Salman Abedi named as lone suicide bomber in Manchester attack, police say

Police blast their way into home during raid in Fallowfield, Manchester

Neighbour of Salman Abedi explains his experience of the perpetrator of the Manchester Attacks

The man who bombed children and fans leaving an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.

Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said no further details could be given as the bomber has not yet been formally identified by a coroner.

“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network," he added.

Manchester attack: What we know so far

Local reports said Abedi was the child of Libyan refugees who moved to the UK to flee Muammar Gaddafi's regime, and was one of four children.

He was said to have been known to police and the intelligence services.

Media reports suggest Abedi's father and brother had attended nearby Didsbury Central Mosque, and were active members of the community.

Basem Khalil, one of the mosque's trustees, told The Independent: "Since we saw our name mentioned we've been really really shocked."

Another, Fawzi Haffar, added: "This mosque has always been known as a very moderate mosque. We have many Libyans here but the sermons are extremely moderate, we are very liberal...the preaching and the way we teach Islam is the correct Islam, in our opinion. We have no hardcores as far as I know. We always make sure we are very mainstream."

Salman Abedi's father, Abu Ismael, attended the mosque and sometimes made the communal call to prayer, but is understood to have moved back to Libya, where he comes from, around four years ago along with the rest of the family.

Salman and his brother, Ismael, are said to have remained in the UK but travelled back and forth to Libya, according to one person who knows the family.

Didsbury Central Mosque has a large Libyan community and two of its three imams are Libyan. Leaders said many of its members came to the UK to flee violence and persecution under Gaddafi, but a number have since moved back.

Abu Ismael had three sons: Salman, Ismael and a third whose name is unknown. He also has a daughter who is believed to be 18 and currently in Libya.

Mosque leaders said Salman was completely unknown to them. Mr Haffar said: "I've asked our employees and nobody has seen him or knows him".

A source who knows the Abedis claimed Salman had attended a different mosque to his family. Ismael, however, is understood to have undertaken voluntary work at Didsbury in recent months - believed to be at the mosque's religion school.

Police blew open a door to access Salman Abedi's home in Elsmore Road, Fallowfield, and carried out a separate raid in Whalley Range on Tuesday.

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Neighbours urged to stay inside their homes by armed police said they know little about those living at the address.

Neville Edwards, who witnessed the raid on Elsmore Road, told The Independent officers “en masse” surrounded the house.

“They used controlled explosives to gain entry to the property and there's reports that shortly after that a man was taken from the house and whisked off by the police at speed - it's really frightening,” he said.

“They weren't known to anyone which round here is really unusual. We virtually live in each other's pockets round here - it's that kind of area. Everybody knows everybody.”

Another neighbour told The Independent the property had been home to "rotating" groups of young men over recent years - during which time he said there had been at least two shed fires in the back garden.

At least one person, a 23-year-old man from Manchester, has so far been arrested in connection with the bombing.

Theresa May previously said the bomber had been identified by security agencies, but that they were unable to name them at such an early stage of the investigation.

At least 22 people were killed, including children, and 59 more wounded shortly after Grande finished her performance last night.

An explosion ripped through a foyer linking Manchester Arena with Victoria station, sparking mass panic it echoed through the venue and fans rushed to escape.

Witness describes controlled explosion in Manchester

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement that did not name the perpetrator, but suggested he survived the blast. The reason for the discrepancy was unclear.

"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,” it said.

The Manchester attack took place exactly two months after the Westminster attack and on the fourth anniversary of the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Police were called to reports of an explosion shortly after the end of Grande’s concert at 10.33pm, as thousands of fans streamed out of Manchester Arena.

Witnesses described being thrown through the air by a powerful blast that left nuts and bolts across the floor in a foyer connecting the venue with Victoria station.

Floral tributes are arriving at the scene in Manchester, where 22 people have been confirmed to have lost their lives
Floral tributes are arriving at the scene in Manchester, where 22 people have been confirmed to have lost their lives (AFP/Getty Images)

Chris Parker, a rough sleeper who was in the foyer at the time, said: “Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else.

“As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.

"There were people lying on the floor everywhere.”

Concert goers still inside described mass panic at the blast echoed through the venue, with footage showing screaming fans running back into the arena and scrambling towards exits.

Chief Constable Hopkins said investigators believe the attack was carried out by a lone suicide bomber “carrying” a homemade device.

“The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” he added.

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

An eight-year-old girl, Saffie Rose Roussos, is among those confirmed among the victims as families continue desperate appeals for missing children and teenagers.

Additional reporting by Ben Kentish and PA

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