WWTI - InformNNY.com
by: Christopher Bucher
Searches are ongoing as authorities investigate Monday’s suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people.
Eight men are in custody in connection with the attack and police said those arrests have been important.
“I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant,” Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said today, “and initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation.”
“These searches will take several days to complete, as you would expect, therefore there will be some disruption. However, it is important that we continue with these searches,” Hopkins said.” We are now carrying out associated searches at a number of addresses.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday that progress was being made in the ongoing investigation, but reiterated that the national threat level was still at critical — meaning that an attack could still be imminent.
After a meeting with the British government’s COBRA crisis committee, May said “the public should remain vigilant.”
Salman Abedi, 22, the suspected suicide bomber, died at the scene of the bombing.
Authorities found what was described to ABC News as a bomb-making workshop in Abedi’s home in Manchester, with enough chemicals to build several additional bombs.
A brother of Salman Abedi, Hashem Abedi, was detained in Libya after the attack. Libyan authorities had been following Hashem Abedi for a month and a half because of suspected links to ISIS, said Ahmed Dagdoug, the spokesman for Libya’s counterterror forces.
During interrogation, Hashem Abedi revealed that he knew his brother was going to carry out an attack, but he did not know where or when, Dagdoug said.
Hashem Abedi also revealed that he knew exactly how the bomb was made, Dagdoug said, and that he believes that Salman created the device by himself. He said that he provided some assistance to his brother, but added no specific details about how.
Dagdoug said a network was involved in planning the attack.
The brothers came to Libya on April 18 and Salman Abedi departed on May 17, Dagdoug said, but it’s not clear at this time if Salman went to Syria.
Salman Abedi’s father, Ramadan Abedi, was also arrested in Libya.
Ramadan Abedi was interviewed by Reuters from Libya while in detention, and denied that his son was a follower of ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday.
“Salman doesn’t belong to any organization,” he told the news agency. “The family is a bit confused because Salman doesn’t have this ideology, he doesn’t hold these beliefs.”
Dagdoug told ABC News that the two brothers do consider themselves to be members of ISIS and said that they had been studying ISIS videos online, including instructional videos that teach the viewer how to make a bomb.
Another one of the suspect’s brothers, 23-year-old Ismail Abedi, was arrested in Manchester, a security official confirmed to ABC News.
On Wednesday, Hopkins said, “This is clearly a network that we are investigating, and extensive activity is taking place across Greater Manchester as we speak.”
The U.K. Metropolitan Police said Wednesday that 1,000 additional armed officers have been freed up to carry out patrols across the U.K.
“The extra officers add to a wider policing plan which sees increased patrolling at crowded places, iconic sites and transport hubs as police and partners do everything they can to protect the public,” the police said.
A moment of silence was held this morning to remember the 22 victims, which included a female police officer and an 8-year-old girl.
As the nation mourns, Queen Elizabeth II visited victims and hospital personnel at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital today.
PHOTO:Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II speaks with hospital personnel as she visits the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to meet victims and to thank members of staff who treated them, May 25, 2017.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, speaks to Amy Barlow from Rawtenstall, Lancashire and her mother, Kathy, as she visits the Roy