Isis claims responsibility for Manchester terror attack

Isis has claimed responsibility for the Manchester bombing in which at least 22 people were killed at a concert.

The claim comes via the terror group’s central media arm.

The suspected suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens at a concert in Manchester has been identified as a British-Libyan man name Salman Abedi.

Twenty-two people were killed – many of them expected to be young – after a bomb exploded at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late on Monday night.

It is the worst terror attack on British soil since the 7/7 bombings in 2005.

Read more: Everything we know about Salman Abedi

Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area where earlier today police could be seen outside a block of flats.

In June 2014, it emerge that twin sisters, schoolgirls Salma and Zahra Halane, also form the Whalley Range area, had fled to join the so-called Islamic State where they had married jihadist fighters.

Local residents who live on the red-bricked semi-detached street said they know little about the person or persons who reside at the address.

Earlier, Theresa May said he had chosen the time and place of his attack deliberately to cause “maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately”.

There is nothing to confirm that Isis directed the attack at the moment and experts have warned jihadists often make this claim in order that supporters share propaganda messages and images.

US intelligence chiefs have also insisted the claim had yet to be verified.

US director of national intelligence Dan Coats told the senate armed services committee the atrocity was “tragic” and a reminder of the real threat faced by the West and its allies.

Mr Coats said: “Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack in Manchester, although they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.

“We have not verified yet the connection.”

Mrs May, who was later travelling to Manchester to speak to police chiefs, paid tributes to emergency workers and members of the public who rushed to help. She said they had shown: “The spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain – a spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.”

Earlier, a 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack.

The arrest was announced just moments after the Prime Minister condemned the “appalling sickening cowardice” of the lone suicide bomber who detonated a homemade device in the foyer of the Manchester Arena just as thousands of young people were leaving a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande.

Images from inside the Manchester Arena showed concert-goers fleeing in terror
Images from inside the Manchester Arena showed concert-goers fleeing in terror

Declaring that police and security services would be given whatever resources were needed to track down any accomplices of the attacker, Mrs May vowed: “The terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail.”

Greater Manchester Police said in a statement: “With regards to the ongoing investigation into last night’s horrific attack at the Manchester Arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester.”

The working theory is that the perpetrator who triggered the blast – that killed 22 people and injured 59 others outside the Manchester arena – was working alone.

However, the national police counter-terror network, assisted by MI5, are urgently piecing together his background to see whether he had any help in planning the outrage.

Police are trying to determine whether the terrorist was working alone (PA)
Police are trying to determine whether the terrorist was working alone (PA)
The attacker struck after an Ariana Grande concert (PA)
The attacker struck after an Ariana Grande concert (PA)

They will be looking to build a picture of the attacker’s movements both in recent weeks and months as well as immediately before the strike.

Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at security think tank the Royal United Services Institute, said: “The most important point is that police have found the body of what they believe to be the lone suicide attacker.

“If they have identified him, they will be able to begin establishing his movements, his contacts, and his background.

MORE: Manchester attack: Mother breaks down while making desperate appeal for missing daughter
MORE: How Manchester previously faced terror attack in huge 1996 IRA blast

“This, in turn, will help establish whether he acted alone, in concert with a small number of other conspirators, or as part of a larger network.

“The method of attack is likely to downgrade the likelihood that this was perpetrated by a far-right individual or group, as they have not typically used suicide bombers.”