Manchester police chief says investigation involves ‘a network’

LONDON— New information on the bombing at a pop concert in Manchester that left 22 people dead.

Manchester's police chief has told reporters that it is clear "this is a network we are investigating" as he gave an update on the probe into the bomb attack at a pop concert in the city.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said Wednesday that police are carrying out extensive searches across Manchester as part of their probe.

Hopkins declined to comment on whether police have found the alleged maker of the explosive device used in Monday night's attack.

His comments followed media reports that the alleged bomber, Salman Abedi, acted as a "mule" for others.

Hopkins says a serving police officer was among the 22 people confirmed killed in the attack.
He confirmed that a total of four suspects have been detained so far.

Witnesses say they heard explosions as police raided a block of flats in central Manchester following Monday's attack.

Manchester Police said officers briefly closed a railway line on Wednesday to carry out a search as part of the investigation into the deadly bombing at the Ariana Grande concert Monday.

Residents described how armed police and men clad in balaclavas stormed the Granby House building, an apartment block where rented apartments are popular with students and young professionals.

Muye Li, a 23-year-old student who lives on the third floor, says he heard an explosion as police stormed an apartment on his floor.

He says officers knocked on his door and "asked me if I had seen the lady next door," and believed police were looking for a woman.

A former Libyan security official says the father of the alleged Manchester arena bomber was allegedly member of a former al-Qaida-backed group in Libya.

Former Libyan security official Abdel-Basit Haroun said Wednesday he personally knew Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman Abedi, and that the elder Abedi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting group in the 1990s. The group had links to al-Qaida.

Although the LIFG disbanded, Haroun says the father belongs to the Salafi Jihadi movement, the most extreme sect of Salafism and from which al-Qaida and the Islamic State group hail.
Haroun says Abedi, also known as Abu Ismail, had returned to the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Ramadan Abedi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Tripoli that his family "aren't the ones who blow up ourselves among innocents."

The father of the alleged Manchester arena attacker denies his son is linked to militants or the suicide bombing that killed 22 people.

Ramadan Abedi says he spoke to his 22-year-old son, Salman Abedi, five days ago and he was getting ready to visit Saudi Arabia and sounded "normal."

He said that his son visited Libya a month-and-a -half ago.

The elder Abedi told The Associated Press by telephone from Tripoli: "We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us."

He said his other son, Ismail, was arrested in England on Tuesday morning.

He said Salman was planning to head from Saudi Arabia to Libya to spend the holy month of Ramadan with family.

Abedi fled Tripoli in 1993 after Moammar Gadhafi's security authorities issued an arrest warrant and eventually sought political asylum in Britain.

Now, he is the administrative manager of the Central Security force in Tripoli.

Manchester United fans are congregating in Stockholm's city center, dominating bars and singing songs ahead of their team's match against Ajax in the Europa League.

A flag outside a bar in the Swedish capital displayed the words: "United against terrorism. Lest we forget 22.05.17" — the date of Monday's suicide bombing in the English city of Manchester.