In Brief

Manchester Arena attack: Salman Abedi 'assembled deadly bomb alone'

CCTV footage shows bomber buying nuts and bolts to use as shrapnel in assault at Ariana Grande concert

Manchester Arena attacker Salman Abedi was the sole person behind the assembly of a bomb that killed 22 people and left more than 200 injured at an Ariana Grande concert, police say.   

"Our enquiries show that the assembly of the device is likely to have been by Abedi himself," said Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson of Greater Manchester Police.

Officers have an "almost [an] hour-by-hour" timeline of the bomber's movements in the weeks leading up to the attack, including his purchase of a white Nissan Micra to store the bomb parts, the officer added.

What is less clear, continued Jackson, is "whether he acted alone in obtaining the materials for the device before he left the country [for Libya] on 15 April, and whether others knew or were complicit in the storage of materials knowing what was being planned".

Jackson also confirmed that all 22 people arrested in connection with the attack had been released without charge, with some of those arrested offering "[satisfying] accounts which explain innocent contact with Abedi".

Despite this, Greater Manchester Police confirmed that "evidence of explosive material" was found during their search of 29 premises linked to the bomber. Whether that can be traced to others will form part of their ongoing inquiry,  although the Daily Telegraph reports police found "suspicious purchases" made by some individuals.

Officers have also released new CCTV footage of Abedi in the days prior the attack. The photographs demonstrate he was "packed for carnage", says The Sun a reference to the bags of bomb supplies he is seen carrying. They also show him in a DIY store purchasing nuts and bolts to use as shrapnel, along with a blue storage barrel.

According to the BBC, the focus of the investigation is now on the location of a blue suitcase Abedi was seen using. It is believed to contain materials discarded after he assembled the bomb and police are combing through a landfill site in Bury in an attempt to find it.

Counter-terrorism officers are also keen to speak with Abedi's younger brother, Hashem, who is being detained in Libya. According to The Telegraph, he told authorities in the country he had been aware of his brother's intentions.

Manchester attack: Police release new images of Salman Abedi

2 June 

Police have released a new set of images of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi as they call upon the public to help piece together his final movements.

The new photos are from CCTV footage taken between 18 May, when the 22-year-old arrived back in the UK after a month in Libya, and 22 May, when he carried out the deadly attack.

One image captures Abedi at the airport after returning to the UK, while others show him walking in the streets of Manchester.

In two of the pictures, Abedi is dragging the blue suitcase which detectives have previously identified as a potentially crucial piece of evidence.

In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said that "significant progress" had been made in the investigation.

Tip-offs from the public have led detectives to the Rusholme area of south Manchester, where police yesterday raided an address with a bomb disposal unit on hand.

But Jackson says police are still unclear about why Abedi was in Rusholme and what he did there. They want to hear from members of the public who saw Abedi in the area or have information about his activities.

"It is vital we understand exactly where he went there and who he spoke to in these final days before the attack," Jackson said.

Abedi is thought to have purchased parts for the device and assembled it alone, but Jackson says the Rusholme connection could point to a wider network of accomplices.

"There remain a number of things that concern us about his behaviour prior to the attack and those of his associates, which we need to get to the bottom of," he told The Times earlier this week.

Ten men remain in custody after being arrested in connection with the attack.

Five men and one woman have been released without charge, including Abedi's cousins Abz and Isaac Forjani.

Isaac told ITV News that he "couldn't stop crying" when detectives questioned him about Abedi. He said he had not seen him for over a year prior to last week's atrocity.

"I don't understand where that ideology comes from," Isaac said. "I don't understand what made him do what he did."

Twenty-two people, including several children, were killed and dozens injured when Abedi blew himself up in the crowded lobby of the Manchester Arena moments after US pop singer Ariana Grande finished her performance.

The youngest victim, Saffie Roussos, was eight years old. Teenage pop fans and parents accompanying their children were also among the dead.

Manchester attack: Ariana Grande to return to city for benefit concert

31 May 

Pop singer Ariana Grande, whose concert was targeted in last week's Manchester Arena suicide bombing, will return to the city for a benefit concert this Sunday, it has been announced.

The American singer will headline the One Love Manchester concert, which will raise money for the victims of the terror attack that left 22 dead and dozens injured.

An all-star line-up will join her including Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus.

Take That, Usher and Pharrell Williams are also rumoured to be taking part.

Police said Grande was keen to return to Manchester "sooner rather than later".

The singer is offering free tickets to fans who were at her Manchester Arena gig on the night of the attack.

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins told BBC Manchester that he had consulted the families of the victims about the concert.

"It's fair to say that the majority of them are very much in favour, there are some that clearly aren't and that is absolutely understandable," he said.

The concert, which is due to go ahead on Sunday at the 50,000-capacity Old Trafford Cricket Ground, will be broadcast on the BBC.

Proceeds will go to the We Love Manchester emergency fund set up by the city council in conjunction with the British Red Cross. The fund has already raised £6 million.

In an open letter to fans, Grande said: "My heart, prayers and condolences are with the victims of the Manchester attack and their loved ones. There is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better. However, I extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours, should you want or need my help in any way.

"We will not quit or operate in fear. We won't let this divide us. We won't let hate win … Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before."

Mike Adamson, the chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: "This event is an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate things that unite us – music, humanity and the will to do something to help others."

Fifty people injured in the attack are still being treated in hospital while 17 are still in critical care.

Detectives now believe that suicide attacker Salman Abedi mostly acted alone in the days prior to the attack. He is thought to have been alone when he bought the components used to make the bomb.

Three men arrested over the attack were released yesterday without charge while 11 are still in custody.

Tickets for this Sunday yesterday's Ariane Grande benefit concert in Manchester are being sold on Ticketmaster and go on sale at 10am on Thursday.

Manchester attack: Libyan trainee pilot arrested as anti-terrorism raids spread south

30 May

A 23-year-old trainee pilot has been arrested in Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex as part of the ongoing investigation into the terror network behind the Manchester Arena bombing last week.

The Guardian and other media outlets have named the suspect as Ala Zakry, who runs an online Libyan marketplace and is training to be a pilot at Shoreham Airfield.

Zakry was arrested during a dawn raid on a house in the upmarket seaside town, 265 miles from the site of the attack by British-born Salman Abedi that killed 22 people.

He is being held on suspicion of terror offences, the Daily Telegraph, reports.

Monday's arrest brings the total of people in police custody to 14 as the wave of raids across the UK continues.

A further police search was conducted in the Rusholme area of Manchester, where police say Abedi had been before the bombing.

Detectives have also released new images of Abedi carrying a blue suitcase in the days before the attack.

They have appealed to members of the public to come forward if they recognise the suitcase but added there was no reason to believe the case and its contents were dangerous.

MI5 has launched two emergency inquiries into how intelligence about Abedi's potential links to terrorism was treated, amid claims that he had been reported to authorities on at least three occasions.

The Guardian adds that teachers and religious figures in Manchester had expressed concern to the police regarding Abedi's extremist views.

Abedi was understood to have been on a list of 20,000 individuals considered to be "subjects of interest" to security services, but not under active investigation

Manchester attack: Further arrests and second bomb fears

26 May

Police have arrested a tenth suspect in the Moss Side area of Manchester as they continue the investigation into the terror network believed to be responsible for Monday's bombing.

The man, who was detained on Friday morning, is one of eight aged between 18 and 38 currently in custody on suspicion of terror offences, police say. Ismail Abedi, the older brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, is believed to be among them.

Police released a 16-year-old boy and a 34-year-old woman without charge.

A second property in Moss Side was also searched, Greater Manchester Police announced, while a take-away and a barbershop were also understood to have been searched in the early morning raids.

A search of Abedi's home in Manchester reportedly uncovered a large stash of explosives, the Daily Mail says, and security service officers fear more than one bomb may have been constructed and then passed them on to other extremists in the UK.

The quantity of materials discovered in the flat led to the Daily Telegraph describing it as "a working bomb factory".

Security minister Ben Wallace told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that police were confident of finding the terrorist network responsible for Monday's bombing.

"The police are confident that they are in a position to have a good coverage of what’s happened and of rolling it up," he said.

"I can’t say any more about that, that would threaten ongoing operations. It is still very live, it is still very hot. That’s why we have critical as our security state."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd says the terrorist threat level will remain at critical over the weekend and that troops will be stationed at major events.

She added that 66 people remain in hospital after the attack, in which 22 people died.

National general election campaigning has also resumed.

Police raids uncover 'at least one bomb'

25 May

Two more men have been arrested in connection with Monday night's suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, bringing the total number of arrests to eight.

The pair were taken into custody on Thursday morning, joining six others, including bomber Salman Abedi's older brother, Ismail.

Abedi's father, Ramadan, and 20-year-old brother Hashem have also been arrested in Tripoli by a government militia.

Libyan officials said they had been monitoring Hashem for six weeks, and that, on being arrested after the attack, he had confessed he knew what his brother was plotting to do, Newsweek reports.

Police are continuing to unpick the trail which led to the deadly attack, investigating leads both in the UK and in Libya, where Abedi is believed to have travelled on multiple occasions in recent years.

He is known to have visited the north African nation recently, although there are conflicting reports of when and for how long he was in Libya, and where he went afterwards.

German authorities have confirmed that Abedi flew into Dusseldorf four days before the arena attack, The Guardian reports. Abedi might have simply changed planes there, but the detail opens a new avenue of investigation for potential contacts in the city, where police last year thwarted an Islamist plot to carry out Paris-style mass shootings.

Counter-terror raids in south Manchester have uncovered at least one explosive device and detectives believe there is a "real possibility" of finding more, suggesting the existence of a wider terror network in the city, The Independent reports.

Bomb experts have already concluded that the nail bomb used in Monday night's attack was too sophisticated to have been built by Abedi, who is believed to have been acting as a "mule".

A police source told the Manchester Evening News that terror cells "don't waste bomb makers".

"The reason we have gone to critical [threat level] is because he is still out there and the fear is that he will strike again before they get caught," the source said.

Greater Manchester Police has temporarily suspended intelligence sharing with their US counterparts, after confidential details of the case appeared in the US media, for fear that further leaks could compromise their search for the bomb-maker.

Reuters reports that Theresa May is to raise the issue with US President Donald Trump when she meets him at a Nato summit in Brussels today.

All but three of the 22 victims have now been named, eight of them children or teenagers.

Manchester attack: Three more arrests as troops appear on streets

24 May

Three men were arrested today as investigations continue into the Manchester attack to determine whether suicide bomber Salman Abedi was part of a terror network.

The men were held following a series of raids across the city.

Abedi, 22, killed 22 people and injured 64 on Monday when he blew himself up in the foyer of Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande.

His 23-year-old brother, believed to be named Ismail, was arrested on Tuesday.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it seemed "likely" Abedi was not acting alone.

She also said he had been known to security services but refused to comment on claims from her French counterpart Gerard Collomb that Abedi had proven links with Islamic State and had gone to Syria.

Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attack, but the claim has not been verified.

It has emerged that Abedi, who was born in Manchester, had returned from Libya, where his family is from, just days before the attack.

He is understood to have made regular journeys there in recent years.

Britain was placed on lockdown as Theresa May raised the terror threat to "critical" and for the first time activated Operation Temperer, which sees armed forces deployed around key sites to support police.

About 984 troops will be stationed on the country's streets, including standing guard at No 10, parliament and Buckingham Palace.

More than half of the 22 victims have now been named.  They are: Nell Jones, 14; Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 52; Martyn Hett, 29; Angelika, 40 and Marcin Klis, 42; Alison Howe, 45; Lisa Lees, 47; Georgina Callander, 18; Saffie Rose Roussos, eight; John Atkinson, 28; Kelly Brewster, 32; and Olivia Campbell, 15.

Police said they had identified all of the victims and would be formally identifying them once post-mortems have taken place.

Twenty of the injured remain in a critical condition.

 

UK terror threat level raised to critical

23 May

Britain may be targeted by another terrorist attack after last night's suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena, which killed 22 people, the Prime Minister wanred.

Speaking from Downing Street this evening, Theresa May said they had raised the UK terror threat level from "severe" to "critical" after police were unable to determine whether the Manchester bomber acted alone. The decision means security officers at the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre believe further attacks may be imminent.

Soldiers will now guard the Houses of Parliament and other key buildings around the country, including concert halls and sports matches, freeing armed police to mount more street patrols. May said all military personnel deployed on the streets would remain under the command of police officers.

Earlier today, the Manchester bomber was named as Salman Abedi, the British-born son of two Libyan refugees.

"He had become radicalised recently - it is not entirely clear when," says the Daily Telegraph, "and had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fund-raising for jihadists".

May will chair another meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to reassess the security situation at 9.30am tomorrow. "The last two occasions the threat level was raised to 'critical' the alert lasted no more than a few days," says The Guardian's home affairs editor Alan Travis.

Manchester terror attack: What we know so far

23 May

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena last night in which 22 people were killed and at least 59 were wounded. The man was arrested in the south of the city.

A lone male attacker set off a bomb in the foyer of the venue as it filled with concert-goers at the end of a concert by pop singer Ariana Grande. He is believed to have detonated an improvised explosive device.

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said it was the "most horrific incident" the force had faced.

Police have also said they know the identity of the attacker, who died at the scene, but have not released further details. 

An investigation is underway to determine whether he was acting alone or was part of a network.

Islamic State has claimed on one of its social media channels that it was behind the attack, but it is unverified whether the terrorist group was involved. The group often claims responsibility in the wake of attacks.

Witnesses described hearing a big explosion and seeing nuts and bolts strewn on the floor.

"People were just lying on the floor, people with massive, massive injuries," one said. "It was utter chaos."

The first victim was named as 18-year-old college student Georgina Callander from Lancashire.

Runshaw College in Leyland made the announcement with "great sadness", saying: "Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Georgina's family, friends, and all of those affected by this loss.

"We are offering all available support possible at this tragic time, including counselling with our dedicated student support team."

An eight-year-old girl named Saffie Rose Roussos was also named as a victim. The headteacher at her primary school said: "Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly."

A 26-year-old man from Bury was also named among the victims. Friends of John Atkinson from Radcliffe called him a "beautiful soul". 

At least 12 of the 59 patients taken to hospital were children, officials said. Given Grande's fan base, it is expected that many of those injured will be young people.

Around 21,000 people were thought to be inside the venue at the sold-out gig.

Family and friends of missing concertgoers have been appealing for information on social media.

General election campaigning has been suspended and Theresa May earlier chaired a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee.

Speaking outside Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the "callous terrorist attack" was one of the worst ever in British history.

"All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks against innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent and defenceless young people," she said.

The director general of MI5 Andrew Parker called the attack "disgusting" and said the security service remains "relentlessly focused in numerous current operations on doing all we can to combat the scourge of terrorism and keep the country safe".

Grande, 23, who was not injured in the blast, has suspended her world tour and released a brief statement expressing her shock.

Tributes have also poured in from across the world and the music industry.

A statement from the Queen read: "The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.

"I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured."

Anyone with images or footage that could help the police investigation should upload them to ukpoliceimageappear.co.uk.

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