Manchester Arena blast: police officer among those killed by Salman Abedi

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  • Four people have now been arrested over Monday’s bombing
  • Troops set to be deployed as armed police patrol key locations
  • More victims of the atrocity have been named
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An off-duty female police officer was among the victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack.

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins confirmed the news as he gave an update on the investigation.

Police have named 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi as the person suspected of carrying out the suicide attack. Picture: Contributed

Police have named 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi as the person suspected of carrying out the suicide attack. Picture: Contributed

He told reporters: “Very sadly I can confirm one of the victims is a serving police officer. In respect of the family’s wishes I will make no further comment at this stage.”

The BBC reported that the officer was with her husband and two children.

All three were injured, the husband critically, the corporation said.

Sources said the family are from Cheshire.

Until we can be reassured that there is no continued activity around this operation, that it is entirely safe around this operation, then it is right that we are at this heightened state of alert.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd

Cheshire Police declined to comment and referred inquiries to Greater Manchester Police.

Greater Manchester Police also confirmed that three men have been arrested in south Manchester in connection with the concert bomb attack.

They were detained after police executed warrants in south Manchester.

A total of four people have now been arrested as part of the inquiry into the atrocity.

Soldiers at a Ministry of Defence building. Picture: Getty Images

Soldiers at a Ministry of Defence building. Picture: Getty Images

Twenty-two people were killed and dozens more injured when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a home-made device as fans left a concert by US star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Twenty people are in critical condition in hospital and 64 injured overall.

The latest arrests were announced as:

•France’s interior minister disclosed that Abedi, 22, is believed to have travelled to Syria and claimed he had “proven” links with Islamic State;

British soldiers enter a Ministry of Defence building near to New Scotland Yard. Picture: Getty

British soldiers enter a Ministry of Defence building near to New Scotland Yard. Picture: Getty

•Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed UK security services had been aware of the British-born attacker;

•Military personnel were being deployed to key sites after the official threat assessment was raised to critical, the highest level, indicating that a further attack may be imminent;

•A Polish couple who had gone to the venue to collect their daughters were revealed to be among those killed;

•PR manager Martyn Hett was the latest person to be named as a victim of the atrocity.

READ MORE: Manchester arena attack - who are the victims?

Prime Minister Theresa May announced late on Tuesday that the terrorism threat level was being raised to “critical” - the highest alert level - meaning that an attack is thought be imminent.

Armed police officers in a car at Manchester Airport today. Picture: SWNS

Armed police officers in a car at Manchester Airport today. Picture: SWNS

It is the first time the most serious rating has been reached for nearly a decade.

The move reflects fears that a “wider group of individuals” may have been involved in the attack - including the bomb-maker who provided Abedi with his deadly device.

Following Monday’s blast, the Government has activated Operation Temperer, providing up to 3,800 troops to support the police in their security operations.

Ms Rudd said the move was temporary but refused to be drawn on how long the heightened state of alert would remain in place.

“It is an ongoing operation which means that the investigation is continuing to find leads,” she said.

“So until we can be reassured that there is no continued activity around this operation, that it is entirely safe around this operation, then it is right that we are at this heightened state of alert.

“It is operationally driven, it is intelligence-driven and we must make sure that we allow our counter-terrorist police, our police and our intelligence services to get on and do their job and this helps give them the space to do just that.”

France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told French television that both British and French intelligence services had information that Abedi had been in Syria.

READ MORE: In pictures: Armed police deployed across Scotland

Mr Collomb said: “We only know what the British investigators have told us. He was a British national of Libyan origin, he grew up in Great Britain.

“All of a sudden he travelled to Libya and then most likely to Syria, became radicalised and decided to commit this attack.”

When Mr Collomb was asked whether there was a terrorist network, he replied: “We don’t know yet (if there’s a network). In any case, links with Daesh (Islamic State) are proven.”

Ms Rudd confirmed Abedi had recently returned from a visit to Libya, where his parents are reported to now live, and said the nature of the attack suggested he may have had support.

“It was more sophisticated than some of the horrific events that we have seen in the past or in other parts of Europe so people are reasonably wondering whether he did this on his own,” she told BBC Breakfast.

She said the deployment of troops would enable police to step up security at various high-profile events over the coming days, including the Great Manchester Run.

Among the first victims to be named following Monday night’s attack at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande were eight-year-old Saffie Roussos from Leyland and teenagers Olivia Campbell, 15, from Bury and Georgina Callander from Chorley.

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the barbaric attack, which involved a home-made device packed with nuts and bolts which exploded in the venue’s foyer as thousands of young people were leaving.

On Wednesday Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said 64 people are being treated with 20 in critical care in hospital. In total 119 people were taken by ambulance or made their own way to hospital following the blast.

Ballons and flowers are seen in Albert Square in central Manchester. Picture: Getty

Ballons and flowers are seen in Albert Square in central Manchester. Picture: Getty