British Official: Manchester Bomber 'Known' by Intelligence Services
British police say they have arrested three more people in connection with the investigation into Monday's deadly bombing after a concert in Manchester.
A statement Wednesday from Greater Manchester Police said only that the arrests came after officers executed warrants in South Manchester. There was no information about how the three men, or a fourth man arrested Tuesday who was only identified as a 23-year-old, might be involved in the attack.
British interior minister Amber Rudd said Wednesday the suicide bomber, who has been identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, was "known" by British intelligence services before the bombing. She also told the BBC that "it seems likely, possible, that he wasn't doing this on his own."
Investigators have been working since Monday's attack to determine if the bomber was part of a wider group.
Mark Rowley, who heads the National Counter Terrorism Policing, described the investigation late Tuesday as "making good progress" and following a number of leads. But he said authorities cannot yet say if the Abedi acted alone.
His comments came after a panel that sets the country's terrorism alert level raised it to critical, or the highest step, signaling that another attack was highly likely and could be imminent.
The change is most visible in the deployment of soldiers to help guard certain areas, including major events such as concerts and football matches, in order to free up police officers.
The blast at the conclusion of a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena killed 22 people and wounded 59 others. The attacker also died at the site.
Islamic State is claiming it was behind the attack, but neither British nor U.S. intelligence have confirmed that.
Trump has put forward a $668 billion defense budget
The proposal released Tuesday would increase the Defense Department's base budget to $574.5 billion — $52 billion over congressional spending caps. It would buy six ships, several new fighter jets and munitions, while growing the U.S. fighting force by more than 56,000 service members.
Pentagon Chief Financial Officer John Roth told reporters on Tuesday the increases would help with military readiness. "The world has become a more dangerous place," he said.
John "JV" Venable, senior research fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, said the budget would need to continue to increase by about $20 billion to $30 billion each year for the next two years — and sustain that budget increase for several years — to ensure the force is properly funded.
"We've put so many demands on our services. We ask so much of them," Venable told VOA. "We have funded it at 75 to 80 percent of what they need to do that job for so long, right now, the dividends are paid in worn equipment and people who are discouraged."
The budget also calls for about $65 billion for a contingency fund for overseas operations, including $46 billion for operations in Afghanistan. The remainder of this fund would pay for countering Islamic State operations in Iraq and Syria, bolstering NATO allies and U.S. partners in Europe, and building partner capacity around the globe.
The $668 billion total budget also would include about $28 billion for defense-related spending by the Energy and Justice departments.