Monday 24 July 2017

'It's likely this wasn't just a lone wolf' - Security expert says attack is a 'sinister' development

Fans leave the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England after a suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device that killed 22 people (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Fans leave the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England after a suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device that killed 22 people (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The person who carried out the horrific terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena would have required "some instructions" and was likely not just a lone wolf, according to security expert Tom Clonan.

Mr Clonan said, based on his professional opinion, the type of bomb used in the attack would have needed some professional instruction to make.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Clonan said the destruction caused by the bomb was similar to the terrorist attacks in the Bataclan Theatre in Paris and in the London tube bombings in 2005.

Great Manchester Police have confirmed that 22 people are dead and more than 50 injured after the attack at the Ariana Grande concert.

"What we are hearing from eye witness accounts is what’s most likely to be a peroxide bomb. There was a very large air blast. We heard it in some of the footage, the shattering glass

"This type of bomb is consistent with limb separation and we have heard people describing body parts in the foyer. I think at this point the clues seem to indicate this type of peroxide bomb is similar to the type of device that was used in the 7/7 bombs, and also, the type used in the Bataclan attack where eight of the attackers were wearing these suicide devices."

Emergency services at Manchester Arena after the explosion. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Emergency services at Manchester Arena after the explosion. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Mr Clonan is of the opinion that the type of explosive used could not have been made from following instructions on the internet, even though most of the ingredients are "readily available".

"I would be very worried about this attack as unlike the previous lone wolf attacks where you take a car and drive it up the street, peroxide bombs, even though the ingredients are readily available, they are highly unstable. They can detonate at any time and most people who make them are blown up in the process.

"Based on my own professional opinion, the person involved will have required some instruction. I don’t think it would be sufficient to look at it on the internet and go make it yourself."

He described the development as "extremely sinister".

When asked about the likelihood of an attack in Ireland, Mr Clonan said Ireland is not prepared for such an attack, referring to Ireland as "Europe's weakest link in terms of counter-terrorism awareness, preparedness and training."

Among the 22 dead are a number of children, who had been in attendance at the Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena.

Parents are still pleading on social media for help locating their children, and a number of people are still reported as missing.

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