British counterterrorism agents say many of Manchester arena suicide bomber's confederates in custody

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

British police announced yesterday they believe they have arrested most of the confederates of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester this Monday, killing 22 and injuring 116, of whom 23 were still in critical condition. As of this morning, eleven people were being held for questioning. One woman and one teenage boy were questioned and released. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain's counterterrorism chief, reassured the public yesterday.

"Enjoy yourselves and be reassured by the greater policing presence you will see," said Rowley. "We can't let the terrorists win by dissuading us from going about our normal business." However, the official threat level of critical, indicating another attack may be imminent, is still in place this weekend. Officers equipped with firearms, which are not as common in the United Kingdom as in the United States, patrol some streets and beaches.

Police and other experts said they believe Abedi, 22, could not have built such a sophisticated bomb by himself and must have had accomplices. The nuts and bolts inside it had been arranged with care to cause maximum damage, as if the person who made it had some experience.

"I think he saw children, Muslim children, dying everywhere," Abedi's sister Jomana told reporters concerning her brother's motives. "He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge. Whether he got that is between him and God." According to CNN, a friend of the Abedi family said Abedi wanted revenge for the gang killing of a friend.

Several members of the Muslim community in Manchester, including the imam of his local mosque, had contacted authorities about Abedi, who had been expressing extremist and violent views for some time.

Abedi was born and raised in Manchester to parents who fled Gaddafi-era Libya. His father returned there after the 2011 regime change and Abedi and his mother and brother joined him later. Abedi reportedly returned to the United Kingdom shortly before the bombing.

"[T]here has been enormous progress with the investigation, but still an awful lot of work to do" Manchester police chief constable Ian Hopkins told the press. He also said the rate of hate crimes in his jurisdiction had nearly doubled this week, from 28 daily to 56.