Middle-England terror cell: Police fear a SECOND bomb made by Manchester Arena suicide attacker is in the hands of his accomplices as they carry out raids across Britain to destroy the jihadi network
Fears are mounting that the Manchester suicide bomber may have built a second device that is now in the hands of jihadists.
Officers who raided the home of Salman Abedi earlier this week allegedly discovered a huge stash of explosive chemicals and other components.
The quantity of material has led to fears that he could have built more than one device and and distributed them to other British-based extremists.
Security officials are also examining the possibility that a bomb maker behind the device has fled overseas. They believe Abedi probably made the sophisticated bomb he blew himself up with mostly on his own.
But intelligence officers also believe Abedi may have had an accomplice who watched him as he entered the Manchester Arena foyer.
Bomb disposal officers were last night called to a terraced house in Wigan, where police said ‘significant items’ were discovered in the investigation into Monday’s attack A bomb disposal robot was seen in the street as residents were evacuated last night from their homes in Wigan after a home was raided by armed police
Evidence from the crime scene leaked in the US apparently pointed to a remote mobile-phone detonator with built-in redundancies to enable someone else to set it off
Evidence from the crime scene leaked in the US apparently pointed to a remote mobile-phone detonator with built-in redundancies to enable someone else to set it off.
It suggests another jihadist would have watched Abedi and was ready to blow up the explosives remotely if he backed out of the attack at the last minute. Initial analysis points to the fact Abedi did blow himself up.
The latest developments come as:
- US President Donald Trump linked terror attacks to the migration of ‘thousands and thousands’, lecturing NATO leaders over open borders
- It emerged that Theresa May will today urge world leaders to crack down on social media giants that refuse to co-operate on terror
- A Libyan anti-terror official said bomber Salman Adebi phoned his nuclear scientist mother hours before his deadly attack and said ‘forgive me’
- An NHS chief wrote to 27 major trauma teams across the country urging them to prepare for a possible terror attack over the weekend
- The parents of 15-year-old Laura MacIntyre revealed their daughter is still fighting for her life following Monday’s attack, hours after it was confirmed her best friend Eilidh MacLeod was among those killed
- Britain announced it would resume information sharing with US intelligence service following the fallout over details of the investigation being leaked to the US media
- A series of raids saw the number of arrests since Monday rise to eight, and a bomb squad was last night called to an address in Wigan
One line of inquiry is that 22-year-old bomber Salman Abedi made the bomb while at a terror training camp in a conflict zone
Police and army officers were called to Springfield Street in Wigan, where they discovered ‘potentially suspicious items’ linked to Monday’s terror attack On Wednesday night a man was arrested in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Following a series of raids across Manchester, Wigan and Nuneaton in Warwickshire, police said they had made ‘significant’ arrests and seized ‘very important’ items
Abedi could have been planning the attack for up to a year, and made at least two trips to B&Q and Screwfix stores in Manchester to buy materials used in the attack, The Times reports.
The newspaper states that he opened a bank account a year ago but did not use it until he used it to buy shrapnel used in the device which he set off on Monday.
The explosives in the bomb were also the same as those used in the Paris and Brussels attacks, a US lawmaker said. He pointed to a possible link to the same terrorist network.
He is thought to have assembled the device on Monday at a one-bedroom flat in Granby House, which is close to Manchester Piccadilly Station.
The property was raided by police on Wednesday, and police are believed to have found traces of bomb components.
Police are believed to have found bomb components in a flat in Granby House in Manchester, which is believed to have been rented by Abedi in the build-up to the suicide bombing. It is pictured during Wednesday’s terror raid A sea of flowers and tributes have been left in St Ann’s Square, in the heart of Manchester, following the terror attack which claimed 22 lives on Monday
The chair of the US House of Representatives’ homeland security committee, Mike McCaul, said Abedi’s backpack was loaded with TATP, the explosive used in Paris and Brussels.
One line of inquiry is that the 22-year-old bomber made the bomb while at a terror training camp in a conflict zone.
Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that he traveled to Syria where he met up with Islamic extremists.
They may have taught him how to develop improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – used by jihadists in the war-ravaged region.
However it is thought he had a ‘degree’ of co-operation from someone else, who is now thought to have left the country.
Sources said there were fears the extremist who helped him fled the UK prior to Monday night’s explosion, which claimed 22 innocent lives. Investigators are working around the clock to try and hunt him down.
Intelligence experts are understood to be checking CCTV footage at key ports going back 48 hours from the time of the attack to see if anyone they have files on flags up on their databases.
As they work their way through uncovering the network of Libyan-linked extremists, the security agencies are finding out more details about the different roles jihadists have played.
Eight members of a suspected Middle England Libyan terror cell were being held by police last night after a series of dramatic raids in connection with the Manchester atrocity.
They included relatives from the extended family of suicide bomber Salman Abedi and other individuals thought to be of Libyan descent.
But detectives fear further key figures of the gang are still at large – and could be preparing more atrocities.
Following a series of raids across Manchester, Wigan and Nuneaton in Warwickshire, police said they had made ‘significant’ arrests and seized ‘very important’ items.
Bomb disposal experts were this evening called to an address in Wigan which was raided in connection with the atrocity, and homes surrounding it were evacuated.
Greater Manchester Police said ‘potentially suspicious items’ were found at the terraced house, which locals say was raided by armed officers at around 1.30am.
A man had been arrested on Wednesday in Wigan, with dramatic footage showing him being marched away after being wrestled to the ground.
As counter-terrorism detectives stepped up their efforts to track down other suspects, witnesses described the dramatic moment armed officers detained a suspect at gunpoint in Nuneaton – ordering him to stay still or be shot.
The man, who was placed in a protective forensic suit before being taken away, was arrested near a block of flats after police began detailed searches of a nearby house.
Residents described how the suspect, thought by witnesses to be in his 20s or 30s, was taken away after a highly-controlled police operation lasting half an hour.
Army bomb disposal teams arrive at a college in Hulme, South Manchester, yesterday as investigations into Monday’s attack continue
As the suspect was detained and Tasered, police half a mile away also raided the home of a Libyan dissident who survived a mysterious murder attempt during a recent visit to the north African nation.
The operation targeting the residence of the 47-year-old man began on Wednesday evening. Specialist officers continue to search the £250,000 semi-detached home, which sits in a smart Nuneaton street.
The man’s 20-year-old son – one of three brothers – briefly appeared outside the family home last night. He denied that any of his relatives had been arrested, and said he did not know why his house had been targeted.
He said: ‘They barged in as soon as someone opened the door. It was terrifying.’
He said the family were being put up in a local hotel but declined to answer further questions. Meanwhile, a van driver told how he came face-to-face with suicide bomber Salman Abedi in Nuneaton weeks before the Manchester Arena massacre.
Elijah Nyamhdzadza, 40, who recognised Abedi after reading of the bombing in newspapers, said: ‘I’d know those evil eyes anywhere. He made my blood run cold.’
He added: ‘I am 100 per cent sure it was Abedi. He was so weird that day, in his tracksuit shouting at me, he was so full of rage. It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think I came face-to-face with him.’
In the early hours of this morning, counter-terror police carried out a controlled explosion at a property in the Moss Side area of Manchester, although no arrests were reported by officers.
Police also carried out searches at an address in the Withington area of Manchester yesterday morning and arrested a man. Meanwhile, detectives raided the Greater Manchester home of a family related to Abedi.
A neighbour said he saw the father of the family being taken away in handcuffs at 2.30am.
He said: ‘There was a lot of shouting and the father was put in handcuffs. The rest of the family were walked out and they were all taken away.
‘The father is very nice and I remember him being upset over 9/11 so I can’t believe he could be involved.’
The Libyan terror connection deepened after it emerged earlier this week that the Abedis reportedly once shared a Manchester house with a man who had a £20million FBI bounty on his head as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
A statement from Greater Manchester Police this evening said: ‘We made an arrest in Wigan yesterday in connection with the investigation into the incident at Manchester Arena. Following this arrest a house in Wigan was raided this morning and is currently being searched.
‘Potentially suspicious items were found at the address and a large cordon has been put in place as EOD make an assessment.
‘We have a number of officers on the ground and are evacuating people as a matter of precaution as public safety is paramount to our investigation. We are working with the local authority to accommodate those who have been evacuated.’
Police placed a wide cordon around the college and Mancunian Way, one the main traffic routes through the city, was closed
Dozens of residents were told to leave their homes shortly after 5pm, more than 16 hours after the property was originally raided.
They were eventually told they could return at around 9.10pm. The home itself is still cordoned off.
A robotic device to deal with potential explosives was seen on the scene, while children remained playing out in the streets surrounding the cordon.