Bomber Identified, Search for Manchester Attack Victims Continues
It's been two days now since a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured many more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, and authorities are piecing together what happened, how it happened, and who it happened to. The incident was a terrorist attack, and ISIS has reportedly claimed responsibility, but that claim has not been verified.
The bomber has been identified as Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22-year-old born in Manchester of Libyan descent. He appears to have had a standard, uneventful upbringing in England, though his life clearly took a drastic turn over recent years.
Abedi returned only days ago from a three-week trip to Libya, where his parents have lived since returning home following Muammar Qaddafi's overthrow in 2011. Prior to that, he had visited Syria. It is currently speculated that, while there, he became radicalized by meeting with jihadists.
Police have made a series of arrests, including Abedi's older brother, Ismail, and multiple others in connection with the attack. They are trying to determine whether Abedi had accomplices in his plot, particularly if there is a bomb-maker still at large.
"I think it's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating," Greater Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins told reporters.
Britain's home secretary, Amber Rudd, confirmed this: “It seems likely — possible — that he wasn’t doing this on his own.”
More and more, it appears that this was a planned, sophisticated event coordinated by multiple individuals, as opposed to other terror attacks around Europe in recent months that were largely the work of individuals working alone.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the terror alert in the country to its highest level. Tours of Parliament have been canceled indefinitely. Armed soldiers patrol the streets of major cities.
Authorities have not released the names of all the victims yet, but we do know at least 13 so far:
- John Atkinson, age 28
- Kelly Brewster, 32
- Georgina Callander, 18
- Olivia Campbell, 15
- Martyn Hett, 29
- Alison Howe, 45
- Nell Jones, 14
- Michelle Kiss, 45
- Angelika Klis, 40
- Marcin Klis, 42
- Lisa Lees, 47
- Saffie Rose Roussos, 8
- Jane Tweddle-Taylor, 51
Fifteen people are still unaccounted for, as officials and family members do whatever they can to track them down.
Candlelight vigils have sprung up all over Manchester and all of Britain in memory of those killed Monday night, in spite of the "imminent" possibility of another attack. Around the world, lights at the Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York were left dark to honor the victims.
We send our deepest condolences to all of those affected by this horrible attack.