Wednesday 22 November 2017

Pictured: Suicide bomber Salman Abedi who killed 22 people in Manchester terror attack

  • Devastation as families realise loss of loved ones
  • Four victims who died in the attack have been named so far
  • Dozens of people remain missing
  • Three men arrested in south Manchester in connection with attack - police
  • Suicide bomber named as Salman Abedi (22)
  • Isis claim responsibility for the attack
  • Prime Minister raises terror threat to 'critical', meaning an attack is 'expected imminently'
  • Extra police officers have been put on duty in London in the wake of the attack
  • Troops to replace police officers at set-piece events
  • Prime Minister to hold second COBRA meeting today
Salman Abedi (Photo: Sky News)
Salman Abedi (Photo: Sky News)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

This is the face of the British-born suicide bomber who killed at least 22 people and injured dozens of others in Manchester on Monday night.

Salman Abedi perpetrated the worst outrage Britain has seen in a decade just days after returning from Libya, according to reports.

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

The 22-year-old's visit to his family's native country fuelled concerns he was preparing for Monday's deadly assault under the guidance of hardened jihadists.

The Times reported the Manchester-born bomber spent three weeks in the war-torn north African nation before the attack in the Manchester Arena, in which he was killed.

A friend told the paper: "He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago."

Both Islamic State (IS), who claimed responsibility for the atrocity, al Qaida have a presence in Libya.

French interior minister Gerard Collomb has said Abedi is believed to have travelled to Syria and had "proven" links with IS.

The Government raised the terrorism threat level to "critical" - the highest possible rating - on Tuesday amid fears another attack is imminent.

Pictured left to right; Olivia Campbell, John Atkinson, Saffie Rose Roussos, Georgina Bethany Callander
Pictured left to right; Olivia Campbell, John Atkinson, Saffie Rose Roussos, Georgina Bethany Callander

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday night it was possible he had planned his deadly attack with a "wider group of individuals".

Born and raised in Manchester, Abedi grew up in a Muslim household - but matured into a university dropout with an appetite for bloodshed.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has confirmed that Abedi was known to the authorities.

She told Sky News: "We do know that he was known up to a point to the intelligence services".

Read More: 'Stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever': Watch Tony Walsh's defiant tribute at vigil

He was registered as living at Elsmore Road as recently as last year, where police raided a downstairs red-bricked semi-detached property on Tuesday.

A message is left for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack in central Manchester. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A message is left for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack in central Manchester. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

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

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 previously lived with his mother Samia Tabbal, father Ramadan Abedi - who is known as Abu Ismail - and a brother, Ismail Abedi, who was born in Westminster in 1993.

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

A family friend, who asked not to be named, said they were known to the Libyan community in the city and described Abedi as "normal".

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
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

He told the Press Association: "He was always friendly, nothing to suggest (he was violent). He was normal, to be honest."

Abedi is believed to have attended the Manchester Islamic Centre, also known as the Didsbury Mosque.

Here, he reportedly caught the attention of one imam whom he stared down during a sermon denouncing terrorism.

"Salman showed me a face of hate after that sermon," Mohammed Saeed told The Guardian of the 2015 encounter.

"He was showing me hatred."

Another family friend tole The Guardian that the family will be devastated by the killings.

They said: "Abu Ismail will be terribly distraught. He was always very confrontational with jihadi ideology, and this Isis thing isn’t even jihad, it’s criminality. The family will be devastated."

Abu Ismail Abedi is reportedly in Tripoli while Samia, is thought to be in Manchester.

The source continued to say: "Abu Ismail comes and goes between here and there. "

UK Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday called the bombing an act of ‘sickening cowardice’ as it targeted defenceless children. Photo: PA
UK Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday called the bombing an act of ‘sickening cowardice’ as it targeted defenceless children. Photo: PA

I can’t believe [Salman Abedi] would have been radicalised in Tripoli. All those types have been driven out of the city. It must have happened here.

"But what was he doing, murdering all those people. There must have been somebody influencing him. It’s terrible. He was off his head."

Read More: 24 hours after Manchester terror bombing: All we know so far about horror attack that killed at least 22 people

Fawaz Haffar, a businessman and trustee of the mosque, said he "probably" did attend there, given his father used to perform the call to prayer and his brother Ismail attended as a volunteer until recently.

He said: "I see him (the father) 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.

"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."

He said the mosque is moderate, modern and liberal and that he is a member of an organisation liaising with police, the Independent Advisory Group.

Read More: 'My darling precious girl': Mum's devastation as missing Olivia Campbell (15) named as fourth person killed in Manchester terror bombing

Abedi studied business and management 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.

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."

What we know so far:

  • Suicide bomber Abedi (22) was born in Britain to Libyan parents and is understood to have recently returned from a visit to the African country.
  • Another man (23) was arrested yesterday in connection with the attack and Prime Minister Theresa May has said that we cannot rule out the possibility that Abedi was part of a wider network of Isil-inspired terrorists
  • Three men have been arrested in south Manchester in connection with the concert bomb attack, Greater Manchester Police said on Wednesday morning.
  • For the first time in 10 years, the prime minister raised the terror threat to the highest possible level, from severe to critical, meaning an attack is "expected imminently".
  • Up to 5,000 soldiers will be deployed on the streets amid fears that the Manchester suicide bomber had accomplices preparing further attacks.
  • Extra police officers have been put on duty in London in the wake of the attack, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced.
  • Mrs May also announced that troops would replace police officers at set-piece events including sports venues and concerts.
  • The military will be providing armed guards for key locations across London including Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Palace of Westminster and embassies, Scotland Yard said.
  • ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying: "With Allah's grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah [caliphate] managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the crusaders in the British city of Manchester."
  • Four victims who died in the attack have been named so far - Georgina Bethany Callander (18), Saffie Rose Roussos (8), Olivia Campbell (15) and John Atkinson (26)
  • The injured - including 12 people under the age of 16 - were being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.
  • A vigil was held on Tuesday evening in Albert Square, Manchester.
  • All national General Election campaigning has been suspended after the explosion.
  •  Manchester Arena is the largest indoor arena in Europe and can hold 21,000 people.
  •  It is unclear where exactly the blast occurred, but initial reports indicated it happened either just outside the Manchester Arena or near a foyer.
  • A "controlled explosion" was carried out by police at the Cathedral Gardens area near Manchester Arena shortly after 1.30am.
  • The Prime Minister condemned what was being treated as an "appalling terrorist attack" and said she would chair a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee on Tuesday.
  • Police said the suspicious item at the centre of the controlled explosion was just abandoned clothing.
  • Grande, 23, later said on Twitter: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."
  • Police are appealing for people to share their footage and images of the incident or the aftermath of the incident to a closed portal online, where they can begin an analysis for their investigation.
  • France's president Emmanuel Macron is seeking to extend the country's state of emergency, imposed after Islamic State attacks, until November, the Elysee Palace announced.

Read More: British troops on streets to foil new attack

Additional reporting: PA

Press Association

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