Manchester stabbing terror investigation: Terror cops raid suspect’s home.
COPS have today raided a flat in Manchester as they widened their investigation into last night’s “frenzied” New Year’s Eve terror attack.
Three people, including a British Transport Police officer, were injured when a 25-year-old man attacked them on a platform at Manchester Victoria Station around 9pm.
Horrified passengers described hearing a “blood curdling scream” and were forced to run down the tracks after seeing a man wielding a 12-inch kitchen knife.
The man was also heard screaming the phrase “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great” – and “long live the Caliphate” – a possible reference to ISIS – during his arrest.
Cops have now confirmed their probe into the vicious attack is being led by counter-terror police and it is being treated “as a terrorism investigation”.
Today police were also pictured raiding a home in Cheetham Hill – a poor, ethnically diverse neighbourhood just north of the city centre – where they believe the suspect lived.
Resident Nousha Babaakachel, 40, said a Somali family live at the address, a mother and father of five, in their 40s, who came to live in the street around 12 years ago from the Netherlands.
She said two of the four sons are at university, one works at Manchester Airport and the youngest is back in Somalia. They also have a daughter.
Both parents attend the local Khiza Mosque.
It comes as the injured police officer and his colleagues were labelled heroes after the suspect was collared in front of terrified bystanders.
At a press briefing this morning Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson described it as a “frenzied attack”.
He said: “We are treating this as a terrorism investigation. This investigation is being led by counter terrorism officers”.
Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, added: “This was an horrific attack on people simply out to enjoy the New Years Eve celebrations in Manchester.
“I know the events of last night will have affected many people and caused concern particularly as this happened so close to the scene of the terrorist attack on 22nd May 2017.
“This makes it an especially dreadful attack for our city.”
The incident occurred close to the Manchester Arena, where terrorist Salman Abedi murdered 22 people in a suicide bomb attack in May 2017.
The female victim was stabbed in the face and left with a “significant injury” to her forehead while her male partner suffered multiple stab wounds to the stomach, cops said.
Both victims, in their 50s, are expected to be in hospital “for some time”.
The BTP officer, in his thirties, was stabbed in the shoulder and hospitalised. He was released early this morning.
Police recovered two knives at the scene but do not yet know if both were used in the attack.
The man’s home address in nearby Cheetham Hill was raided by cops this morning, though they do not yet know if he is a British national.
Witness Sam Clack, a producer at the BBC, said cops used a Taser and pepper spray before “six or seven” officers jumped on the man who ranted about British foreign policy.
The station was last night put on lockdown as counter terror cops carried out an investigation.
Mr Clack, 38, said: “I just heard this most blood curdling scream and looked down the platform. What it looked like was a guy in his 60s with a woman of similar age and another guy all dressed in black.
“It looked like they were having a fight but she was screaming in this blood curdling way. I saw police in high-viz come towards him.
“He came towards me. I looked down and saw he had a kitchen knife with a black handle with a good, 12 inch blade. It was just fear, pure fear.”
Mr Clack, from Newcastle, said he had been out with friends for a New Year’s Eve drink in the city centre and was waiting for the East Didsbury tram home when the attack happened.
He said he heard the knifeman shouting, “Allah” during the attack.