Manchester attack: leaks put strain on US-UK ‘special relationship’

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Leaks of information about the Manchester terror attacks to US news organisations have caused caused UK authorities to stop sharing information with their US counterparts and put significant strain on relations between the two allies.

On Monday night, British-born Salman Abedi blew himself up after an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester, killing 22 people and injuring 116.

The name of the attacker was first published by US media, before it had been confirmed by UK police, and before authorities had been able to trace his network and connections, possibly putting the investigation at risk. Those leaks drew swift condemnation from Home Secretary Amber Rudd, but the leaks continued the next day with the New York Times publishing photos of evidence from the crime scene including bloodstained fragments of the bomb and the backpack used to conceal it.

In a speech in Brussels before the upcoming Nato meeting, US President Donald Trump has described the leaks as “deeply troubling”, but they come as the latest in a swathe of information leaked by US intelligence to newspapers under his presidency.

Earlier, the top US diplomat in the UK, Lewis Lukens, condemned the leaks and “reprehensible” and pledged to take action against those responsible.

Controversy over the leaks comes as police continue to make “significant” arrests in relation to the attack, with eight people suspected of having a connection to the bomber already in custody.

Meanwhile, the Queen has visited victims of the attack at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and paid tribute the “extraordinary” way the city of Manchester had responded to the attack.

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