Ariana Grande attack: Suicide bomber's family arrested
THE Manchester bomber's father and two brothers have been arrested on suspicion of links to Islamic State in relation to Monday night's chilling attack.
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, killed 22 people when he detonated a nail bomb after a concert at Manchester Arena on Monday night. His youngest victim was just eight years old.
The Telegraph reports Abedi's 20-year-old brother, Hashem Abedi, was arrested on Tuesday night in Libya's capital Tripoli by counter-terrorism forces.
On Wednesday, the attacker's older brother, Ismail, was arrested following police raids in the UK.
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On the same day, over in Libya, three armed vehicles arrived to take away their father, Ramadan Abedi, an administrative manager of the Central Security Force in Tripoli.
It came as photos were leaked to The New York Times
showing the potential detonator, which was located in the suspect's left hand, remnants of a backpack, a 12-volt battery and shrapnel were found.
The photos and analysis suggests that the bomb was an improvised device but made with care.
The paper said a review of the location of those killed shows most of the fatalities occurred in a nearly complete circle around the bomber.
According to a former security official in Libya, Abdel-Basit Haroun, Ramadan Abedi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the 1990s. The group had links to al-Qaeda.
Although the LIFG disbanded, Mr Haroun said the elder Abedi belongs to the Salafi Jihadi movement, the most extreme sect of Salafism and from which al-Qaeda and Islamic State hails.
The Abedi family are believed to live between Libya and Manchester, where the children were born and grew up.
Five people have now been arrested over Monday night's attack, which left 119 people needing hospital treatment.
DAD: 'WE DON'T BELIEVE IN KILLING INNOCENTS'
The family's arrest comes hours after Ramadan Abedi claimed his son, Salman Abedi, was innocent.
"We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us," he said, according to Express.
"My son was as religious as any child who opens his eyes in a religious family. As we were discussing news of similar attacks earlier, he was always against those attacks, saying there's no religious justification for them. I don't understand how he'd have become involved in an attack that led to the killing of children."
Speaking from Tripoli, Ramadan Abedi said his son sounded "normal" when they spoke five days ago and claims he was preparing to visit Saudi Arabia.
Ramadan Abedi fled Tripoli in 1993 after Muammar al-Gaddafi's security authorities issued an arrest warrant and eventually sought political asylum in Britain.
SALMAN ABEDI 'WAS KNOWN TO INTELLIGENCE SERVICES'
Police said the Manchester Arena bomber was known to intelligence services "up to a point" and probably went to Syria". The Telegraph reports Abedin is thought to have returned from Libya just days ago after a three-week visit.
US intelligence officials told NBC News that Abedi was identified at the scene of the bombing by a bank card found in his pocket. The identification was confirmed by facial recognition technology.
He also had ties to al-Qaeda, had received terrorist training abroad, and members of his own family informed on him in the past, according to NBC News.
Britain's Interior Minister said the suicide bomber was likely not acting alone.
Police on Wednesday said they were investigating a "terror network", with up to 3800 soldiers to be deployed on the streets in the UK at "key locations" following the attack.
POLICE RAID HOMES ACROSS MANCHESTER
Police conducted raids across Manchester on Wednesday, including flats in a stone and brick building on Granby Row.
Building residents said they were startled first by the sound of a fire alarm and then the sight of heavily armed anti-terror police on Wednesday.
They were escorted out of the building as police broke through the door to one of the flats shortly after 12.30pm local time.
Neighbours told the Manchester Evening News that the flat was regularly leased out through online rentals agency AirBnB.
"I got down to the front door and instead of the fire brigade armed police with a machine gun and mask were there," Louise Bolotin, a freelance journalist who lives in Granby House, told the Evening News. "I was like 'what is going on?' About four or five minutes after more armed police in masks came out."
A Manchester police spokesman said the raid was part of the investigation into the Manchester Arena attack.
"That search is ongoing. In order to do this safely we briefly closed a railway line, but it has now been reopened."
Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins a controlled explosion was used to enter one of the homes being raided.
"I think it is very clear this is a network we are investigating. The level of activity is intense and continuing at a fast pace," he said.
Earlier, Manchester police said they were executing a search warrant in South Manchester when three new arrests were made.
Local media reported neighbours as saying they saw police raid a property early this morning local time (shortly after 7pm AEDT).
A 23-year-old was arrested in the South Manchester area on Tuesday in relation to the bombing.
Police said four people in total have been arrested.
During the day thousands of locals packed central city streets in Manchester to honour those killed and injured when Abedi set off a bomb packed with nails, bolts and ball-bearings at a concert at Manchester Arena being performed by American pop star Ariana Grande.
They vowed not to be defeated or divided by terrorism, with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham saying: "Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.''
But in Downing Street, officials warned the prime minister that the risk of another terror strike was critical.