WASHINGTON (AFP) - British police on Tuesday (May 23) named the suspected attacker behind the Manchester concert bombing that killed 22 people as Salman Abedi, but declined to give any further details.
The 22-year-old “has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further”, said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police force.
“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” he added.
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Abedi was born in Manchester to Libyan parents, who fled their country to escape the regime of former dictator Moamer Khadafi.
The family have lived in the Fallowfield area of south Manchester for at least 10 years, it said. Police on Tuesday raided an address in the area, carrying out a controlled explosion to gain entry.
The suspected attacker’s father is known by the honorific Abu Ismael in the Libyan community and worked as an odd-job man in Manchester, according to The Guardian, but is thought to be currently in Tripoli.
“Abu Ismael will be terribly distraught,” one man who knew him told the newspaper.
“He was always very confrontational with jihadi ideology, and this ISIS thing isn’t even jihad, it’s criminality. The family will be devastated,” the man said.
A 23-year-old man was arrested earlier on Tuesday in connection with the attack, while a house was raided in the Whalley Range area, also in south Manchester.
“We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers,” chief constable Hopkins added.
“However, now, more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.”