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Police apologise for "Allahu Akbar" being shouted at fake terror attack

A training exercise at a shopping centre in Manchester last night aimed to put emergency services through their paces.

terror - 2 Sky News Sky News

Updated 1.45pm

POLICE IN MANCHESTER have apologised after a man was shown shouting an Islamic religious phrase during a mock terror attack.

The trial run of a terror attack was taking place in the city’s Trafford Centre and was aimed at giving emergency services a chance to deal with a simulated situation.

To begin the training a man posing as a suicide bomber entered through the front of the shopping centre and shouted “Allahu Akbar”, before detonating an explosion pack around five feet away from where he was standing – something aimed at replicating a suicide bomb attack.

Following footage of the incident being broadcast this morning, commentators took to social media to question why it was necessary for the phrase to be used.

Greater Manchester Police swiftly responded to the incident, saying that the “exercise is based on a suicide attack by an extremist Daesh-style organisation and the scenario writers have centred the circumstances around previous similar attacks of this nature.”

However, on reflection we acknowledge that it was unacceptable to use this religious phrase immediately before the mock suicide bombing, which so vocally linked this exercise with Islam. We recognise and apologise for the offence that this has caused.

Images released earlier of the the exercise show that it was carried out with startling realism.

More than five months planning had gone into the trial run, and local residents were warned beforehand to expect loud noises and emergency service activity in the area.

Around 800 volunteers were involved.

Manchester anti-terror exercise What the inside of the Trafford Centre looks like on a normal day Dave Thompson / PA Wire Dave Thompson / PA Wire / PA Wire

Hundreds of volunteers – covered in blood and screaming for realism – are seen in the footage rushing around the shopping centre in groups to flee from the attacker.

Police terror exercise Sean Hansford / PA Wire Sean Hansford / PA Wire / PA Wire

The only thing signposting that the event wasn’t for real were the red ear-mufflers being worn – used to protect volunteers against the noise of the blank rounds being fired by police.

The exercise got underway at midnight last night and is part of three days of practice for Merseyside Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue and the North West Ambulance Service.

terror - 3 Sky News Sky News

The Trafford Centre is the second largest in the United Kingdom, and will open for business as usual this morning.

Further training exercises will take place today and tomorrow at locations across the north west of England.

First published 08.15am 

Read: Professor interrogated after passenger reports him for doing maths on plane

Also: French TV channel broadcasts gruesome video of apparent Paris café suicide bombing

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