Manchester concert attack

Manchester bomb designed for maximum carnage, leaked photos of components suggest

Pictures suggest a handheld detonator was used to explode a backpack bomb that was surrounded by shrapnel of nuts and screws

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 May, 2017, 12:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 May, 2017, 10:02pm

The bomb used in the Manchester attack Monday combined an explosive charge with shrapnel of nuts and screws meticulously arranged for maximum damage, according to photographs published by the New York Times.

The Times published eight exclusive leaked pictures, which were unsourced but appeared to be police photographs taken at the Manchester Arena, where 22 people were killed while emerging from an Ariana Grande concert.

Initial analysis of the various elements photographed at the scene suggests that suicide bomber Salman Abedi carried “an improvised device made with forethought and care,” concealed most likely within a backpack but also possibly in a vest, wrote the paper.

The location of the bomber’s torso, which had been propelled away from the blast, suggested a backpack bomb rather than a vest, said one explosive technician cited by the Times.

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The images notably suggest the suicide bomber - or a possible team helping him - had a remote detonator set up, to back up a hand-held detonator found at the scene.

The newspaper said there were no initial details of the type and strength of the explosive used in the attack.

But, combined with the location of the bodies of those struck by the bomb, and the remains of the bomber himself, the Times said, “All of these are indicators of a powerful, high-velocity charge, and of a bomb in which its shrapnel was carefully and evenly packed.”

The images showed shreds of a blue Karrimor backpack, metal screws and nuts, the remains of a strong battery, and the apparent hand-held detonator with wires coming from it.

The detonator also appeared to have a small circuit board inside it, the Times said, which may have linked it to the backup detonation system.

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“Such redundancy could give the bomber or a cell more than one option for deploying the device, and further suggests that the bomb was not as simple in design as many terrorist devices, which often are crude and prone to failure or haphazard effect,” the Times said.

The London Times meanwhile reported that CCTV footage showed the bomber placing a suitcase in the foyer of the concert hall shortly before the explosion.

Separate CCTV images published by Sky News showed a man they said was Abedi three days before the blast. He is seen with a new backpack, purchased at a Manchester shopping centre, that Sky said was believed by police to have been used in the attack.

Additional reporting by Reuters