6 arrested in Manchester attack as UK officials say they're 'furious' at Americans leaking info on the investigation

LondonPAArmed troops are supporting police in London.
  • Police have confirmed they are investigating a “network” of suspects. They had arrested six people in total by 9.20 p.m. local time. 
  • Abedi’s older brother was arrested in Manchester in connection with the attack, while his younger brother was arrested for allegedly planning another attack in Libya, where his father was also detained.
  • A woman was arrested late Wednesday in a raid on a block of flats in Blackley.
  • Three other people were arrested earlier in raids on Wednesday, and another man found carrying a suspicious package was detained in Wigan, west of Manchester.
  • Abedi was born in the UK to parents who fled Libya and turned to radical Islam in recent years. He was known to British spies.
  • Abedi was “suspected of receiving terror training in Syria,” according to The Sun.
  • The New York Times published photos alleging to show the explosive device taken at the crime scene. 
  • The UK government is “furious” at leaks to the press coming from US sources, including the photos shared by the New York Times.
  • Abedi’s Manchester address was searched on Tuesday, and forensic experts found a book titled “Know Your Chemicals!”
  • Campaigning in the general election was set to resume on Thursday.
  • Armed troops took over regular police guard duties in some city locations as police deal with the heightened terror alert.

LONDON — Greater Manchester Police raided buildings across the metropolitan area on Wednesday as officers investigated what they said was the terrorist network of Salman Abedi, who detonated a fatal bomb in the Manchester Arena on Monday night.

“I think it’s very clear that it’s a network that we are dealing with,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said on Wednesday afternoon.

Abedi killed 22 and injured at least 64 when he detonated an improvised bomb in the foyer of the arena, in central Manchester, where the pop star Ariana Grande was performing. The 22-year-old was radicalised during trips to Syria and was known to British intelligence services, officials said.

On Tuesday, Abedi’s brother, 23-year-old Ismail Abedi, was arrested in Chorlton, in south Manchester, in connection with the attack. His younger brother, Hashem Abedi was arrested by Libya’s counterterrorism unit for allegedly “planning to stage an attack” in Tripoli, Libya, where his father Ramadan Abedi was also detained, according to the Washington Post.

Late Wednesday, police surrounded a large block of flats in Blackley, and arrested a woman in the raid. For a brief period residents were prevented from entering or leaving their homes and a small detonation was heard — probably from the police entering the apartment. 

A fourth man, who was carrying a suspicious package, was detained in Wigan on Wednesday evening. Police continue to search for the person who made the bomb.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News that Abedi, a Mancunian of Libyan descent, was known “up to a point” by British spies and that “it seems likely” he wasn’t acting alone. “The security services will know a lot of people — it doesn’t mean they are expected to arrest everybody they know,” Rudd said. “But it is somebody who they had known before.” Dominic Casciani, a BBC home affairs correspondent, said “members of the public called an anti-terrorism hotline” about Abedi’s views “several years ago.” It is unclear if Rudd was referring to this.

After the name of the then-suspect Abedi was leaked by US sources to the press, Rudd assured the public that no more leaks would take place on Wednesday. However, the New York Times then published police pictures from the crime scene later in the day. The British government suppressed its anger for most of the day at leaks about the investigation that appear to be coming from US officials. But The Guardian reported in the evening that the government was “furious” that the photos ended up in the New York Times:

“We are furious. This is completely unacceptable. These images leaked from inside the US system will be distressing for victims, their families and the wider public. The issue is being raised at every relevant level by the British authorities with their US counterparts.”

The Manchester Islamic Centre has condemned Abedi’s “horrific atrocity” and called on anyone in the community who may have any information about the attack to contact the police, according to The Guardian

In other news on Wednesday:

Who was Salman Abedi?

Abedi died as a result of the bomb. His ID was found at the site of the attack, The New York Times reported, citing a US law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Frank Gardner, a BBC security correspondent, said Abedi was thought to be acting as a “mule” and that his explosive device, described as highly sophisticated, was made by someone else.

Salman Abedi, also known as Salman Ramadan Abedi, is believed to have travelled to Manchester from London by train a few days before the attack, Reuters reported. ISIS on Tuesday said a “caliphate soldier” was responsible for the attack. The police have not found any evidence to support the terrorist group’s claim.

Several images of Abedi were published on Wednesday morning.

Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994. He was one of four children to parents who fled to Britain from Libya at the height of the Gaddafi regime, the BBC reported.

Abedi attended school in Manchester and went to Salford University before dropping out before the second year of his business and management degree program. He left the UK for a period, reportedly to Libya, but returned days before the attack. The Financial Times reported that he was involved with gangs and turned to radical Islam in recent years.

The Sun published the first image of Abedi on Wednesday. It said he was “suspected of receiving terror training in Syria” making trips to the war-torn country without alerting authorities. French intelligence also suggests he went to Syria, according to reports.

Abedi was registered at several addresses in Fallowfield, a suburb of Manchester known for its big student population. He did not make a “strong impression” on those around him, according to an Associated Press report, and was hardly known to staff at Salford University.

Alan Kinsey, who lives across the street from Abedi’s residence, told the AP he had seen “a lot of different people living there” in the past, but in the past six or so months he had seen only one young man in his 20s. Kinsey said another young man in a Toyota would often pick up Abedi, who would get home late.

Kinsey added that he thought Abedi “worked in a takeaway or something” because of his late hours.

House search

Law-enforcement officials entered Abedi’s home on Tuesday afternoon after setting off a controlled explosion to get in, The Guardian reported.

“It was so quick,” Simon Turner, another of Abedi’s neighbours, told the AP. “These cars just pulled up and all these police with guns, dogs, jumped out of the car and said to us, ‘Get in the house now.'”

The pictures below show forensic investigators investigating a home in the Fallowfield area of Manchester:

Those concerned about loved ones who may have been in the area during the attack can call 0800 096 0095.

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