Manchester bombing updates: Abedi had 'terrorist training' - reports

  • At least 22 people were killed in an explosion at Ariana Grande's Manchester Arena concert on Monday night (local time). Many were kids and teens.
  • At least 59 people have been hospitalised and 60 treated by emergency services.
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the terror threat from 'severe' to 'critical' meaning another attack could be imminent. 
  • Police named the suspected bomber as Manchester-born 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi. A 23-year-old man has also been arrested in connection with the attack. 

AS IT HAPPENED

3:15pm:

Another victim has been identified as Megan Hurley. She is reportedly a primary school student.

A crowdfunding page has been set up to support the young girl’s family.

3:00pm

Salman Abedi had ties to al-Qaeda and had received terrorist training abroad, a US intelligence official told NBC News.

While he had "clear ties to al-Qaeda," the official said; Abedi could have also had connections to other groups.

The official says members of his own family had even informed on him in the past, telling British authorities that he was dangerous.

1:30pm

Photos have been shared on social media of a visibly upset Ariana Grande landing in Florida. 

12:40pm

Olivia Campbell, one of the young women missing after the bombing, has been confirmed dead, by her mother, as well as her grandfather, on social media. 

On Tuesday her mother broke down in tears while talking to ITV. Charlotte Campbell said she had not spoken to her daughter since Olivia had left for the concert. 

"All I know is she was at the Manchester Arena with her friend watching Ariana Grande and she's not turned up yet," she told ITV.

Also Kelly Brewster, 32, has been confirmed as one of the dead. A family member confirmed to the Daily Mail had died while "shielding" her niece in the attack. 

12:20pm

11:30am

Salman Abedi carried out a deadly suicide bombing at a Manchester pop concert just days after returning from Libya, according to reports.

The 22-year-old's visit to his family's native country fuelled concerns he was preparing for Monday's assault in Britain under the guidance of hardened jihadists.

The Times reported the Manchester-born bomber spent three weeks in the war-torn north African nation before the attack on Manchester Arena, in which he was killed.

A friend told the paper: "He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago."

Prime Minister Theresa May said it was possible he had planned his attack, which killed 22 people and injured 59, with a "wider group of individuals".

Abedi was born and raised in Manchester. Neighbours recalled an abrasive, tall, skinny young man who was little known in the neighbourhood, and often seen in traditional Islamic clothing.

A family friend, who asked not to be named, said the family were known to the city's Libyan community and described Abedi as "normal".

"He was always friendly, nothing to suggest (he was violent). He was normal, to be honest," he said.

Abedi is believed to have attended the Manchester Islamic Centre.

There, he reportedly caught the attention of one imam whom he stared down during a sermon denouncing terrorism.

"Salman showed me a face of hate after that sermon," Mohammed Saeed told The Guardian of the 2015 encounter.

Abedi studied business and management at Salford University two or three years ago, a source said, but did not complete his degree.

Reuters

Salmam Abedi
This photo of Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, has been handed out to UK media. It was taken some years ago during a class at a mosque.

10:40am

Manchester native and iconic British singer Morrissey has shared his testament to his hometown on Facebook, while slamming UK leaders for their statements on the incident. 

"Celebrating my birthday in Manchester as news of the Manchester Arena bomb broke. The anger is monumental. For what reason will this ever stop? 

"Theresa May says such attacks 'will not break us', but her own life is lived in a bullet-proof bubble... The young people of Manchester are already broken."

He also criticises London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Queen Elizabeth. 

"How easy it is to be unafraid when one is protected from the line of fire. The people have no such protections."

10:35am

Dubai has shown support for Manchester, lighting up its huge Burj Khalifa tower with the Union Jack flag.

10:30am

"The investigation into the terrorist attack in Manchester is large scale, fast moving and making good progress," UK police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley has said in a statement.

"There has been an arrest and there are currently multiple searches and other activity taking place as I speak. However, at this stage it is still not possible to be certain if there was a wider group involved in the attack; 24 hours in we have a number of investigative leads that we are pursuing to manage the ongoing threat."

A raid was carried out earlier on Abedi's home. An investigator was photographed walking out holding a book titled Know Your Chemicals.

Some media outlets have shared an image reportedly of Abedi. 

8:55am

The UK's terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical.

That means a terrorist attack is considered imminent.

Theresa May has just made the announcement from Downing St.

"We again discussed the callous and cowardly terrorist attack in Manchester last night and the operational response from the security service, the police and other emergency services," she said.

"It remains the case that other than the terrorist himself, 22 people were killed in the attack, 59 people remain injured and many of them have life-threatening conditions.

"The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.

"It has now concluded, on the basis of today's investigations, that the threat level should be increased for the time being from severe to critical.

"This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent."

The raised terror threat level means up to 5000 soldiers could be deployed to help authorities. It's part of a plan named Operation Temperer.

8:00am

A taxi driver who offered free lifts to concertgoers fleeing Manchester Arena told the BBC about driving a man home who had "lost his girlfriend".

AJ Singh said the most harrowing story he had heard was that of a man whose girlfriend had died.

"I took him to the hospital, he found out his girlfriend passed away.

"He didn't have a phone, he didn't have any money, he had no way of communicating with his family."

He told the BBC children he had talked to said "it was like being in a warzone".

7:30am

A vigil in Birmingham for Manchester attack victims was disrupted by a man with a weapon. Reports said it was a knife and baseball bat but police say it ws a small axe.

"Officers spotted the man acting suspiciously and spoke to him. At this point they have arrested him," Superintendent Andy Parsons told local media.

"The man was carrying a bag, and as a precaution, Victoria Square where the vigil was being held, was cleared for around 15 minutes.

"A small axe was recovered along with a large stick."

7:00am

"As your chief constable of Greater Manchester and as a father I cannot begin to imagine how anyone can carry out such an unthinkable act - murdering 22 people and injuring 59 - and my thoughts and those of my colleague are very much with their families at this incredibly difficult time," police boss Ian Hopkins told the vigil on Tuesday (local time).

"Last night, in the most atrocious circumstances, the people of Greater Manchester showed the world how much we care. How much we care about each other and how much we were prepared to help those in need.

"And I’ve heard some tremendous stories of doctors coming in to support and police officers, ambulance workers giving up their days off turning up to help those in need."

6:00am

The suspected suicide bomber behind the deadly attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester has been identified as Manchester-born Salman Abedi.

Police have recovered CCTV footage of the suspected bomber walking into Manchester Arena, where he detonated a bomb, the Guardian reports.

It shows the explosion was a deliberate suicide blast, with the bomb carried in a bag.

Witnesses have described seeing various nuts and bolts scattered at the scene, suggesting it was a nail bomb, but this has not been verified.

Thousands have taken part in a vigil in the northern UK city's centre. 

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Manchester attack in an online statement, but there appeared to be contradictions in its account of the operation.

Theresa May has said that police and security services were looking into whether others were involved in the attack.

British police said earlier that they had arrested a 23-year old man in connection with the attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena.

"I've been talking to the police about the investigation that is continuing, and they and the security services are working, obviously, to identify whether there was a wider group of people involved in this particular incident," Ms May told BBC Television.

Ms May said the authorities will be looking at the security of venues to ensure public safety ahead of summer events including this weekend's FA Cup final at Wembley between Chelsea and Arsenal and the English rugby premiership decider at Twickenham.

Reuters / Newshub.

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