Manchester terror investigation branched out in multiple directions

Sohail Iqbal

Manchester, UK

Race to trace the Manchester bomber’s network continues with multiple raids by counter-terrorism detectives across England has also extended investigation to other parts of the world.
As detectives close in on Manchester bomber’s network, Salman Abedi links to Europe has also emerged besides his dubious connections in Syria and Libya.
Ten days has passed since Abedi detonated a backpack bomb in one of the entrances to the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and injuring dozens of others at the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.
Abedi is understood to have been on a list of 20,000 individuals said to have been considered “subjects of interest” to security services in the past, but not among 3,000 suspects into which about 500 investigations are being conducted.
MI5 has launched two urgent inquiries into how it missed the danger posed by Abedi amid claims that his possible interest in being a potential terrorist killer was repeatedly reported to the authorities.
British police have resumed “working closely” with US authorities on the Manchester bombing investigation after a tense showdown between the allies over leaked intelligence.
Security expert said that International reach by the investigators means that some characters have emerged outside U.K who are alleged to be Involved in Manchester terrorist attack on May 22.
British media reported that one suspect could be logistic expert based in Brussels known only as Obaida and who, it is believed, may have acted as a crucial cog in the support network of an active Manchester cell over several years, enabling terrorists to flit through European Capitals and on to Libya, Syria and back.
Obaida first came to the attention of the British security services year ago during an investigation into Salman Abedi’s friend, Abdalrauf Abdulah, a Libyan refugee who was sentenced to five and a half years for “facilitating the movements of terrorists across mainland Europe.
Detectives have arrested the chief executive of a Libyan marketplace website and raided more houses in an effort to close in on the Manchester bomber’s network. Several houses in different areas of Greater Manchester, Chester, & Cheshire, were searched by counter-terrorism detectives. Police officers are also searching a landfill site in Pilsworth, near Bury. Fourteen men remain in custody.
Manchester’s chief constable Ian Hopkins confirmed that the investigation had made “significant progress” with dismantling the network behind Britain’s worst terror attack in more than a decade.
So far, 14 locations across Greater Manchester have been searched among them doors of few were blown off before being stroked by police.
Detective Chief superintendent Russ Jackson from the North-West Counter Terrorism Unit said: “We continue to track the final movements of Salman Abedi and particularly interested in his whereabouts between 18 and 22 May 2017.
Investigators have also released an image of Abedi carrying a distinctive blue suitcase in an area around busy Wilmslow Road (famous curry mile) and his presence with the same suitcase at Manchester City centre.
It is also learnt that the detectives have approached technology firms to help access machines and are expected to “amass hundred of electronic devices” during the investigation into Abedi’s terror cell.
Detective Chief Superintendent while updating media told: “we have had over one thousand officers working on this investigation to piece together what happened and to understand if others have been involved”.
He added:”The scale of investigation is enormous with over 7000 entries on our action log, which capture our lines of enquiry, within the Counter Terrorism Control room. We have almost 300 pieces of digital equipment, including phones, which we are working through and hundreds of witnesses to contact and take statement from”.

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