Security committee member thinks bomber was ‘part of cell’

Flowers left close to the Manchester Arena, the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22 people. Dan

Flowers left close to the Manchester Arena, the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22 people. Danny Lawson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A former member of the parliamentary intelligence watchdog has said he believes the Manchester suicide bomber was part of a cell.

Keith Simpson

Keith Simpson - Credit: Archant

Conservative candidate in Broadland Keith Simpson said although attacker Salman Abedi apparently acted alone when detonating the explosive he will have had support from others to plan the atrocity.

'Unlike the attack in Westminster, this had a level of sophistication,' said Mr Simpson who hopes to rejoin the Intelligence and Security Committee if he retains his seat.

'It is likely there was a support network connected to the bomber. It is now the intelligence agencies' job to track them down.'

Mr Simpson added that security will be beefed up at public events in the coming days and for the remainder of the election.

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He said: 'There will be a lot of concern this attack is just the first – agents will be examining everything to try and work out patterns.

'I can assure everyone that our agencies will be doing absolutely everything in their power to get to the bottom of this bombing and to prevent anymore in the future.

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'We must remember that attacks of this sort are rare in the UK. Our intelligence agencies have publicly said they have stopped half a dozen major attacks in recent years.

'Teams of experts will be looking at what is left of the bomb and they will be able to find out a lot of information from those fragments alone.'

After Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, Mr Simpson admitted it was difficult to see how a political solution could be found in the short-term.

'The first challenge is to make it as hard as possible for potential terrorists to commit these atrocities,' he said. 'These types of disputes only really disappear after a political solution has been found. But there is no sign that IS or other groups like them are interested in that.

'The long-term solution is education and re-education.'

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