Manchester police have made three more arrests in relation to their ongoing probe into the terror attack that hit pop superstar Ariana Grande’s concert on Monday night at the arena that killed 22 concert-goers and left 59 others wounded.
The police said that the arrests of the three men were also made in the south of the city, similar to the earlier arrest of a 23- year-old man after searching several homes. The authorities are still trying to find out if suicide bomber Salman Abedi acted alone or with the help of others, and if there could be a risk of further attacks in the UK.
Authorities have also revealed that bomber Salman Abedi just returned to the UK after a visit to Libya mere days before carrying out the horrific Manchester attack. They feared that it is possible that Abedin may have traveled to terrorist strongholds in Syria.
Abedi’s potential links to ISIS militants and recruiters around the world are being investigated by the authorities. They want to establish how he transported a nail bomb into Manchester Arena and use it for the huge blast that massacred innocent lives and injured others.
Abedi’s family friend shared with The Independent that Abedi and his brother Ismael opted to remain in the UK when their parents returned to Libya with the rest of their family four years ago. Although they have maintained UK as their base, the Abedi brothers used to travel back and forth to war-ravaged Libya.
ISIS has gained a foothold in Libya, hosting terror training camps that were bombed by the U.S. in January based on intelligence information that “external plotters” were actively planning operations against Europe.
France’s new interior minister, Gerard Collomb, said Abedi may have traveled all the way to Syria, where he might have been radicalized and decided to commit the despicable terror act. It remains to be established, though, whether Abedi was connected to a larger terror network.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it is possible that Abedi may have had support given the more sophisticated approach in executing the act compared to previous attacks in other parts of Europe.
Abedi used a suitcase bomb packed with homemade explosives and nails for the attack. CCTV footage later showed the 22-year-old attacker putting the suitcase down in the foyer between Manchester Arena and Victoria station shortly before the bomb detonated just as the concert-goers were leaving after Grande’s performance.
Local media reported that Abedi was already known to security services prior to the attack as an associate of ISIS recruiter Raphael Hostey, also from Manchester, who was killed in a drone strike in Syria last year.
A person who claims to know Abedi from school told the Manchester Evening News that Abedi was an outgoing, fun guy but came back from Libya in 2011 “a different guy.” There was also a black flag associated with Islamist groups found in Abedi’s house in Elsmore road, an added clue to his possible radicalization.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened to commit more atrocities targeting “crusaders.”