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Manchester Bombing: Trump Calls US Leaks 'Deeply Troubling'

Undated handout photo from an unnamed source made available May 24, 2017, of Salman Abedi. British authorities identified Abedi as the bomber responsible for the explosion in Manchester that killed 22 people. (Photo via AP)
Undated handout photo from an unnamed source made available May 24, 2017, of Salman Abedi. British authorities identified Abedi as the bomber responsible for the explosion in Manchester that killed 22 people. (Photo via AP)

President Donald Trump lashed out at diplomatically damaging leaks from the U.S. about the Manchester bombing probe, after British authorities, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, criticized American officials for loose talks about the ongoing investigation.

The name of the bomber, Salman Abedi, was disclosed to U.S. media just as raids were underway both in Manchester and in Libya, where the bomber's father lives.

"The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling," Trump said in a statement the White House released. "These leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security."

Trump ordered the Justice Department to launch a full investigation into leaks from the Manchester bomb probe. Following the release of crime scene photos from the bombing, he has asked for "a complete review" of leaks from U.S. government agencies.

The president is expected to get an earful from May following the apparent leak at the NATO summit. The British prime minister said she planned to "make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure."

In the statement, Trump said "there is no relationship we cherish more than the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom," and promised that his administration would get to the bottom of the matter.

A British official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said Manchester police would stop sharing information about their bombing investigation until they received a guarantee there would be no more leaks to the news media.

The New York Times published photos that provided detailed evidence of the bomb used in the Manchester attack. Though it's unclear if the newspaper obtained the information from U.S. officials, the story has angered many British officials and distressed the families of the victims.

Greater Manchester Police condemned the leaks on behalf of the National Counterterrorism Policing units in a statement that suggested a severe rupture in trust between Britain and the United States, whose law enforcement officials have traditionally shared intelligence at the highest levels.

"When the trust is breached, it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their family," the statement said.

"This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorized disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counterterrorism investigation."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd complained the leaks could cost police "the element of surprise" in their bid to prevent future attacks.

Trump attended the meeting with NATO on Thursday, part of his first foreign trip since taking office. He met with EU officials earlier in the day to discuss issues such as climate change and trade.

Eight men have been detained in connection with Monday's attack. Those include Abedi's two brothers, Hashim and Ismail, as well as his father, Ramadan Abedi. A woman was arrested late Wednesday, but was released without charge.

Manchester police said the arrests were "significant" and the investigation continues with searches that will take place for several more days. They added they've uncovered items during the raids and searches across the city that are believed to be important to the investigation.

Twenty-two people were killed when the explosion ripped through the foyer of Manchester Arena as singer Ariana Grande was wrapping up her concert. Another 116 people were wounded, with at least 12 children suffering from significant injuries. Grande's reps announced on Wednesday that the singer will be suspending her tour for at least two weeks.

Manchester police said they believe they have identified all 22 victims killed in the attack, but it will take "several days" to formally announce the names to the public. A few tributes to victims have been posted on the Greater Manchester police's Twitter page.

-- Sarafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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