June 3, 2017

ENGLAND: Islamist Suicide Bomber With Explosives Filled With Nails Detonated Outside Of Ariana Grande Concert Ended Targeting Women And Children 2 Weeks Ago. 22 MURDERED, 60 Injured.

The Guardian, UK
written by Mark Townshend
Saturday June 3, 2017 at 15:40 EDT

A 24-year-old man is the 17th person to be detained in connection with last month’s Manchester bombing.

The latest arrest occurred in the Rusholme area of south Manchester, which has become a focus for police tracking the movements of Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena.

Of the 17 arrests since the attack on 22 May, 11 men aged between 18 and 44 remain in custody on suspicion of terrorism offences and six others have been released without charge. The latest man was detained on suspicion of offences contrary to the Terrorism Act.

Friday night’s arrest came hours after officers seized a car in Rusholme which they said could provide a “significant development” in the ongoing investigation into whether Abedi, a Mancunian of Libyan descent, had relied on a wider network or acted largely alone.

Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes and workplaces while bomb disposal experts examined a white Nissan Micra, before it was towed away.

The car was found close to Banff Road, near an address counter-terrorism police believe Abedi visited in the days leading up to the attack. Last week, CCTV images from the same area were released showing Abedi, 22, hauling a blue suitcase in the days leading up to the bombing.

Reports emerged on Saturday that during a trip to Libya last month Abedi made contact with members of an Islamic State unit linked to the 2015 Paris terrorist attack. According to testimony from current and retired intelligence officials, Abedi met members of the Katibat al-Battar al-Libi, an Isis unit based in Syria, who had travelled to Tripoli.

Officers are also looking into the nature of two visits made by Abedi to Abdal Raouf Abdallah at Altcourse Prison in Liverpool in March.

Abdallah was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in July 2016 after trying to help four people – including an RAF veteran – travel to Syria to fight against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

On Friday, two of Abedi’s cousins, Isaac and Abz Forjani, said they had no idea he was planning the attack. Both men were questioned by anti-terrorism police for a week but were released without charge.
The Telegraph, UK
written by Robert Mendick, chief reporter, Martin Evans, and Victoria Ward
Saturday May 27, 2017

The Manchester suicide bomber used taxpayer-funded student loans and benefits to bankroll the terror plot, police believe.

Salman Abedi is understood to have received thousands of pounds in state funding in the run up to Monday’s atrocity even while he was overseas receiving bomb-making training.

Police are investigating Abedi’s finances, including how he paid for frequent trips to Libya where he is thought to have been taught to make bombs at a jihadist training camp.

Abedi’s finances are a major ‘theme’ of the police inquiry amid growing alarm over the ease with which jihadists are able to manipulate Britain’s welfare and student loans system to secure financing.

One former detective said jihadists were enrolling on university courses to collect the student loans “often with no intention of turning up”.

Abedi was given at least £7,000 from the taxpayer-funded Student Loans Company after beginning a business administration degree at Salford University in October 2015.

It is thought he received a further £7,000 in the 2016 academic year even though by then he had already dropped out of the course. Salford University declined to say if it had informed the Student Loans Company that Abedi’s funding should have been stopped.

Separately, the Department for Work and Pensions refused to say if Abedi had received any benefits, including housing benefit and income support worth up to £250 a week, during 2015 and 2016. It would only say he was not claiming benefits in the weeks before the attack.

Abedi, 22, never held down a job, according to neighbours and friends, but was able to travel regularly between the UK and Libya.

Abedi also had sufficient funds to buy materials for his sophisticated bomb while living in a rented house in south Manchester.

Six weeks before the bombing Abedi rented a second property in a block of flats in Blackley eight miles from his home, paying £700 in cash.

He had enough money to rent a third property in the centre of Manchester from where he set off with a backpack containing the bomb.

Abedi also withdrew £250 in cash three days before the attack and transferred £2,500 to his younger brother Hashim in Libya, who is accused of knowing about the attack in advance.

A Student Loans Company spokesman said: “It would not be appropriate for the Student Loans Company to respond to media requests for information that may be relevant to the ongoing police investigation.
The Telegraph, UK
written by Nicola Harley Adam Nathan
Saturday June 3, 2017 at 10:00 PM

he Manchester bomber is suspected of being 'remote controlled' by an Isil terror group behind the Paris and Brussels attacks, Libyan security sources have told the Telegraph.

Salman Abedi is understood to have made calls to two mobile phone numbers based in Libya, which were not registered to his family, moments before the massacre that killed 22 people.

"He called two Libyan men before the attack," said the source in Libya.

He is being investigated by Libyan authorities over fears he was 'remote controlled' by 'virtual plotters' in the country who coached and goaded him into carrying out the atrocity.

However, British investigators said they believe Abedi was acting alone.

Abedi, 22, has been connected to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) terror group Katibat al-Battar al-Libi, based in Libya, which is credited with being behind a number of attacks in Europe, including the Paris attacks which left 129 people dead and dozens injured after coordinated attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and the Saint-Denis Stadium. Two senior US intelligence officials told the New York Times that Abedi was in contact with al-Battar members both on his visits to Tripoli and by phone while in the UK.

It comes as US officials said explosives used in the Manchester bombing were the same as those used in the Paris and Brussels attacks.

A security source has told the Telegraph that Abedi made five calls just before setting off the explosion.

After calling his parents separately and speaking to his brother Hashem, his final calls were to two Libyan men who the police are understood to be urgently investigating over their suspected links to the al-Battar terror cell.

"The suspicion is that these guys were also part of the plot and either knew about it beforehand or were actively encouraging Abedi to carry out the attack," said the Libyan security source.

According to Libya security sources, an Islamic School attended by Abedi and his brother Hashem in Libya is a recruiting pool for Al Qaeda and Isil and for foreign fighters.

"They indoctrinate teenagers at this school and then the terrorist recruiters take their pick," said a security source in Tripoli.

It is here that Abedi is thought to have been introduced to the al-Battar Battalion, which included associates of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before coming into the control of Isil.

British authorities have been exploring links between Abedi, who grew up in Manchester but had travelled to and from Libya since 2011, with terrorist networks across Europe and north Africa.

Investigators say Abedi's radicalisation began in Manchester, where he was raised by his father Ramadan, who was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and linked to Al Qaeda.

It is believed up to 65 al-Battar Battalion fighters have returned to the UK from Libya, more than 40 to France and 30 to Belgium.

"We have been working with European partners including the UK in identifying al-Battar returning fighters and passing their names to the authorities," said a Libyan counter terrorism source.

One of the most prominent members of the al-Battar Battalion is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is believed to have masterminded the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Nathaniel Barr, a terrorism analyst at Valens Global who is an expert in virtual plotters, said in similar Isil suicide bombings evidence has been found of communications between the attacker and an invisible plotter miles away from the scene.

“If you look at the communications between the attackers and the virtual plotters, you will see that there is a direct line of communication to the point where they are egging them on minutes, even seconds, before the individual carries out an attack," he told the NYT.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said they were unable to confirm or deny Abedi's contact with the terror group as it was an ongoing investigation.

On Friday evening, police in Manchester arrested their 17th suspect in connection with the terror attack. The 24-year-old was arrested after the Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal team were scrambled to a white Nissan Micra parked close to Devell House.

Police said officers were examining the link between the 24-year-old suspect and the Micra. Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said: "This is potentially a significant development in the investigation."

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