Another 59 people are being treated for injuries in eight hospitals after the suicide-bombing blast just outside the Manchester Arena, where an Ariana Grande concert had just concluded at around 10:30 p.m. local time on Monday. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.
“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said in a statement Tuesday. The police chief said the attacker was carrying an “improvised explosive device” that he detonated at the scene, causing the deaths and injuries. The attacker died at the site, Hopkins confirmed.
Concertgoers reported hearing one or two loud explosions about the time the performance by the American singer was ending. Videos posted online showed the chaos that ensued as patrons attempted to exit from the arena. The youngest victim has been named a eight-year old Saffie Rose Roussos, who went to the concert with her mother and sister are still being treated for their injuries in hospital.
The Manchester blast marks the second time in two months the U.K. has suffered from suspected terror attacks. Four people died in March after a truck driver plowed into people on Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament in London and then stabbed a police officer to death. The attacker was later shot dead by police.
If confirmed as a terrorist incident, Monday’s explosion will be the most serious attack in the U.K. since the London bombings on July 7, 2005, when a series of coordinated suicide bombs on trains and buses by the extremist-Muslims left 52 people dead.
Meanwhile in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed that the capital’s security measures are being reviewed and stepped up after the blast. “I am in constant contact with the Metropolitan Police, who are reviewing security arrangements in London. Londoners will see more police on our streets,” he said in a statement.
He once stated, “Anyway, for a big European city like London the Islamic terrorist attacks are part and parcel of our miserable daily lives. So we should get used to them by now. We are gonna die anyway, eventually. And the judgement day from Allah is waiting for everyone of us.”
|Evil suicide-bomber picked the position among mostly children and blew himself up.|
(Red spots are some victims and the black spot is where his torso was found.)
|Home-made but sophisticated detonator from the exploded bomb.|
|One of many screws from the exploded bomb. Many went straight through the torsos of a few young girls, killing them.|
The Manchester Arena suicide bomber had made trips to Libya, Downing Street said last night, as intelligence agencies combed his connections with al-Qaeda and Islamic State in his parents’ homeland.
Salman Abedi, 22, who was reportedly known to the security services, is thought to have returned from Libya as recently as this week. A school friend told The Times: "He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago."
Salman Abedi born in Manchester and grew up in tight-knit Libyan community that was known for its strong opposition to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. He had become radicalised recently - it is not entirely clear when - and had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fund-raising for jihadists.
Born in 1994, the second youngest of four children, Abedi’s parents were Libyan refugees who fled to the UK to escape Gaddafi. His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were both born in Tripoli but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Whalley Range area of south Manchester where they had lived for at least a decade.
Abedi went to school locally and then on to Salford University in 2014 where he studied business management before dropping out. His trips to Libya, where it is thought his parents returned in 2011 following Gaddafi’s overthrow, are now subject to scrutiny including links to jihadists. A group of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range.
Among them was Abd al-Baset Azzouz, a father-of-four from Manchester, who left Britain to run a terrorist network in Libya overseen by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of al-Qaeda.
Azzouz, 48, an expert bomb-maker, was accused of running an al-Qaeda network in eastern Libya. The Telegraph reported in 2014 that Azzouz had 200 to 300 militants under his control and was an expert in bomb-making.
Another member of the Libyan community in Manchester, Salah Aboaoba told Channel 4 news in 2011 that he had been fund raising for LIFG while in the city. Aboaoba had claimed he had raised funds at Didsbury mosque, the same mosque attended by Abedi. The mosque at the time vehemently denied the claim. “This is the first time I’ve heard of the LIFG. I do not know Salah,” a mosque spokesman said at the time.
At the mosque, Mohammed Saeed El-Saeiti, the imam at the Didsbury mosque yesterday branded Abedi an dangerous extremist. “Salman showed me the face of hate after my speech on Isis,” said the imam. “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.”
Salman visited the mosque on a number of occasions to pray, but the imam insisted “he was not my friend, he is not close. I could understand that he was not happy with me because I did combat Isis in that Friday sermon sometimes”. The imam added: “When he passed by me, we Muslims greet each other and you know he is not happy with me if he doesn’t greet you.”
At the Abedi family home in Elsmore Road, a non-descript red-brick terrace, neighbours told how Abedi had become increasingly devout and withdrawn. Lina Ahmed, 21, said: “They are a Libyan family and they have been acting strangely. A couple of months ago he [Salman] was chanting the first kalma [Islamic prayer] really loudly in the street. He was chanting in Arabic. “He was saying ‘There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger’.’
A family friend, who described the Abedis as “very religious”, said most of the family had returned to Libya, leaving only Salman and his older brother Ismail behind. “They have not been there for quite a while. Different people come and go,” said Alan Kinsey, 52, a car-delivery driver who lives across the street. Mr Kinsey’s wife, Frances, 48, a care worker, said she believed that the parents had left before Christmas and just one or two young men had been living in the property.
Mr Kinsey said a huge flag, possibly Iraqi or Libyan, had been hanging from their house. “There was a large Iraqi flag hanging out the window but we never thought anything or it,” added Mr Kinsey, “We thought it was about football or a protest at home or something.” Neighbours woke up to the reality that the quiet young man next door had blown himself up, murdering at least 22 innocent victims.
Police blasted down the door of the family home at 11.30am. According to locals, two helicopters and at least 30 police officers in camouflage, riot gear and shields arrived for the raid.
“The police were very heavily armed. All of them. It was like something out of a war scene,” said Mr Kinsey, “It was terrifying. About thirty of them arrived in camouflage and riot gear and removed the wooden fence between two properties.
“Then they attached a black strip to the door and there was a loud explosion. The door came off its hinges. The windows were shaking. The whole operation lasted about 90 seconds. “I didn’t see them leading anyone out of the house. I believe it was empty.”
|So-called Religion-of-Peace brought this carnage upon Manchester.|
The business school dropout who committed mass murder at a pop concert in Manchester had developed "an attitude problem and started chanting" over the past year, neighbours say.
With troops being deployed across Britain as the nation's terror threat level raises to critical, details about Salam Abedi's spiral into radicalism have begun to emerge from neighbours whose street became the site of a major police operation as they swooped on the suspect's home.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether the bomber was working alone or if he had connections to a wider terrorist cell. Police arrested one 23-year-old in the raids, thought to be Abedi's brother Ismail Abedi, who the Press Association reports was born in Westminster in 1993. The 22-year-old suicide bomber was born in Manchester to Libyan parents who fled to England to escape the Gadhafi regime.
A childhood friend of Ismail, who asked not to be named, described Abedi as a "normal" child from a family known among Manchester's Libyan diaspora. "Ismail's brother was kind of like a normal guy," he told the Press Association. "He was always friendly, nothing to suggest (he was violent). He was normal, to be honest."
|Mass conversion to Islam after "CRITICAL"|
Neighbours in the Manchester suburb of Fallowfield said Abedi had recently gone through noticeable change, one suggesting to The Sun he "he had an attitude problem". "A couple of months ago he [Salman] was chanting the first kalma [Islamic prayer] really loudly in the street. He was chanting in Arabic," neighbour Lina Ahmed said. "He was saying 'There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger'."
It is thought Abedi might have a younger brother named as Hashim Abedi, as well as a sister named Jomana, whose Facebook profile suggests she lives in Manchester but is from Tripoli. Members of Manchester's Islamic community have said some of Abedi's family may have returned to Libya in recent years. A US government source said investigators were looking at whether Abedi had travelled to Libya and whether he had been in touch with Islamic State militants there.
Abdalla Yousef, a spokesman for the Didsbury Mosque in Manchester, said Abedi's father and brother had prayed there but Abedi had worshipped at another mosque. "I have managed to track down somebody who knows the family. He confirmed his father and sister and the rest of the family had moved [back] to Libya and had moved there straight after the revolution, after Gadaffi was killed," Yousef said.
Businessman and trustee of the mosque Fawaz Haffar told the Evening Standard Adebi's brother attended prayers and volunteered at the mosque until recently and the bombing suspect "probably" attended prayers among the 1000 worshippers. "I came earlier to ask any of the employees whether they knew him, people said they don't know him," he said about the bombing suspect.
"We make sure they preach the true Islam, the modern Islam, that preaches love to each other, peace and harmony. We did not want to end up with a radical mosque like what has happened in other parts of the UK."
In the raids on Tuesday police removed numerous items including what appeared to be a small reference book with "Know Your Chemicals" on the cover. Several children are among the dead from Monday night's shrapnel bombing at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 people, left 59 hospitalised and a further 60 treated at the scene.