The Manchester suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert venue packed with children had recently returned from Libya, a British minister said, and her French counterpart said he had links with Islamic State and had probably visited Syria as well.
Interior minister Amber Rudd said Salman Abedi had likely not acted alone, and troops were being deployed to key sites across Britain to help prevent further attacks after the official threat level was raised to "critical".
Rudd also scolded U.S. officials for leaking details about the investigation into the Manchester attack before British authorities were prepared to go public.
|Manchester bomber had 'proven' links to Islamic State: French minister
British-born Abedi, 22, blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande attended by thousands of children and teenagers.
His 22 victims included an eight-year-old girl, several teenage girls, a 28-year-old man and a Polish couple who had come to collect their daughters.
"It seems likely, possible, that he (Abedi) wasn't doing this on his own," Rudd said on BBC radio.
A source close to the investigation told Reuters that the focus was on whether Abedi had received help in putting together the bomb and on where it had been done.
The BBC reported that security services thought the bomb was too sophisticated for Abedi to have built by himself.
Asked about reports that Abedi had recently returned from Libya, Rudd said she believed that had now been confirmed.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said British investigators had told French authorities Abedi had probably traveled to Syria as well.
Asked if he believed Abedi had the support of a network, Collomb said: "That is not known yet, but perhaps. In any case, (he had) links with Daesh (Islamic State) that are proven."Reuters