Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi flew from Turkey to the UK four days before Monday’s blast that left 22 dead, a new report says.
The British-born bombing suspect, 22, made the trip via Düsseldorf, Germany, German intel sources told the Financial Times.
Turkey’s government on Wednesday furnished British authorities with a file on Abedi, a senior Turkish official said.
A report from Germany’s Focus magazine had placed Abedi in Deutschland four days before the massacre outside an Ariana Grande concert. Authorities were investigating whether he connected with Islamic extremists there before carrying out the attack, according to security officials.
Abedi had also reportedly traveled from Frankfurt to the UK in 2015.
By Thursday, eight people remained in custody in connection with the deadly attack, including Abedi’s father and two brothers. Two arrests were made Thursday in and around Manchester.
“I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant, and initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins said in a Thursday press conference.
Abedi had been on British security service MI5’s radar as part of “a larger pool of former subjects of interest whose risk remained subject to review by MI5 and its partners,” an anonymous source told Reuters. The agency manages about 500 active investigations at any given time, the source added.
Terrorism experts now believe Abedi was part of a wider terror network and not a lone-wolf attacker.
The bomb used in the blast — which killed 22 people and injured dozens more — allegedly used TATP, the same explosive employed by ISIS extremists in the 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 carnage in Brussels.
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Associated Press the bomb suggested a “level of sophistication” in the attack.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday said progress was being made in the investigation, but that “the public should remain vigilant.”
The national threat level remains at critical — the highest possible level — meaning another attack could be imminent.
May also addressed leaks to American media — which included photos of evidence near the bomb site published by the New York Times — and said she would stress the importance of keeping intel secure during the Thursday NATO meeting with President Trump.
“I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure,” May said.
British authorities, angered over the leaks, are no longer sharing intel with the U.S., the BBC reported Thursday.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham sounded the alarm over the leaks a day earlier, telling BBC Newsnight it “worries me greatly.”
“It’s not acceptable to me that here there is a live investigation taking place and we cannot have information being put in the public domain that’s not in the direct control of the British police and security services,” Burnham said.
At least 23 people remain critically injured following the blast, and 116 people received treatment at Manchester hospitals for their injuries.
The UK on Thursday held a one-minute silence at 11 a.m. local time in tribute to the attack’s victims and their families.
With News Wire Services