Georgina Callendar, 18, who was killed in the blast, met singer Ariana Grande in 2015 and posted this photo on Instagram. (Instagram/Geogina.Bethany)
WASHINGTON – Authorities in Manchester, England, have identified the man whom they believe detonated a suicide bomb in Monday night’s terrorist attack, killing 22 people and injuring dozens of others.
Police also released the names of three victims who were killed in the explosion.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police said Tuesday afternoon: “I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. However, he has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further.
“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”
Although ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, so far authorities said they have not found any links between Abedi and any terror groups. ISIS has offered no proof of any ties to Abedi.
The ISIS statement has been translated as saying: “With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester,” according to the SITE Intel Group, which monitors jihadist groups.
The statement said the attack was “revenge for Allah’s religion … in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims. … What comes next will be more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies.”
Abedi was reportedly known to authorities. The Telegraph reported that he was born in Britain to a family that had emigrated from Libya 10 years ago.
Abedi is believed to have detonated an improvised explosive device around 10:30 p.m. local time Monday at Manchester Arena at the end of Ariana Grande’s concert, police said.
Traumatized witnesses have described how nuts and bolts flew into young music fans when the bomb exploded in the foyer area of the arena. The blast sent panicked concert-goers stampeding to escape as smoke filled the space.
Hopkins said police have arrested a 23-year-old man “in connection with the attack.”
Police also search two homes, including “one in Fallowfield that included a controlled explosion to enable safe entry,” he said. Those locations are said to be the homes of Abedi and the unnamed man who was arrested.
Authorities disclosed the names of three of the 22 victims who perished in the terror attack.
Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, 18-year-old Georgina Callander and 26-year-old John Atkinson were among those killed.
Callander met Grande last year and posted a photo of both of them on Instagram. She had tweeted Grande, 23, on Sunday before the concert.
Atkinson was a college graduate who belonged to a dance studio.
Officials at Saffie’s school described her as quiet and assuming. She was at the concert with her mother and sister.
At least 12 children were among the 59 injured who were taken to hospitals; 60 other victims were treated at the scene. Police said Tuesday afternoon that they do not believe there are any unaccompanied minors at hotels that were designated as gathering places for concert-goers.
Some people still are searching for missing relatives or friends.
Thousands of people attended a vigil in Manchester’s city center Tuesday evening to remember the victims who died. Vigils were held in other cities as well, including Peterborough.
The official threat level from terrorism stands at “severe” in the UK – meaning that an attack is “highly likely.” The threat level has been unchanged since August 2014.
The article is republished with permission from Talk Media News.
Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner.