Sunday 24 September 2017

What we know about Salman Abedi, the man named as Manchester suicide bomber

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A "We Love Manchester" sign on the Mancunian Way in Manchester, as the suicide bomber who brought carnage to the Manchester Arena has been named as Salman Abedi Credit: Andy Hampson/PA Wire

Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old named as the suicide bomber behind Monday's terror attack on Manchester Arena, was born in the city and is believed to be of Libyan descent.

Abedi was registered as living at Elsmore Road in the city as recently as last year - where police raided a downstairs red-bricked semi-detached property on Tuesday as they hunted those thought to be behind the blast.

Neighbours recalled an abrasive, tall, skinny young man who was little known in the neighbourhood, and often seen in traditional Islamic clothing.

It was unclear whether he lived alone at the address, where a flag - possibly Palestinian - was occasionally seen flying from an upstairs window.

Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins delivers a statement outside the Greater Manchester Police headquarters, as the suicide bomber who brought carnage to the Manchester Arena has been named as Salman Abedi Credit: Andy Hampson/PA Wire
Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins delivers a statement outside the Greater Manchester Police headquarters, as the suicide bomber who brought carnage to the Manchester Arena has been named as Salman Abedi Credit: Andy Hampson/PA Wire

Neighbours said the young man had many visitors, one man dropping by regularly to pick him up in a Toyota Yaris.

Abedi is thought to have been of Libyan origin and born in Manchester.

He is thought to have lived at a number of addresses in the area, including one in Wilbraham Road, where plain clothes police made an arrest on Tuesday.

Abedi is registered as having lived with his mother Samia Tabbal, father Ramadan Abedi and a brother, Ismail Abedi, who was born in Westminster in 1993.

An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena after the explosion.
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
A tweet from U.S. singer Ariana Grande is seen as she makes her first comment since a bombing at her concert in Manchester
Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA
A police officer escorts people near the Manchester Arena
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast
Police corden off an area close to the Box Office entrance to the Manchester Arena. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Emergency services at the scene. Photo: PA
A police officer talks to locals outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Armed police officers stand outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
An armoured police Land Rover drives away from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Still image taken from video shows a street scene near Manchester Arena after the blast
Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena

He is thought to have a younger brother, named as Hashim Abedi, and a sister Jomana, whose Facebook profile suggests she is from Tripoli and lives in Manchester.

A childhood friend of Ismail, who asked not to be named, described Salman as "normal" and said his family were known to the Libyan community in the city.

He told the Press Association: "Ismail's brother was kind of like a normal guy. I've never chilled with his brother. I know his name is Salman and I say 'hi' to him and talk to him.

Read more: Desperate loved ones searching for 14 missing mums, dads and kids last seen at Manchester Arena

"He was always friendly, nothing to suggest (he was violent). He was normal, to be honest."

According to the man, Ismail teaches Arabic classes at a mosque in the area, which his father was also said to visit.

Abedi was a student at Salford University.

Dr Sam Grogan, the university's Pro-Vice Chancellor Student Experience, said: "All at the University of Salford are shocked and saddened by the events of last night. Our thoughts are with all those involved, their families and their friends.

"We have provided, and continue to provide, support to all students and staff who have been affected."

He also said that in an "unrelated incident" there was an evacuation of three buildings at the university "as a precautionary measure for a short period of time earlier this evening".

Salman Abedi "probably" attended the Manchester Islamic Centre, also known as the Didsbury Mosque, officials at the mosque said.

Fawaz Haffar, a businessman and trustee of the mosque, said he did not know the bomber or recall seeing him at the mosque.

But he said he "probably" did attend there, given his father used to perform the azan, the call for prayer before 1,000 of the faithful, and his brother attended as a volunteer at the mosque until recently.

Mr Haffar stressed the mosque was what he called a moderate, modern, liberal mosque, and he is a member of an organisation liaising with police, the Independent Advisory Group.

Besieged by reporters at the mosque, Mr Haffar said it was likely Salman Abedi had attended the mosque.

He said: "He probably did, I have never seen him, I don't know him, as a trustee I can only say what I have seen. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not.

"I came earlier to ask any of the employees whether they knew him, people said they don't know him. There are many mosques, he may be attending another mosque. I honestly do not know.

"We make sure they preach the true Islam, the modern Islam, that preaches love to each other, peace and harmony."

Mr Haffar said Abedi had two brothers and did recall his father attending.

He said: "I see him praying but I don't know really who he is. I see him sometimes raising the azan, or call to prayer, but that was a long time ago.

"As far as I knew he went back to Libya when things were much better over there, to work over there.

"That's all I know about him. He was devout as far as I know. He had three sons, one of them is detained, one of them is a suspect and the third one I have no idea who he is."

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He said Salman Abedi's brother, Ismail, attended the mosque as a volunteer.

He added: "One of the gentleman who is detained, he came here and did some voluntary work. I personally do not know him. That is the brother, Ismail.

"That is what I heard, he used to do some voluntary work, unpaid.

"I think over the last few months. As far as I know he used to do some volunteering.

"He may have been helping here. I did ask one of the gentlemen here who said he does sometimes volunteer. I believe it is until recently."

Mr Haffar said the mosque employs three imams, two Libyan and a Syrian, who all give sermons.

"I would say the reason for that is most of the sermons are in Arabic and many of them like to listen to the prayers in Arabic anyway. Yes we have many Libyan brothers and sisters here.

"I myself I'm a member of the advisory body the police set up quite some time ago, it's called the Independent Advisory Group, the IAG, and I do attend meetings and if there's any issues, we would say.

"We did not want to end up with a radical mosque like what has happened in other parts of the UK.

"So we are very very careful, we are very careful about who we employ and the imams we employ because we are always scared of radicalism."

Abedi studied on a business and management course at Salford University two or three years ago, a source said, but dropped out of the course and did not complete his degree.

The source said Abedi began his course in 2014 and attended lectures for two years but then stopped going.

He would have graduated this summer.

He did not live in university accommodation, had not been in any trouble at the university and was not on any radar for pastoral or social care.

It is understood Abedi was not known to have participated in any clubs or societies during his time in higher education - and never met with the resident imam.

Press Association

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