This image of Hashem Abedi, the younger brother Salman Abedi, holding a firearm has surfaced.
This image of Hashem Abedi, the younger brother Salman Abedi, holding a firearm has surfaced. Supplied

Two more men arrested over Manchester suicide bombing

TWO more men have been arrested in relation to the horror Manchester attack.

The Greater Manchester Police have confirmed eight men are now in custody.

A woman who was arrested on Wednesday evening has since been released without charge.

One was of the new arrests was made after police searched an address in the Withington area, in south Manchester.

The father and two brothers of the Manchester suicide bomber have been arrested over their alleged links to Islamic State.

Salman Abedi's younger brother Hashem, who was detained in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Tuesday night, was allegedly planning to carry out a separate terrorist attack there.

"We have evidence that he is involved in Daesh (Islamic State) with his brother. We have been following him for more than one month and a half," a spokesman for a local counter-terrorism force told Reuters.

"He was in contact with his brother and he knew about the attack."

The Tripoli-based anti-terrorism Special Deterrent Force said Hashem, 20, confessed that both he and Salman were a part of IS.

Salman's father, Ramadan Abedi, was also detained by Libyan authorities on Wednesday.

He was taken away by a masked gunman while professing his son's innocence in a TV interview, UK newspaper the Express reported.

The arrests in Tripoli follow the earlier arrest of Salman's other brother Ismail, 23, in Manchester.


Meanwhile, a desperate search is on for the man who built the nail bomb that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday night, as fears grow that a second attack is imminent.

Salman Abedi was a "mule" used to carry out the attack and the bomb maker is still at large, a police source told the Manchester Evening News.

"They don't waste bomb makers," he said.

"The reason we have gone to critical is because he is still out there and the fear is that he will strike again before they get caught."

British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the country's terror threat level from "severe" to "critical", meaning authorities expect another attack is imminent.

Greater Manchester Police have declined to comment on the search for the bombmaker officially, but confirmed that Mr Abedi did not act alone in carrying out his deadly attack on concertgoers after the US pop stars performance in the city in England's northeast.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the level of police activity in the investigation was "intense and is continuing at a fast pace".

"I think it's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating and, as I said, it continued at a pace, there's extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester as we speak," he told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.


The Manchester bomber returned from a mysterious trip just days before he detonated the bomb inside Manchester Arena.

It has been revealed that Salman Abedi took a three-week trip to Libya, where his parents hail from, and then carried out the terrorist attack just days after he returned to Manchester.

Police and intelligence officers are now investigating why the suicide bomber took the trip and who he met there.

There are also reports in the British media that Mr Abedi recently visited Syria, a hot bed for Islamic State.

The new details come after police confirmed that Mr Abedi, 22, was not a lone-wolf terrorist but was, in fact, part of a "network".

Mr Abedi died in Monday night's attack, but police have since arrested eight people in connection with the atrocity. Among them is Mr Abedi's brother, Ismail, 23.

A woman was arrested late Wednesday after an armed raid on a block of flats in the Manchester suburb of Blackley, but has been released.

Cops also picked up a man that afternoon in the suburb of Wigan carrying a suspicious package.

Earlier in the day, heavily armed police swooped on an apartment block in Manchester's city centre as part of their efforts to establish who may have helped Mr Abedi carry out the horrific bombing.

Police blocked off Granby Row and temporarily shut down a railway line as dozens of officers in body armour carrying machine guns raided the apartment block.

Witnesses told CNN they heard a loud bang as the police descended, which was a controlled explosion that allowed officers to gain access to the property.

Residents of the apartment block were evacuated, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Neighbours told the paper that it was believed the flat was being rented out to people via the website Airbnb.

IS has claimed responsibility for Monday night's attack.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Mr Abedi was known to British intelligence services and police "up to a point".

But France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb went further, telling French TV that intelligence operatives believed he had travelled to Syria and had "proven" links with IS.

"All of a sudden he travelled to Libya and then most likely to Syria, became radicalised and decided to commit this attack," he told BFM television.


Before his arrest in Libya, the father of the Manchester suicide bomber defended his son, insisting he is innocent of carrying out the attack.

"We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us," Ramadan Abedi told the Associated Press from Tripoli, Libya.

"We aren't the ones who blow up ourselves among innocents. We go to mosques. We recite Koran, but not that."

He said his son sounded "normal" when they spoke five days ago and said his son was planning a visit to Saudi Arabia.

"There was nothing worrying at all until two days ago (when) I heard the news that they suspect he was the bomber," he said.

Mr Abedi senior denied that his son had ever been to Syria.


Fifteen people have now been named among the 22 people who died in Monday night's attack, the youngest of whom was eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, died in the Manchester Arena attack. Picture: Adam J Brown/Facebook
Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, died in the Manchester Arena attack. Picture: Adam J Brown/Facebook Supplied

Police have also confirmed that an off-duty female police officer was also killed in the bombing, but she has not been named.

"Very sadly I can confirm one of the victims was a serving officer," Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police said.

"In respecting the families' wishes, I will make no further comment at this stage."

The BBC reported that the officer was a mother of two.

Her husband and two children are all believed to have been injured in the attack.

Manchester health authorities say 64 people remain in hospital, with 20 of those in a critical condition.

"I would also like to confirm that we have spoken to all of the families of those that lay injured in our hospitals and of course we are doing all that we can to support all of them too," Chief Constable Hopkins said.