Prime Minister Theresa May: UK to deploy troops after attack, threat level now 'critical'

LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - Britain's armed forces will be deployed to boost security, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday, as the country raised its terror threat to the highest level of "critical" after a suicide attack in Manchester that killed 22 people, including children.

May said members of the armed forces would be positioned at key sites to free up police for patrols and military personnel might be deployed at public events such as concerts and sports events as a further attack was seen as potentially imminent.

Timeline of the Manchester Arena attack

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Timeline of the Manchester Arena attack
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Timeline of the Manchester Arena attack
Police vehicles and a police officer are seen outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, northern England, Britain May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Police responded to reports of an incident at Manchester Arena. Please stay away from the area. More details to follow....
#arianagrande concert in Manchester where people were running to get safe after an explosion took place, the concert goers reportedly heard two loud booms and there may have been casualties #gossiptwins
An ambulance drives away from the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Emergency services responding to serious incident at Manchester Arena. Avoid the area. More details will follow as soon as available
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Pictures of the injured beginning to come out of Manchester (credit: Joel Goodman) https://t.co/9LebrHAmby
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - A person is wheeled away on a stretcher at Victoria Railway Station close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena https://t.co/gaKASukx9a
Due to the incident in Manchester, please only call us for life threatening emergencies at this time. Thank you.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Members of the public receive treatment from emergency service staff at Victoria Railway Station close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena https://t.co/BEpLOan3dY
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Police corden off an area close to the Box Office entrance to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police have confirmed 19 fatalities and at least 50 injured. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Members of the public are escorted from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
#Manchester explosion @gmpolice statement: 19 dead and around 50 injured in the incident that's currently being tre… https://t.co/LmzzMsc5CV
Latest statement on incident at Manchester Arena @CCIanHopkins https://t.co/GEABqAk5rr
NWAS has taken 59 casualties from the Manchester Arena incident to various hospitals & treated a number of walking wounded on scene
Forensics investigators work at the entrance to the Manchester Arena, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, addresses the media near the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, northern England, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
A youngster wearing a t-shirt showing U.S. singer Ariana Grande talks to the media near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives in Downing Street for an emergency cabinet meeting in London, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 23: Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a statement outside No 10 Downing Street following the terror attacks at Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in London, England. A large explosion was reported at the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande. So far, police have confirmed 22 dead and over fifty injured in the explosion, now thought to be terrorist-related. PHOTOGRAPH BY Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
At the request of @JunckerEU, flags at half-mast in @EU_Commission in solidarity with the British people… https://t.co/AHKQTbW2oY
People rush out of the Arndale shopping centre as it is evacuated in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Police say it's a false alarm sparked by someone panicking unnecessarily. Outbreaks like this often happen in wake of a terror attack.
#Breaking Man, 23, arrested in connection with Manchester Arena bomb attack, @gmpolice say https://t.co/Y6On1vMA4R
An armed police officer stands outside a residential property near to where a man was arrested in the Chorlton area of Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
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May said the independent body which sets the threat level had recommended it be raised from "severe" after a man named by police as Salman Abedi set off an improvised bomb on Monday night as crowds streamed out of a concert.

"It is now concluded on the basis of today's investigations that the threat level should be increased for the time being from severe to critical," she said in a televised statement after a meeting of the government's crisis response committee.

SEE ALSO: Police raid houses as PM Theresa May decries Manchester bombing as 'sickening' attack on young

This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent."

Britain's international terror threat level was last at the critical level in June 2007.

SEE ALSO: Homeless man gives harrowing account of helping victims after Manchester suicide bombing

May, who is due to contest a national election on June 8, said the man named by police as the attacker, Salman Abedi, was born and brought up in Britain and investigations into whether he was working alone were ongoing.

"The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack," she said.

Georgina Callander, victim of Manchester bombing

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Georgina Callander, victim of Manchester bombing
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Georgina Callander, victim of Manchester bombing
LOOK HOW CUte SHE IS I CANT BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED I
MY M&G PHOTOS CAM THEOUFH SHE WAS SO CUTE ANS LOVLEY I HUGGED HER SO TIGHT AND SHE SAID SHE LOVED MY BOW I CANT GET OVER THIS I NEVER WILL
@bexmader thank u for the best cuddles 💘 #sbuk3 #onceuponatime
Reunited again ! @shaniaa_francis i had the best day ever & I miss u already 🥀🌟 see u in 69 days 😭
I miss them 🌞☄🌙✨
This was the first photo that i was concentrating on the fact that i was hugging haYLEY ATWELL 💓👏🏻 #hayleyatwell #theultimates @starfuryevents
When you spot the funniest friend on the streets of London 🏃🏻✨👀💘😌
My last post of 2015 is probably the most happiest moment of the year and it only happened 57 days ago - 1 month and 27 days ago. 🦁✨🌙 happy new year 🦄😌🍌
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(Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary and Kylie MacLellan, Editing by William Schomberg)

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