Libya arrests brother of Manchester bomber, suspected of plotting another attack
Police in Tripoli have arrested a brother of the man who carried out the suicide bomb attack in Manchester, on suspicion he was plotting a new attack.
British-born Salman Abedi, 22, blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande attended by thousands of children and teenagers.
His younger brother Hashem Abedi was arrested on suspicion of links with Islamic State and was suspected of planning to carry out an attack in the Libyan capital, the counter-terrorism force there said.
Police made arrests in Manchester on Wednesday as the investigation into a suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert venue packed with children focused on tracking down a network of accomplices who authorities fear could strike again.
“I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating,” police chief Ian Hopkins said outside Manchester police headquarters. “And as I’ve said, it continues at a pace. There’s extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester as we speak.”
A man arrested on Tuesday was reported by British and US media to be Abedi’s other brother.
Earlier, interior minister Amber Rudd said the bomber had recently returned from Libya. Her French counterpart Gerard Collomb said he had links with Islamic State and had probably visited Syria as well.
The Manchester bombing has raised concern across Europe. Cities including Paris, Nice, Brussels, St Petersburg, Berlin and London have suffered militant attacks in the last two years.
But with just over two weeks to go until a national election, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives and political parties said they would resume campaigning in the coming days.
The Manchester bombing was the deadliest attack in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London’s transport network.
Rudd said up to 3,800 soldiers could be deployed on Britain’s streets, taking on guard duties to free up police to focus on patrols and investigation. An initial deployment of 984 had been ordered, first in London and then elsewhere.
Soldiers were seen at the Houses of Parliament, May’s Downing Street residence and at the London police headquarters at New Scotland Yard.
A source close to the investigation into the bombing said the focus was on whether Abedi had received help in putting together the bomb and on where it had been done.
The bomb used in the attack appeared to contain carefully packed shrapnel and have a powerful, high velocity charge, according to leaked photographs from the investigation published by the New York Times. The BBC reported that security services thought the bomb was too sophisticated for Abedi to have built by himself.
Police arrested three people in South Manchester and another in Wigan, a town 17 miles to the west of the city on Wednesday, bringing the total number of arrests related to the attack to five. Police said they were assessing a package carried by the man in Wigan.
Police also said that they had searched an address in central Manchester as part of the investigation.
Greater Manchester Police said they were now confident they knew the identity of all the people who lost their lives and had made contact with all the families. They said they would formally name the victims after forensic post-mortems, which would take four or five days.
The bombing also left 64 people wounded, of whom 20 were receiving critical care for highly traumatic injuries to major organs and to limbs, a health official said.
France, which has repeatedly been hit by devastating militant attacks since 2015, extended emergency powers.