The UK terror attack threat level has been increased from severe to critical in the wake of Manchester Arena attack investigation, PM Theresa May has announced.
It means that an attack is expected "imminently".
The last time that the UK threat level was critical was June 30 2007 - in the wake of the Glasgow airport car bombing.
The only time before that it was raised to critical - the highest possible level - was on June 30 2006 when a plot to kill thousands on 10 transatlantic flights from the UK was uncovered.
Anti-terror agencies have been working for the past 24 hours to work out if the suicide bomber who killed 22 and injured 120 more at the Ariana Grande pop concert last night was working alone - or as part of an organised terror cell.
The bomber was earlier named as Salman Abedi.
Mrs May revealed that the Secretary of Defence has approved a police request for help from armed forces.
Security Service Mi5 updated its threat level information on its website immediately tonight.
In a live televised statement from Downing Street, she said:"In my statement earlier today I said that the police and security services needed to investigate whether or not Abedi was acting alone."
"Their investigations continue but the work undertaken during the day have revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to to this attack.
"This morning I said that the joint terrorist analysis centre - the independent organisation responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available - was keeping the threat level under constant review.
Following the horrific events last night in Manchester in which a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert, primarily attended by teenagers, claimed the lives of at least 22 people, we're just now learning that the Islamic State is claiming responsibility for the attack.
BREAKING: Islamic State group says one of its members carried out the Manchester attack that killed 22 people.— The Associated Press (@AP) May 23, 2017
#ManchesterAttack: Islamic State says one of its members carried out deadly attack, with a device planted at the Ariana Grande concert pic.twitter.com/8oAlUeGvKI— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 23, 2017
Here is the statement from the Islamic State:
"With Allah's grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah's religion, in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the land of the Muslims. The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah's permission. And all praises due to Allah, Lord of the creation."
Of course, this is not a terribly surprising outcome given some of the disturbing messages posted to Twitter last night in which Islamic State supporters celebrated the attack. Per Yahoo News:
"It seems that bombs of the British airforce over children of Mosul and Raqqa has just came back to #Manchester," one user named Abdul Haqq said on Twitter, in reference to the Iraqi and Syrian cities held by the militants where a U.S.-led coalition, of which Britain is a member, is conducting air strikes.
Supporters posted messages encouraging each other to carry out "lone wolf" attacks in the West and shared Islamic State videos threatening the United States and Europe.
One user said he hoped Islamic State was responsible for the attack, although no claim has appeared on any of the militant's group's official social media channels.
"We hope that the perpetrator is one of the soldiers of the caliphate," he wrote on a channel affiliated to the group hosted by messaging network Telegram.
Others posted banners saying "the beginning is in Brussels and Paris, and in London we form a state," in reference to previous similar "lone wolf" attacks in Belgium and France for which the group has claimed responsibility.
"This is only the beginning": Sick video shows ISIS jihadist make ominous warning after Manchester Arena blast
A sick video has surfaced online showing an ISIS jihadist saying "this is only the beginning" after the Manchester 'terror attack' that killed more than 20 .
In the unverified footage, a man wearing a mask and sitting in front of a black flag making the ominous warning.
The man then holds up a sign bearing the words "Manchester 2017-05-22", a reference to yesterday's date.
Hours later ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack via the Reuters news agency and the killer was named as Salman Abedi.
In the video the masked man says: "In the name of Allah the merciful, the grateful, this is only the beginning.
"The lions of the Islamic State are beginning to attack all the crusaders. Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar."
He then holds up his sign bearing the date of the attack.
This video appeared on social media and the Mirror can not verify the source of the authenticity.
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