Confirming what CBS reported earlier today, UK police and Whitehall officials said that the suspected bomber who killed at least 22 people is 22-year-old Salman Abedi (or Salman Ramadan Abedi) from a family of Libyan origin. Abedi had not been identified by the coroner so no further details would be given, Greater Manchester Police said.
Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime. His parents were both born in Libya but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least ten years according to the Telegraph.
They had three sons in total and a daughter, who is now 18-years-old. Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area, just yards from the local girl's high school, which hit the headlines in 2015 when twins and grade A pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, who were both aspiring medical students, left their homes and moved to Isil controlled Syria.
There were unconfirmed reports in Manchester that the whole family apart from the two elder sons recently returned to Libya.
Abedi was named by Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins on Tuesday.
Manchester Police Chief Hopkins said: “Our priority, along with the police counter terrorism network and our security partners, is to continue to establish whether he was acting alone or working as part of a wider network.”
Authorities say they are trying to determine if suspect Salman Abedi was "acting alone or working as part of a wider network." pic.twitter.com/NhcrpxeyOZ— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 23, 2017
According to the FT, police launched raids across the south of Manchester on Tuesday as authorities tried to establish whether the suicide bomber who killed at least 22 people, including children, in the terrorist attack on a concert arena was working alone. The hunt has initially focused on three adjoining neighbourhoods in the city’s southern districts. Greater Manchester Police said they had raided two addresses in Whalley Range and Fallowfield, where they also carried out a controlled explosion. Forensic investigators could be seen at one of the addresses searching for clues.
Armed officers also arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack, swooping on the suspect outside a Morrison’s supermarket in nearby Chorlton. It is unclear whether the arrest was related to either of the raids.
All three areas are ethnically diverse and popular places to live for students. Manchester is the biggest university city in the UK outside of London.
Earlier on Tuesday, Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, although the jihadi group has in the past taken credit for terror incidents that were later found to be unconnected. Dan Coats, the US director of national intelligence, said Isis’s role had yet to be confirmed, adding: “They claim responsibility for virtually every attack.”
UK Police said the attacker died in the explosion, which left 59 people in hospital with injuries. The device, which detonated just after 10.30pm on Monday, appeared to have been packed with metal objects to maximise its lethality. Witnesses at the scene described finding nuts and bolts on the floor near the blast.
Another priority noted by the police will be to establish whether any further linked attacks or copycat incidents are planned. It is likely that the bomber's communications will form a significant part of the inquiry, while investigators will also be checking if he was known to authorities in any way.
One area of focus will be examining the remnants of the device used in the attack as officers work to establish whether the perpetrator built it himself or had help. As well as seeking to identify any potential accomplices in Britain, authorities will also be looking into the possibility of any link to international groups. In the first hours after an attack on this scale investigators were sifting through a number of theories as they work to settle on the most likely lines of inquiry.
Commentators also pointed out that the Manchester attack took place on the fourth anniversary of the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London. Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: "That may be significant as well."