The suicide bomber responsible for last night’s Manchester Arena attack has been named as Salman Abedi. Twenty-two people were killed and 59 injured when Abedi detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of the Manchester Arena as a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande drew to a close.
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reports that the 22-year-old Abedi was born in Manchester to Libyan parents who moved to the UK to escape the rule Muammar Gaddafi. According to the Guardian newspaper, his father, Abu Ismael, is well known in the Manchester Muslim community for reciting the call to prayer at the Didsbury mosque and taking a stand against extremism. Abedi, described by neighbours as a “quiet…respectful boy” is thought to have been known to the authorities.
The so-called Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack saying, “With Allah’s Grace and support, a soldier of the Khalifa (caliphate) managed to plant explosive devices in the gathering of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah’s religion, in an endeavour to terrorize the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims.”
— SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) May 23, 2017
The bomb, which is thought to have contained bolts and nails to inflict maximum harm, was detonated around 10:30 pm as Ms Grande performed her final song of the evening and many concertgoers were already exiting the arena through the foyer where Abedi had positioned himself. Many of the injured are said to have severe and life-threatening wounds. Following the attack Manchester police raided Abedi’s home address where they carried out a controlled explosion. A man was arrested during a raid at another address in the city.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
A vigil was held in Manchester’s Albert Square this evening for the victims, drawing a crowd of thousands as well as local and national political figures. Speaking at the vigil Lord Mayor of Manchester, Eddy Newman said, “The people of Manchester will remember the victims forever and we will defy the terrorists by working together to create cohesive, diverse communities that are stronger together.
“We are the many, they are the few.”