Greater Manchester Police have released stills from CCTV footage taken on Monday night, showing the Manchester Arena bomber, Salman Abedi, just before the deadly attack which killed 22 people and injured dozens others.
The pictures show the suicide bomber on his way to the arena wearing jeans and trainers, a black jacket, baseball cap, and a rucksack containing the alleged bomb that he detonated following Ariana Grande’s concert.
Detectives and security chiefs are concentrating their investigation on the city centre flat in Granby Row which they believe Abedi used as a launch pad for the massacre.
Detectives have revealed Abedi, the British-born son of Libyan parents, had been identified at the attacker by specialist counter terrorist forensic teams within two hours of the attack.
They said in their statement that they have now gathered ‘significant information’ about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, and how the device was built and the wider conspiracy – however have not elaborated on their findings.
More than 1,000 officers are now working on the investigation and Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they are pursuing more than 1,500 enquiry lines.
A total of 13 have so far been arrested on suspicion of terrorism – although two have been released without charge – in the UK since Monday. And in Libya, Abedi’s father and younger brother have also been detained.
GMP say 17 warrants have been carried out at addresses, mainly in Great Manchester, with 14 locations still being searched.
Detectives and anti-terrorism bosses were said to have a ‘greater understanding’ of the way Abedi built the device which detonated in a crowd of concert-goers on Monday.
The Manchester bomber, who recently returned from Libya, is thought to have planned the devastating Arena attack for at least a year – and visited DIY stores in Manchester twice to buy screws and nails to make the device, according to reports.
A joint statement from GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, senior national coordinator for UK Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “Today we are releasing an image of Salman Abedi taken from CCTV on the night he committed the attack.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 27, 2017
The UK’s terror threat level has been reduced as police unravel the bomb-making methods of Abedi and close in on suspected co-conspirators.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced today that troops will gradually be withdrawn from the streets from Monday onwards, having been drafted in to bolster police numbers.
Currently 11 people remain in police custody after a raid on an address on Brideoak Street in Cheetham Hill saw a 20-year-old and a 22-year-old detained on suspicion of terror offences.
A terraced house on Boscombe Street in Moss Side was also cordoned off by officers.
Anyone with information should call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline in confidence on 0800 789321 and any images or video footafe can be upload toor .”