British officials have expressed outrage over the US leaking of classified evidence tied to the recent terror attack in Manchester and UK police have stopped sharing information on the suicide bombing with the US.
Manchester Police hoped to resume normal intelligence ties with the US soon but is currently furious, the BBC reported on Thursday.
The New York Times came under fire on Wednesday after releasing some of the initial evidence that British police had gathered from the scene of the bombing at a concert led by American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester Arena the day before.
The report included pictures of the remnants of a backpack and a battery that investigators believed were used by Salman Abedi, the man behind the bombing, to carry and detonate an improvised explosive device (IED).
Apparently, the leaks led to a major row between the two countries. The Guardian and ITV News reported that UK Prime Minister Theresa May was going to raise the issue with US President Donald Trump at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday.
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd told BBC Radio that the leak was “irritating” and harms the British police’s “operational integrity” and “element of surprise.”
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said the Times’ report was “disappointing” and would hamper “tracking down as rapidly as possible who the accomplices to this terrorist were.”
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham slammed the move, reportedly telling the US ambassador to the UK that the breach “troubles me.”
The UK National Police Chiefs’ Council also issued a terse statement, warning that the “unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence” to American media outlets “undermines” the trust between the UK and its intelligence partners around the world.
“When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families,” the statement read.
“This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter terrorism investigation,” it added.
Britain’s Counter Terrorism Policing agency echoed the same stance.
Meanwhile, Libyan security forces said Wednesday that they had tracked down and arrested Abedi’s father, Ramadan, and younger brother, Hashim, in the country’s capital Tripoli.
UK counter-terror police have also arrested Ismail, the bomber’s other sibling. Officials say all three suspects were planning new attacks in Libya and the UK.
A total of eight arrests had been made as of Thursday morning.
By Africafrique and agencies