Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British man of Libyan descent, has been identified as the Manchester Arena bomber, the New York Times reports. Abedi lived 3.5 miles away from the venue. He carried out the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.K. since 2005, detonating a homemade explosive that killed 22 people and injured 59 others. Abedi chose the time and place to inflict "maximum carnage" on young fans, according to British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Islamic State released a statement claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack, according to monitoring group SITE.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police identified the bomber during an afternoon press conference. He declined to provide any further details, noting that a coroner had not yet officially identified him. "The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network," Constable Hopkins said. GM Police arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the terror attack in south Manchester earlier today.
The massacre occurred around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, May 22nd after Ariana Grande's concert ended at the vast 21,000-seat venue. Waves of photos and videos pervaded social media immediately after the outside explosion was heard. The crowd was predominantly young kids, teenagers and their parents. Prime Minister May confirmed Tuesday morning that children are among those killed.
In a televised statement from London, British Prime Minister May said the incident is "beyond doubt" an "act of terror" and that Britain's terror rating is currently at severe, meaning that another act of violence could occur. "We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack," she said. "All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected."
The New York Times reports that Abedi's ID was found at the scene of the bombing, indicating that the assailant was born in Britain in 1994 and was the son of immigrants from Libya. According to his neighbours, Abedi lived with his family in a house in Elsmore Road, in the Fallowfield district. The police raided Abedi's home on Tuesday afternoon.
"They didn’t really speak to anyone," said a neighbor, Lina Ahmed, to the Times. "They were nice people if you walked past." Another neighbour, Farzana Kosur, said that Abedi's mother taught the Quran had been abroad for around two months.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Monday night: "At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions."
A "bang" was heard at 10:33 p.m. London time, after Grande had performed her last song and people began exiting the venue. Universal Music representative Joseph Carrozza told Rolling Stone the pop star was "okay." The pop star later tweeted that she was "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words." The singer has currently suspended her international Dangerous Woman tour, which was slated to continue on to London's O2 Arena.