[P]OLICE officers investigating the Manchester Arena terrorist attack which killed 22 people and left 119 injured have today released two CCTV images of the bomber, Salman Abedi, 22, taken from CCTV on the night he committed the attack.
Security chiefs believe the deadly device detonated by Salman Abedi was built by other ISIS fanatics in a city centre flat.
Abedi, who US officials said was identified by a bank card found among his remains, detonated a nail bomb on Monday night killing 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert, with many of his victims being youngsters.
Since Monday night Greater Manchester Police and Counter Terrorism Policing North West have been working closely with the national counter terrorism policing network on what continues to be a large scale and fast-moving investigation.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Coordinator UK Counter Terrorism Policing said: “We are gathering a detailed picture of Abedi as the investigation develops and now need people to tell us if they have any information about his movements from 18 May when he returned to the UK through to Monday night.
“The investigation is making good progress and we know one of the last places Abedi went was the city centre flat and from there he left to make his way to the Manchester Arena. The flat is highly relevant as a location which we believe may be the final assembly place for the device.
“We have 14 locations that are still being searched and there are 13 people that have been arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to the Terrorism Act. In total 17 warrants have been carried out mainly across Greater Manchester.
“We immediately established full command and control of the incident and within an hour of the attack taking place a specialist counter terrorism control room had been established with a first priority of identifying the attacker. Specialist counter terrorist forensic teams were sent to try and identify the attacker and within two hours his identity was known. With this information officers could begin to establish his movements to try and understand if anyone else was linked or any more attacks planned.
“Firearms officers from across the country were deployed to support Greater Manchester Police colleagues who were already deployed to the area in case of a further attack.
“We called in officers from around the national counter terrorism policing network and they quickly arrived from across the UK. By early Tuesday morning there was an established pattern with all officers and staff working on the response to the attack in day and night shifts of approximately 14 hours each.
“The whole team are working round-the-clock. We have around 1,000 people involved in the investigation alone. In addition there are hundreds of officers and staff from Greater Manchester Police and other forces involved in the security around Greater Manchester.
“In the past five days we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy. As a result of the arrests and searches which have taken place we now have many further lines of enquiry. We already have more than 1,500 actions we are pursuing.
“This is still a live investigation which is not slowing down. Our priorities are to understand the run up to this terrible event and to understand if more people were involved in planning this attack.
“Anyone with information should call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline in confidence on 0800 789321. If you have any images or footage that you believe can assist us then upload them to Ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk or Ukpoliceimageappeal.com.”
Prime Minister Theresa May announced today that the UK threat level has reduced from Critical to Severe.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, said: “The change in the national threat level from critical to severe does not alter our response to Monday’s horrific attack, which claimed so many innocent lives.
“The level of resources we have available to us remains the same as we continue to take positive action so you will notice additional officers, including armed officers, on patrol especially at a number of events this weekend to ensure the security and safety of everyone but it’s important that people remain alert and vigilant.”