The New York Times defends its decision to publish leaked Manchester bombing crime scene pictures and information

The New York Times defended its decision to publish detailed images of the Manchester Arena crime scene following Monday's terror attack.

The US newspaper's report on Wednesday contained photos of the backpack Salman Abedi used to house his explosive device, as well as details on how the bomb may have been constructed and detonated. It also revealed the layout of the blast area and locations of the victims and the bomber's torso.

The story has helped fuel a growing diplomatic dispute between the UK and US over intelligence leaks from the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people. The UK has now decided to suspend the sharing of information with America on Monday's blast.

The New York Times said it did not publish the story lightly. In a statement on Thursday, it explained:

"The images and information presented were neither graphic nor disrespectful of victims, and consistent with the common line of reporting on weapons used in horrific crimes.

"We have strict guidelines on how and in what ways we cover sensitive stories. Our coverage of Monday's horrific attack has been both comprehensive and responsible."

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Photos show supplies used by Manchester arena attacker
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Photos show supplies used by Manchester arena attacker

Backpack

The location where officials found the bomber's torso suggests he carried the bomb in his backpack and was propelled across the foyer, according to the Times, citing an explosive disposal technician.

Shrapnel

Authorities found nuts and screws that had been packed inside the bomb. According to the Times, some of the shrapnel penetrated metal doors and left deep marks in the floor. 

Attackers often use these items in homemade bombs to increase the amount of damage inflicted. Media reports stated that doctors and bystanders helped remove nails, nuts, and bolts from the bodies of survivors of the bombing.

Detonator

This detonator was found in the attacker's left hand. According to the Times, it's possible the device could have been operated remotely as well, suggesting the bomber could have multiple ways to detonate the bomb.

Battery

Officials found a "mangled Yuasa 12-volt, 2.1 amp lead acid battery" at the scene, the Times reported, adding that such a battery can be commonly bought for $20. The battery is more powerful than those typically found in suicide bombs, according to the Times.

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Soon after the NYT statement, US President Donald Trump condemned the "deeply troubling" leaks. He said the information breaches pose a "grave threat" to national security, adding that there is "no relationship we cherish more" than the one with the UK.

As reported by Business Insider on Tuesday, the bomber's name, the body count, and the method of detonation all emerged in the US long before being publicly confirmed by the British authorities.

The New York Times Company is run by a British chief executive. Mark Thompson joined the company in 2012 having previously been the director general of the BBC.

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