Manchester police names bomb suspect hours after US leaks

Manchester police names bomb suspect hours after US leaks
Salman Abedi is believed to be the bomber behind Monday night's attack on an Ariana Grande concert, police have said, hours after US intelligence agencies leaked the name to media.
2 min read
23 May, 2017
British police confirmed the name after US officials gave it to reporters [Getty]

US intelligence officials are being criticised for what appears to be a series of leaks of information regarding investigations into Monday night's Manchester bombing.

Washington's spy chiefs are understood to be helping their British colleagues with finding out more about the attack that targeted mostly teenage and pre-teen children leaving a pop concert at the Manchester Arena.

But when US media made a series of releases - including the name of the suspect - ahead of their British counterparts, questions were raised about the sourcing of information in stories which cited US officials.
"In this case, I suspect the Brits are livid," one Belgian counterterrorism officer told Buzzfeed News. "I know we would be, to have a suspect [identified] before they're ready, and obviously the recent performance of the Trump administration can't be far from anyone's mind."

It was nearly three and a half hours after CBS News named the suspect as Salman Abedi that Greater Manchester Police were willing to release the name to the public.

"However, he has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn't wish therefore to comment further," said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

"The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network."

A 23-year-old man was arrested in a Manchester suburb on Tuesday afternoon, and a raid on a home in Fallowfield involved "a controlled explosion" to enable police to enter the building, understood to be Abedi's home.

A crowdfunding project set up by the Manchester Evening News for the families of the victims hit its £50,000 target within hours and had passed £500,000 by around 6pm (GMT).

"The M.E.N's fundraising campaign has been very, very important and raised thousands," a spokesperson for the city centre said.

Salman Ramadan Abedi, 22, was from Manchester. His parents had fled the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

"Salman? I'm astonished by this," one member of Manchester's Libyan community told The Guardian. "He was such a quiet boy, always very respectful towards me."

He is believed to have murdered 22 people and injured 59 others.

A statement from the Islamic State group described those killed, including eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, as "crusaders".