Life in Manchester getting back to normal as hunt for terror suspects continues

By on May 31, 2017


Manchester City. (Photo by Daniel Nisbet from Manchester, United Kingdom - Manchester from the Sky, CC BY 2.0)
Manchester City. (Photo by Daniel Nisbet from Manchester, United Kingdom – Manchester from the Sky, CC BY 2.0)

LONDON, May 31 — A week after Britain\’s worse act of terrorism since the London bombings of 2005, life in Manchester is showing signs of slowly starting to get back to normal.

On Tuesday, the city\’s busy Victoria Station re-opened, with thousands of commuters once again arriving by train to reach their workplaces in the city center.

Staff at the railway station, which adjoins the Manchester Arena, was visibly upset as they returned to work. Some of them had been the first to respond on the night of the attack. The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham laid wreaths at the station as it reopened.

A police cordon was finally lifted around areas close to the Manchester Arena where suicide bomber Salman Abedi unleashed terror last Monday, killing 22 people and injuring many others.

Behind the scenes, 1,000 police officers and security officials were continuing one of the biggest-ever investigations in Manchester, the city that sees itself as the de-facto capital of north-west England.

Greater Manchester\’s chief constable Ian Hopkins said in a local radio interview in Manchester Tuesday that Abedi had been known to the police for theft, receiving stolen goods and minor assault in 2012.

The police chief added that Abedi was not known to the government\’s Prevent program which aims to de-radicalize young people or prevent others from being radicalized.

No official statements have been issued by Britain\’s secret service for homeland security, MI5, after media reports that the agency had launched two separate investigations into how Abedi had slipped through the net after U.S. FBI warned he was planning an attack.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd\’s welcoming of the investigations was the only official confirmation that the media reports were accurate.

The former leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, Lord Menzies Campbell, has called for an independent parliamentary inquiry into the alleged missed opportunities to intercept Abedi.

Campbell told the Guardian newspaper he would be astonished if the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the House of Commons did not instigate an inquiry into the circumstances around the Manchester atrocity when parliament reconvenes after next week\’s general election.

As an MP, Campbell was a member of the ISC when it published report into the intelligence services\’ handling of information about the two terrorists who went on to murder the soldier, Lee Rigby, in May 2013.

Campbell now sits in the House of Lords and is chancellor of the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Abedi\’s attack on the Manchester Arena last week came on the fourth anniversary of Rigby\’s death in 2013.

Rigby, a fusilier in the British Army soldier, was attacked and killed by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London on May 22, 2013. Adebowale had discussed killing a soldier on social media.

Meanwhile, the search also continued Tuesday for a distinctive looking suitcase Abedi was seen pushing on the day of the suicide bombing.

Detectives are continuing to question 14 men arrested in a number of armed swoops on properties across England, mostly homes and business premises in the Manchester area. (Xinhua)