The bombing last week in Manchester, England too the country by surprise. While the bomber was known to security officials, there was no credible intelligence to act on before the attack. Yet the authorities developed a profile of the bomber quickly and have worked hard to take down his network, all thanks to the evidence they gathered at the scene, including photos like these.
The images that emerged of Salman Abedi show him standing casually with his hands in a black jacket. The look on his face is calm. There appears to be no outward sign of what’s about to happen to him or any of those surrounding him.
These images were taken moments before the explosion. In his backpack he is carrying a bomb packed with tricyclic acetone peroxide, nails and bolts. When he ignites it, 22 people around him will dies. Some of those people may appear in this image with him, which would explain why they’ve been blacked out.
Another thing stands out here, which is how well he’s blending in with this crowd. Abedi was raised in England, but has familial ties to Libya and had spent time there recently. It is believed that his religious radicalization was fueled by his trips to the Libya and Syria.
But Abedi in his Hollister jacket and Air Jordans looks like any other fashion conscious teenager.
As for the early warning signs, The Mail is reporting that the FBI alerted MI5 to Abedi and said he was planning a bombing. That intelligence wasn’t specific enough to act on, apparently. Since the bombing, Abedi’s brother has given authorities details about the plot. 13 people have been arrested.
It is also believed that other bomb making materials were located, as bomb squads have been seen working at addresses related to the investigation.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins held a news conference to update reporters on the unfolding investigation. “We are gathering a detailed picture of Abedi as the investigation develops and now need people to tell us if they have any information about his movements from May 18, when he returned to the UK, through to Monday night. The whole team are working round-the-clock. We have around 1,000 people involved in the investigation alone.”
“In the past five days we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy. As a result of the arrests and searches which have taken place, we now have many further lines of inquiry. We have more than 1,500 actions we are pursuing.”