Salman Abedi: The suicide bomber behind the Manchester attack revealed

The 22-year-old killer was born in Manchester, and was a mystery to neighbours

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 23 May 2017 16:45
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Manchester attack: What we know so far

Salman Ramadan Abedi is the man who killed at least 22 people and injured many more in Manchester.

The Manchester-born, 22-year-old bomber unleashed carnage when he set off an explosive just after an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

Details are flooding in of the young British man who apparently acted as a lone wolf when he brought about the most deadly terror attack in the UK for more than a decade.

Isis claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement that appeared to suggest the attacker could still be alive, and didn't name him. "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,” a statement from the group said.

But before then, Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994, the youngest of four children. His parents came to the UK from Libya, looking to escape the Gaddafi regime.

His parents appeared to have lived in London, before they moved onto the Fallowfield area of south Manchester and have lived there for at least a decade.

Reports described the family as being devout and well-known to be against Isis and Islamism. Abedi's father, knwon as Abu Ismael, was described in glowing terms at the Didsbury Mosque where he and the family worshipped.

“He used to do the five and call the adhan," a member of Manchester's Libyan community told The Guardian. "He has an absolutely beautiful voice. And his boys learned the Qur’an by heart.

“Abu Ismael 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.”

Neighbours said that it was shocking that someone could plan such an attack in a close-knit and supportive area. But they said that the people in one of the raided house were relatively unknown.

"They weren't known to anyone which round here is really unusual," one person told The Independent. "We virtually live in each other's pockets round here - it's that kind of area. Everybody knows everybody.

"It's a very tight community, we do the best to support each other. It's a very neighbourly area and it's certainly not something you would expect in Fallowfield."

Neighbours said they knew very little about the house, except that people lived in it. People who did know the family described him as "quiet" and "respectful" – in contrast to his more outgoing brother.

But there were reports that the shed at the property – which has been lived in by a range of different people in recent years – had been burnt down multiple times recently.

Witness describes controlled explosion in Manchester

That house, where Abedi was registered as living, has become the focus of a police investigation and controlled explosions since the attack.

Before living in Fallowfields, Abedi and his family were said to have grown up in nearby Whalley Range. That area became famous because of the local girl's high school – where students Zahra and Salma Halane became famous for travelling to Isis-controlled Syria.

At least one person has been arrested in connection with the bombing, a 23-year-old man. But police would only say that they had "executed warrants" at other addresses, and didn't confirm whether further arrests had been made.

It's not clear whether Abedi was known to police.

His name was first confirmed after US officials passed it onto American news reporters. That was the latest in a series of leaks about the attack, all of which seemed to be against the wishes of police and security agencies in the UK.

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