UPDATE 3 — 4:52 p.m. EDT: BBC is reporting a 6th person has been arrested in connection with the Manchester suicide bomber. City police said a female suspect was detained late Wednesday in an apartment building raid north of downtown Manchester.
UPDATE 2 — 12:58 p.m. EDT: Manchester city police investigating Monday’s terrorist incident have indicated suspect Salman Abedi was part of a “network”, and arrested four more people Wednesday thought to have ties to the suicide bomber.
The latest associate to be detained was reportedly “carrying a package” in the town of Wigan, approximately 24 miles west of Manchester. Abedi’s brother, Hashem, has also been arrested in Libya on suspected ties to ISIS, and his father was reportedly detained by masked gunman while being interviewed on television in Tripoli.
UPDATE — 11:29 a.m. EDT: CNN is reporting U.S. Africa Command officials have told UK intelligence that the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, was in Libya for three weeks prior to Monday’s suicide attack.
Abedi is suspected of having family members who live in the North African country and may have met with members of al Qaeda and/or ISIS while there, according to both the U.S. and British governments.
A suicide bomber detonated himself as an Ariana Grande concert was letting out in Manchester, England, on Monday, killing 22 people. Many children were among the nearly two dozen dead, the youngest being an eight-year-old girl.
Over 60 people were wounded in the attack and 20 individuals are receiving care for critical injuries. The bomber, now identified as 22 year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi , stationed himself between the stadium where the event was being held and Victoria Station, a large metrotram stop.
The devastating incident is being treated by the British government as a terrorist attack and ISIS has claimed credit for the incident, saying it had been carried out by “a caliphate soldier”. The UK has since raised its security threat level the highest category, indicating that the government believes another attack may be imminent.
On Wednesday, UK Interior Minister Amber Rudd said that is unlikely Abedi acted alone and British troops were being deployed to access potential threats across the nation.
Details are still being gathered about Abedi, who was born in England. An anonymous U.S. intelligence official identified Abedi as being of Libyan descent, and said he not only received training to be a terrorist, but had ties to Al Qaeda as well.
Experts believe that targeting the Ariana Grande concert was far from random. The young American pop star is known for her empowering, feminist lyrics that often take the form of sexual liberation. ISIS, and its counterparts in the region, are known for their horrific treatment of girls and women.
Rolling Stone‘s Emily Crockett sees a clear message:
“…one thing we do know is the demographic he targeted: young girls and women. As is so often the case with acts of violence, misogyny was deeply woven into this attack.”
Grande, whose own mother was credited with helping evacuate fans to safety after the attack, tweeted that she was “broken.”
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
In the coming days British officials are expected to release more details regarding motive and how Abedi came to be radicalized.
[Washington Post] [TIME] [Reuters] [NBC News] [Irish Times] [New York Times] [Rolling Stone] [The Telegraph] [Photo courtesy Instar/Twitter via Radar Online]