UK

Police: Manchester Bomber ‘Clearly’ Acted As Part Of A Network

A college dropout who was known to the authorities, Salman Abedi is believed to have recently traveled to Libya and Syria

UK
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May 24, 2017 at 6:24 AM ET

Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old who detonated explosives at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people, including several teenagers and children, was acting on the part of an organized terrorist group, Manchester authorities said.

The statement confirmed an earlier assessment by British Home Secretary Amber Rudd that the attack was “more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before, and it seems likely, possible, that he wasn’t doing this on his own.”

Abedi, who was reportedly known to security services, is the son of Libyan refugees who fled Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya. It is believed that his parents returned to the country following the overthrow of the regime in 2011.

Speaking to the Associated Press from Tripoli, Abedi’s father Ramadan said that he spoke with his son five days ago, as he was preparing to visit Saudi Arabia, and that he sounded “normal.”

“We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us,” he said, adding that Salman Abedi visited Libya more than a month ago.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that Abedi was born and raised in Britain. He attended Salford University in 2014 as a business management major before he dropped out and got a job at a bakery.

He grew up in a Manchester neighborhood known for its opposition to Gaddafi and had attended a mosque that has been accused of fundraising for jihadi groups, the Telegraph reported.

“Salman showed me the face of hate after my speech on ISIS,” said Mohammed Saeed El-Saeiti, the imam at the Didsbury mosque, where Abedi’s father once performed the call to prayer. “He used to show me the face of hate and I could tell this person does not like me. It’s not a surprise to me.”

Police confirmed on Wednesday that Abedi was killed at the site of the explosion. The British authorities say they can not yet confirm any links between Abedi and ISIS, which claimed the attack in an official message on Tuesday. Gerard Collomb, France’s interior minister, said that Abedi was thought to have traveled to Syria and had “proven” links with ISIS.

Police have carried out two raids in Manchester and say that they have detained four people whose identities remain concealed. Ramadan Abedi, the suspect’s father, told the AP that his other son Ismail was among those arrested.

For the first time in a decade, the UK raised its terrorism threat level to “critical” and said that another terror attack may be “imminent.” The military was deployed to Buckingham Palace and Westminster, as well as across high-risk locations across the country, in order to free up police officers who may be needed to protect civilians in the case of another attack.