, 2017 where they arrested a seventh suspect in the investigation into the Manchester Arena bombing. British police have arrested a seventh person in connection with the Manchester Arena bombing. The man was held Wednesday after police carried out searches in the English town of Nuneaton, which is about 161 kilometers (100 miles) south of Manchester.(Joe Giddens/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A police officer at the scene at an address in Nuneaton, England Thursday May 25, 2017 where they arrested a seventh suspect in the investigation into the Manchester Arena bombing. British police have arrested a seventh person in connection with the Manchester Arena bombing. The man was held Wednesday after police carried out searches in the English town of Nuneaton, which is about 161 kilometers (100 miles) south of Manchester.(Joe Giddens/PA via AP)

As police raced to uncover the network that may have helped Abedi attack an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night, furious British officials blamed U.S. authorities Thursday for leaking details of the investigation to the media.

A woman looks at the floral tributes and messages left for the victims of the concert blast, during a vigil at St Ann's Square in central Manchester, England, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. British police say officers investigating the Manchester Arena concert blast have arrested a fifth suspect, and are assessing a package the suspect was carrying. Greater Manchester Police said the suspect was detained in Wigan, a town to the west of Manchester. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A woman looks at the floral tributes and messages left for the victims of the concert blast, during a vigil at St Ann's Square in central Manchester, England, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. British police say officers investigating the Manchester Arena concert blast have arrested a fifth suspect, and are assessing a package the suspect was carrying. Greater Manchester Police said the suspect was detained in Wigan, a town to the west of Manchester. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

One British official told The Associated Press that police in Manchester have stopped sharing information about their bombing investigation with the U.S. until they get a guarantee that there will be no more leaks to the media. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Police officers inspect litter bins in central Manchester, Britain, Thursday May 25 2017. Police are searching a new site in Manchester suspected of links to Monday's bombing at a pop concert. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press Police officers inspect litter bins in central Manchester, Britain, Thursday May 25 2017. Police are searching a new site in Manchester suspected of links to Monday's bombing at a pop concert. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would discuss the leaks with President Donald Trump at a NATO summit. Upon her arrival in Brussels, May said the U.S.-British defense and security partnership is built on trust.

Police at the scene at an address in Nuneaton, England Thursday May 25, 2017 where they arrested a seventh suspect in the investigation into the Manchester Arena bombing. British police have arrested a seventh person in connection with the Manchester Arena bombing. The man was held Wednesday after police carried out searches in the English town of Nuneaton, which is about 161 kilometers (100 miles) south of Manchester.(Joe Giddens/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Police at the scene at an address in Nuneaton, England Thursday May 25, 2017 where they arrested a seventh suspect in the investigation into the Manchester Arena bombing. British police have arrested a seventh person in connection with the Manchester Arena bombing. The man was held Wednesday after police carried out searches in the English town of Nuneaton, which is about 161 kilometers (100 miles) south of Manchester.(Joe Giddens/PA via AP)

But she said "part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently."

A woman reacts as people look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A woman reacts as people look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

British officials are particularly angry that photos detailing evidence about the bomb were published in The New York Times, although it's not clear that the paper obtained the photos from U.S. officials.

People hold a minute of silence in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) © The Associated Press People hold a minute of silence in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

British security services are also upset that Abedi's name was apparently leaked by U.S. officials while British police were withholding it — and while raids were underway in Manchester and in Libya, where the bomber's father lives.

A woman reads a newspaper reporting in the front about the suicide attack at a concert by Ariana Grande and in the back page about the victory of Manchester United winning the soccer Europa League final, before holding a minute of silence in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) © The Associated Press A woman reads a newspaper reporting in the front about the suicide attack at a concert by Ariana Grande and in the back page about the victory of Manchester United winning the soccer Europa League final, before holding a minute of silence in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Hopkins, the Manchester police chief, said the leaks had "caused much distress for families that are already suffering terribly with their loss."

People attend a one minute silence to the victims of Monday's explosion at St Ann's Square in Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening . (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press People attend a one minute silence to the victims of Monday's explosion at St Ann's Square in Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening . (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Trump on Thursday pledged to "get to the bottom" of leaks of sensitive information, calling the leaks "deeply troubling." He said he is asking the Justice Department and other agencies to "launch a complete review of this matter."

People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

The New York Times defended its publication of crime-scene photographs, saying its coverage had been "both comprehensive and responsible."

People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

"The images and information presented were neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims, and consistent with the common line of reporting on weapons used in horrific crimes," the paper said.

People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

May said the national threat level from terrorism remains at critical — the highest level, meaning that another attack may be imminent. Hundreds of soldiers have replaced police protecting high-profile sites including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament in London.

A member of the public reacts at St Ann's Square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, Monday evening. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press A member of the public reacts at St Ann's Square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, Monday evening. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

"The public should remain vigilant," May said.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks to Evie Mills, 14, from Harrogate, and her father Craig, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester England, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week and to thank members of staff who treated them Thursday May 25, 2017. (Peter Byrne/Pool via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks to Evie Mills, 14, from Harrogate, and her father Craig, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester England, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week and to thank members of staff who treated them Thursday May 25, 2017. (Peter Byrne/Pool via AP)

Around the country, many people fell silent and bowed their heads at 11 a.m. for a minute in tribute to the bombing victims.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks to Evie Mills, 14, from Harrogate, her mother, Karen, left, and her father Craig, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester England, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week and to thank members of staff who treated them Thursday May 25, 2017. (Peter Byrne/Pool via AP): A woman reacts as people look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A woman reacts as people look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

In Manchester's St. Ann's Square, where a sea of floral tributes grows by the hour, a crowd sang "Don't Look Back in Anger" — a song by the Manchester band Oasis.

Britain's Prince Charles meets children at the Oval cricket ground in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017. On the pitch The Prince met members of eight teams from eight local primary schools taking part in a cricket competition. The eight teams are representing each of the Nations competing in the ICC Champions Trophy (England; New Zealand; Australia; South Africa; India; Pakistan; Bangladesh; and Sri Lanka). (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Charles meets children at the Oval cricket ground in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017. On the pitch The Prince met members of eight teams from eight local primary schools taking part in a cricket competition. The eight teams are representing each of the Nations competing in the ICC Champions Trophy (England; New Zealand; Australia; South Africa; India; Pakistan; Bangladesh; and Sri Lanka). (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Queen Elizabeth II visited Royal Manchester Children's Hospital on Thursday to talk to some of the victims, their families and medical staff.

Britain's Prince Charles adjusts his sun glasses as he arrives at the Oval Cricket ground in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017. On the pitch The Prince met members of eight teams from eight local primary schools taking part in a cricket competition. The eight teams are representing each of the Nations competing in the ICC Champions Trophy (England; New Zealand; Australia; South Africa; India; Pakistan; Bangladesh; and Sri Lanka). (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press Britain's Prince Charles adjusts his sun glasses as he arrives at the Oval Cricket ground in London, Thursday, May 25, 2017. On the pitch The Prince met members of eight teams from eight local primary schools taking part in a cricket competition. The eight teams are representing each of the Nations competing in the ICC Champions Trophy (England; New Zealand; Australia; South Africa; India; Pakistan; Bangladesh; and Sri Lanka). (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

"It's dreadful. Very wicked, to target that sort of thing," the 91-year-old monarch told 14-year-old Evie Mills and her parents.

People look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP) © The Associated Press People look at tributes in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Fifteen-year-old Millie Robson, wearing an Ariana Grande T-shirt, told the queen she had won VIP tickets to the pop star's concert. She was leaving concert when the blast struck, remembering an intense ringing but not entirely aware that she was bleeding badly from her legs.

People hold a minute of silence in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP) © The Associated Press People hold a minute of silence in a square in central Manchester, England, Thursday, May 25, 2017, for the victims of the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead and many more injured, as it ended on Monday night at the Manchester Arena. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

She credited her dad's quick action in picking her up and tying off her wounds to stem the bleeding.

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Police officers patrol as people queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) © The Associated Press Police officers patrol as people queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

"I have a few like holes in my legs and stuff and I have a bit of a cut, and my arm and just a bit here, but compared to other people I'm quite lucky really," she said.

People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) © The Associated Press People queue to place flowers at St Ann's square in central Manchester, England Thursday May 25 2017. More than 20 people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the venue late Monday evening. Britons will find armed troops at vital locations Wednesday after the official threat level was raised to its highest point. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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In addition to those killed, 116 people received medical treatment at Manchester hospitals for wounds from the blast. The National Health Service said 75 people had been hospitalized.

In Berlin, former U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a message of solidarity to the Manchester bombing victims.

"(This is) a reminder that there is great danger and terrorism and people who would do great harm to others just because they're different," Obama said.

Investigators are chasing Abedi's potential links with jihadi militants in Manchester, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The bomber himself died in the attack.

France's interior minister says Abedi was believed to have travelled to Syria, and U.S. Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was part of "a cell of ISIS-inspired terrorists."

Investigators are trying to find whether Abedi knew several Manchester-based jihadis, including Libyan man Abdalraouf Abdallah, who was jailed in the U.K. for terror offenses, and Raphael Hostey, an IS recruiter killed in Syria.

Investigators are also looking into the Abedi family's ties in Libya. Abedi's father Ramadan was allegedly a member of the al-Qaida-backed Libyan Islamic Fighting group in the 1990s — a claim he denies.

Manchester is home to one of Britain's largest Libyan communities. Mohammed Fadl, a community leader, said the Abedi family is well known, but Salman did not attend many gatherings.

"Very few people in the community here were close to him and therefore Salman's fanaticism wasn't something the community was aware of," he told the AP.

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He said he had heard that Salman's father took his son's passport away amid concerns about his close ties to alleged extremists and criminals.

Authorities are investigating whether Abedi could have been stopped, after Libyan community members in Manchester reported concerns about his views.

Akram Ramadan said Salman Abedi had been banned from Manchester's Didsbury Mosque, one of the largest in the city.

"There was a sermon about anti-Daesh (IS) and he stood up and started calling the Imam — 'You are talking bollocks,'" Ramadan said. "And he gave a good stare, a threatening stare into the Imam's eyes ... he was banned."

Fadl, the community leader, disputed that account and the bomber's father insisted Wednesday in an interview with the AP that Salman had no links to militants, saying "we don't believe in killing innocents."

Abedi had been in Libya in the weeks before the attack, and German magazine Focus, citing unnamed federal security source, reported that he passed through Duesseldorf airport four days before the bombing.

A German security official told the AP on Thursday the report was accurate, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information hadn't been cleared for public release.

On the artistic front, Grande cancelled concerts that were to take place Thursday and Friday in London, and in several other sites in Europe. Next week's premiere of the film "The Mummy" in London was also canceled.

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Dodds and Katz reported from London. Sylvia Hui in London, Rob Harris in Manchester, Frank Jordans in Berlin, Maggie Michael in Cairo and Julie Pace in Brussels also contributed.

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