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Attack on Russian Spy: UK Ministers Hold Emergency Meeting

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Attack on Russian Spy: UK Ministers Hold Emergency Meeting

Britain's Home Secretary will lead a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee on Saturday as investigators continue to probe the attempted murder of a former Russian double agent and his daughter using a rare nerve agent.

Some 180 military personnel have been deployed to the normally quiet cathedral city of Salisbury in southern England to help police as they investigate several sites amid concerns over potential contamination.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were still hospitalized in "very serious condition" after being poisoned earlier this week, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said as she visited Salisbury on Friday, according to the BBC and CNN. The BBC has published a profile of Sergei Skripal.

The pair – believed by authorities to have been deliberately targeted – were found slumped on a bench near a shopping center on Sunday afternoon.

Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey, a policeman who also fell ill, is in serious condition, but is "conversing and engaging" with visitors, Rudd said. Authorities said 21 people received medical attention in the aftermath of the incident, but only three people were still being treated Friday.

British Security Minister Ben Wallace said it was "a very serious incident with horrendous outcomes" and the government was prepared to "respond with the full force of the UK's resources."

"Someone has come onto our soil… has recklessly, brazenly, committed what looks like a very nasty crime, with a nerve agent prohibited by most international laws… and has potentially put lots of people at risk," he told the BBC Radio 4's Today program.

Rudd's Cobra meeting will bring together senior Cabinet ministers to hear the latest updates on the situation, Downing Street said.

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