As the casualty numbers continue to increase from last night’s attack on the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, we now have more information about who carried out the deadly attack that left at least 22 people, some of which were young children, dead.
Authorities have named British citizen Salman Abedi as the bomber.
Abedi is a British citizen of Libyan descent. According to a report from the Daily Mail:
Abedi, a 23-year-old British man of Libyan origin, detonated a deadly explosive that ripped through crowds leaving an Ariana Grande concert at 10.30pm.
This morning, ISIS claimed responsibility and threatened further attacks, saying ‘one of the caliphate’s soldiers placed bombs within a gathering of the Crusaders’.
Police are trying to determine whether Abedi acted alone or was part of a wider terror cell.
It comes as dramatic pictures emerged showing anti-terror police swooping to arrest a 23-year-old man in Manchester over last night’s atrocity. Separate pictures show raids at properties in Carlton Street, Whalley Range and a mile away at a redbrick home in Elsmore Road, Fallowfield, where a controlled explosion took place.
Neighbors at one of the addresses claimed they heard Abedi chanting Islamic prayers just weeks before the concert hall atrocity.
Authorities have also announced that the device Abedi used in the bombing, believed to be a ball bearing bomb carried in a backpack, had a level of sophistication that would have required external training and could not have been built by a novice with information available online according to the Daily Mail’s report. If someone else manufactured the device for Abedi, that means the bomb maker could still be out there, plotting another attack.
“We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise. We are working closely with the national counter terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said. “This is clearly a concerning time for people but we are doing all we can working with local and national agencies to support those affected and gather information about what has happened tonight. As you will understand we are still receiving information and updates so will provide more details when we have a clearer picture.”
Hopkins added,” I want to thank people for their support and would ask them to remain vigilant and if they have any concerns report them in confidence to us on the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321. It is important people avoid the area so that we can effectively deal with the incident.”
Abedi was known to authorities prior to the terror attack, but the exact nature of that knowledge has yet to be released.
Earlier today, The Islamic State (aka ISIS/ISIL) took responsibility for the attack in posts made to social media. The group also promised further attacks in the near future. The posts described Abedi as a “soldier of the caliphate.” Twitter posts from an ISIS account seemed to foreshadow the event:
Prime Minister Theresa May said, “It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack – an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.”
“Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns. It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today,” Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said. “These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorize and kill. This was an evil act.”