Police: Arrests in connection with Manchester attack are "significant"

Eight men are being held in custody in connection with Monday's attack, while one woman has been released

Police: Arrests in connection with Manchester attack are "significant"

Flowers are left in St Ann's Square, Manchester. Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images

Police in the UK say the arrests they have made in their investigation into Monday's terror attack in Manchester are "significant".

Two more people were arrested this morning in connection with the attack on Manchester Arena, bringing the total number in custody to eight.

22 people were killed in the attack, which happened after an Ariana Grande concert.

Police say searches linked with the arrests are now being carried out.

A woman who was arrested last night has been released without charge.

Two men were arrested early on Thursday, one following a search of an address in the Withington area.

In a statement this lunchtime, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant, and initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation."

Police in the UK are describing the investigation as "fast-moving".

Salman Abedi (22) has been named as the man suspected of carrying out the suicide bombing

Hashem Abedi, a younger brother of the suspected bomber, has been detained in Libya, according to local counter-terrorism police.

He is said to have known about his elder brother's plot to detonate the nail bomb, and is also accused of planning to carry out his own attack in Tripoli.

When arrested, he is reported to have told Libyan authorities: "I have ideology with my brother … I know everything about my brother, what he was doing there in Manchester."

Image: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

It is understood all victims have now been identified, while medics say 20 of the 64 people who were injured after concert are in a critical condition.

The Queen described the bombing as "very wicked" as she visited victims being treated in hospital.

The monarch also met paramedics who were first on the scene and staff who worked through the night at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in the aftermath of Monday's attack.

Twelve children under the age of 16 were taken to the hospital by ambulance following the terror attack.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May will confront US President Donald Trump over US leaks of crucial intelligence about the Manchester bombing when they meet at a NATO summit in Brussels.

Photos, apparently showing bloodstained fragments of the bomb, appeared in The New York Times.

Irish response

A top-level meeting was held in Dublin on Thursday morning to assess Ireland's state of preparedness for an attack.

Officials concluded that while a terrorist attack in Ireland is possible, it is unlikely.

The Government also says detailed preparations have been made for any such event.