Eight devout Muslims are now in custody and counting while the net widens across continents, but remember, but has nothing to do with Islam.
Net closes in on evil bombers: Police ‘get hold of large part’ of Manchester terror cell
Pictured minutes before committing mass murder: CCTV shows Manchester suicide bomber sauntering towards Ariana Grande concert in his £150 Nike trainers and trendy jacket on night of his attack
- Greater Manchester Police have released images of Salman Abedi on the night of the attack at the Arena
- The bomber wore dark clothes and a baseball cap, and carried a backpack as he sauntered to the gig venue
- Abedi killed 22 people and injured 119 when he detonated a bomb after the Ariana Grande concert this week
- The terror threat has been downgraded to severe and police say the investigation is ‘making good progress’ as they appeal for more information from the public
By Nick Craven and Michael Powell and Ian Gallagher and Mark Nicol and Martin Beckford and Nic North and Rebecca Taylor For Mailonline and Charlotte Wace and Abul Taher and Russell Jenkins and Nick Constable for The Mail on Sunday and Barbara Jones In Tripoli For The Mail On Sunday, May 28, 2017:
Leaning back nonchalantly with his hands thrust casually into the pockets of his black body warmer, there is nothing about Salman Abedi’s relaxed demeanour that betrays his monstrous intent.
Yet minutes after these photographs were taken, he would detonate the nail bomb in his backpack, killing 22 people, many of them children, and maiming dozens more.
Though facing his own death, too, there is nothing about his manner or his appearance to separate him from the countless other young men hanging around Manchester city centre last Monday night.
He blends in with the crowd with his casual attire: a £65 Hollister body warmer, his best £150 Nike Air Jordan trainers, a black baseball cap, navy jeans with turn-ups.
In one still, he stares ahead as his hand rests in his pocket, perhaps checking the trigger of the explosive device that he would use to murder teenagers and young children at the Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena.
These images, taken from CCTV cameras, were released yesterday by detectives piecing together the final movements of the callous killer.
And in both pictures, the police have blacked out the background, suggesting they wished to protect the identities of people standing next to him at the time.
The exact location of the image has not been given by officers, but it is believed he could have been in a lift on the way to the Arena’s box office.
Only the straps of the rucksack – a bag containing tricyclic acetone peroxide, bolts and nails – are visible in the pictures. At 10.30pm, he detonated the ‘highly sophisticated’ device, that injured 119 people.
Hairdresser Abdallah Forjani (left) with cousin Salman Abedi (right)
Before setting off for the arena, Abedi carried out the final assembly of the bomb at a £75-a-night flat on Granby Row, close to Piccadilly station, which he rented four days earlier. He had flown into the city via Turkey and Germany.
If he travelled on a tram for the short journey to the arena, it would have taken only nine minutes. It is also possible that the images were taken on board, or as he waited.
Mr Hopkins said last night: ‘We are gathering a detailed picture of Abedi as the investigation develops and now need people to tell us if they have any information about his movements from May 18, when he returned to the UK, through to Monday night. The whole team are working round-the-clock. We have around 1,000 people involved in the investigation alone.
‘In the past five days we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy. As a result of the arrests and searches which have taken place, we now have many further lines of enquiry. We have more than 1,500 actions we are pursuing.’
It is believed that Abedi may have funded his terror with a £7,000 student loan for a course at Salford University, despite the fact he had dropped out.
It is thought he may have been given his loan for the 2016 academic year, even though he did not continue his degree. Abedi funded flights to Libya and three flats in Manchester, but never held down a job.
It also emerged yesterday that Abedi’s younger brother, Hashem, detained last week by authorities in Libya, has allegedly admitted buying the components of the device.
This is the moment armed police raided the south Manchester red brick semi home of concert suicide bomber Salman Abedi
The 20-year-old is said to have told interrogators that he and his brother supported Islamic State, and claimed that the attack was carried out in revenge for the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The brothers left Britain to visit their parents in Libya after stockpiling the bomb parts, before Abedi returned to carry out his deadly mission. It was also claimed Hashem planned to carry out an attack in the capital Tripoli.
Following his alleged confession he could face extradition to the UK and stand trial over Britain’s worst terrorist atrocity since 7/7.
Ahmed Bin Salem, of Libya’s Special Deterrents Force, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Hashem knew what Salman was doing. He knew he was planning an attack but did not know exactly when.
‘He has admitted buying the materials for Salman in Manchester.’
After spending three weeks in Tripoli with their parents, Salman pretended he was going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia – but then secretly returned to Britain via Germany.
Handcuffed: left, Abedi’s brother Ismail is taken into custody by police and right, Forensic teams were seen going in and out of the house and found a pamphlet on chemicals
An army bomb disposal team in Moss Side, Manchester, where raids were carried out throughout the week after the terror attack
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a secret meeting of Germany’s most senior security officials took place last week to discuss the threat from European terror networks they believe underwrote Abedi’s mission.
Officials are concerned about Abedi’s links with radicals in their country and fear he may have received instructions or bomb components, when he passed through Dusseldorf airport on May 18 en route to Manchester.
Hashem was arrested two days after the atrocity, when a government-approved militia raided his suburban home in Tripoli, taking him and his father Ramadan into custody. Salman’s elder brother Ismail, 23, was arrested in Manchester on Tuesday.
Police and security services in the UK are now confident they know who the ‘main players’ were in the terror cell, and that there is not a master bomb-maker on the loose or explosives unaccounted for, as had been feared.
Many of the worst Islamist terror outrages have been carried out by brothers, including the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the Paris atrocity later in 2015, last year’s Brussels bombings, the Boston marathon attack, and 9/11.
A close family friend of the Abedis said last night that the boys’ father had come to his house in Tripoli on April 27, asking him to take a package to England on his behalf.
‘I was preparing to travel to Manchester to see my children and I was already carrying a lot of luggage,’ the friend said. ‘I said I didn’t want to take any more. I am very glad and relieved now that I did not get involved.’
Police evacuated an area of Moss Side yesterday as a precaution as a bomb disposal unit searched an address. There were no arrests.
Earlier two brothers with links to Abedi were arrested five miles away in the Cheetham Hill area. Yahya Werfalli, 22, and Mohamed Werfalli, 20, were held after police used an explosive to breach their front door at 2.30am.
They live next door to Abdul Wahab Hafidah, a friend of Salman Abedi who was stabbed in a suspected gang killing last May. Friends said Abedi considered the murder a hate crime and that it contributed to his radicalisation.
Tributes have been paid and vigils held for the victims of the terror attacks, which included many children, the youngest of which was eight-year-old Saffie Rose.
Ariana Grande has vowed to return to the city to play a benefit concert and could be back as soon as June 4, less than two weeks after the attack.
The US pop star said ‘we won’t let hate win’ as she called for people to come together following the bombing which killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.
‘My heart, prayers and deepest condolences are with the victims of the Manchester attack and their loved ones,’ she said in a lengthy statement on Twitter.
‘There is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better.
‘However, I extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours, should you want or need my help in any way.
‘The only thing we can do now is choose how we let this affect us and how we live our lives from here on out.’
Among the 22 victims were Courtney Boyle, 19, and her step-father Philip Tron, 32, both from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, who had been reported missing after the attack on Monday.
Eilidh MacLeod, 14, who was from Barra, in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, travelled down to watch the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena with her friend Laura MacIntyre, 15.
Michelle Kiss, 45, whose daughter was pictured outside the arena being comforted by a police officer as she waited for news of her mother.
Olivia Campbell, 15, who sent her boyfriend a poignant message telling him she was ‘having so much fun’.
On Saturday afternoon, the family of Georgina Callander paid tribute to the 18-year-old who was killed on Monday night by letting yellow balloons go through the city centre.
Schoolgirl Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, died in the bomb blast, while her mother, Samantha Leczkowksi, 44, and grandmother, Pauline Healey, 64, were badly hurt.
Kelly Brewster, 32, died after she flung herself over her sister Claire Booth, 44, and 11-year-old Hollie – protecting them from the full force of the explosion.
Nell Jones, 14, from Cheshire, became one of the 22 victims just hours after posting a selfie on Snapchat with the caption: ‘Ariana Grande now X’.
Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51, had been out for dinner with her friend in the city centre, when she was caught in the blast as she went to pick up a friend’s children at the concert.
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