News and Commentary

Here’s Everything We Know About The Manchester Terrorist

Read more updates on Salman Abedi here.

Authorities have identified the suicide bomber who blew himself up Monday night at an entrance of Manchester Arena as attendees of the Ariana Grande concert were exiting.

The man responsible for at least 22 dead and 59 wounded, among whom are several children, has been identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. Here is what we know so far about the suspect and the attack.

He was born in Manchester to Libyan refugees.

Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 to parents who fled from Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. The Telegraph reports:

Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.

His parents were both born in Libya but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least ten years.

They had three sons in total and a daughter, who is now 18-years-old.

The Telegraph notes that “unconfirmed reports” in the city claim that Abedi’s entire family, except for himself and his older brother, recently returned to their homeland Libya.​

Abedi was known to authorities prior to the attack.

CBS News reported Tuesday that it had confirmed that he “was known to British authorities prior to the attack.”

Radicalism has recently been a problem in the area in which Abedi was raised, Whalley Range. The Telegraph notes that he grew up “just yards from the local girl’s high school, which hit the headlines in 2015 when twins and grade A pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, who were both aspiring medical students, left their homes and moved to Isil controlled Syria.”

The Islamic State claims that Abedi was a ” caliphate soldier.”

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and described the perpetrator as a “caliphate soldier,” who “managed to place a number of devices among a gathering of crusaders in Manchester, and detonated them.”

Online activity by ISIS supporters quickly following the horrifying bombing indicate that the group was likely involved. As Newsweek highlighted, U.S.-based terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith II, who provided evidence of several posts on ISIS-linked Telegram channels celebrating the attack, said online activity was a “strong indicator” the terror group was behind the attack.

Smith’s assessment appears to be correct. Express reports that one unverified Twitter account appears to have even predicted the attack on #ManchesterArena hours before the atrocity:

One message said: “Are you forget our threat?”

Followed by: “This is just the beginning.”

The tweets, which are not verified, are time-stamped at 6.24pm, four hours before the bomb went off.

Authorities arrested a man in southern Manchester they believe to be linked to the attack.

CBS News reports:

Officials said one man was arrested Tuesday in southern Manchester in connection with the attack, and urged people to avoid the center of the city as raids continued at addresses around the city. …

Manchester police confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old man in the southern Chorlton neighborhood of the city on Tuesday morning. The suspect taken into custody was not identified, but police said the arrest was linked to the bombing. Witnesses said the man was smiling as he was apprehended.

Officials believe only a single device was planted at the arena, but have detonated another in south Manchester.

In its statement claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS cited “a number of devices.” So far officials believe Abedi only used a single bomb at Manchester Arena. That bomb, which appears to have been filled with nails and bolts, was built to inflict as much damage on people as possible, injuring dozens and killing a total of 22.

However, reports indicate that another device was planted in south Manchester in the Fallowfield. AP reports that officers carried out a controlled explosion of that device, which they believe to be connected to the arena attack.

Among the jihadist’s victims were several children.

The Daily Mail provides a summary of what we know so far about the victims of the attack:

A primary schoolgirl aged just eight years old was one of 22 people killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a packed pop concert in Manchester last night.

ISIS have said one of its ‘soldiers’ set off the ball bearing bomb at the Ariana Grande concert. At least 119 people were injured in the worst terror attack Britain has seen since the 7/7 London bombings.

Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, 18-year-old Georgina Callander and 26-year-old John Atkinson were among those killed. Of the injured, 59 were taken to hospital – of which at least 12 were children – and 60 were treated at the scene.

This article has been updated to include new information as it has emerged.