The UK’s terror threat level has been increased from “severe” to “critical.”
The announcement by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May comes after a suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena on Monday.
The massacre killed 22 people — including children and teens — and injured 59, some of whom are critically ill. Others show attendees are missing.
Salman Abedi, 22, who died in the attack, reportedly detonated a bomb filled with nail and nuts as thousands left an Ariana Grande concert after the songstress’ last song.
Grande was not physically hurt during the violence.
Abedi is the British-born son of Libyan immigrants.
ISIS has taken credit for the Monday night atrocity.
Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins reportedly said the bombing is “the most horrific incident we have ever faced.”
Moving the terror threat level from severe to critical is an indication that a further attack is likely to be “imminent” based on known intelligence, May revealed.
According to reports, the step-up is the first time the UK’s security has been placed at the highest level for a decade.
It has only been at critical twice in nearly 11 years, in August 2006 and June 2007.
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) May 23, 2017
In a televised address, Prime Minister May said the terror threat level was under review as police and intelligence agencies decide whether Abedi acted alone, or as part of a network of plotters.
Intelligence about UK terror threats and attacks comes via an organization called the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which is based at MI5’s London headquarters.
JTAC consists of operators from 16 government departments and agencies.
“The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe,” Prime Minister May said in her announcement.
She also revealed UK police asked for authorization from the secretary of state for defense to use armed military personnel to support armed officers, and that the request was approved.
May said the request is part of “Operation Temperer,” a pre-existing plan in which the armed forces and the police officers are deployed.
ITV News reports as many as 5,000 armed troops could be used.
May explained that armed police officers responsible for duties including guarding important sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces.
Military personnel could also be used at concerts and sports matches, along with the police to keep the public safe, according to May, who added that the armed forces used in this way will be under the command of the police.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 23, 2017
Meanwhile, #PrayForManchester trended on Twitter on Monday night.
A slew of GoFundMe initiatives and efforts by social media users to bring visibility to missing concert-goers is also underway after the tragedy.
Thousands attended a vigil in the center of Manchester to pay their respects and widespread condolences have been expressed posted on social media by celebrities, random users, artists, politicians and, of course, trolls.
In the UK, General Election campaigning is suspended for the foreseeable following the Manchester attack.
France, America, Israel, Dubai, and other countries, lit landmark monuments in solidarity with Manchester on Monday night.
The world is praying for you Manchester. pic.twitter.com/WruQWB8YFV
— Music News & Facts (@Musicnews_feed) May 24, 2017
For Ariana’s part, the petite star tweeted, “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”
It’s also been reported that Grande has reached out to the families of the dead victims and offered to pay for their funerals.
TMZ also corrected an erroneous Daily Mail story which alleged Taylor Swift sent one of her private jets to pick Grande up in Manchester to fly her back to the U.S.
It turns out the bill for the private jet was split between Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, and Live Nation, who promote Ariana’s “Dangerous Woman” tour.
Understandably, upcoming dates on Grande’s tour have been canceled.
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) May 23, 2017
[Featured Image by Jack Taylor/Getty Images]