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Manchester bomber may have been acting alone, say UK police

Salman Abedi probably bought key bomb components himself and many of his actions were carried out alone, police say
Police said Salman Abedi probably sourced the bomb parts himself (supplied)

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi probably bought most of the key bomb components himself and many of his actions were carried out alone, British police investigating the attack said.

"Our inquiries show Abedi himself made most of the purchases of the core components," said Russ Jackson, the head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit. 

"What is becoming apparent is that many of his movements and actions have been carried out alone during the four days from him landing in the country and committing this awful attack."

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Jackson added that police had "a good understanding" of where the bomb equipment came from, but refused to divulge details.

Police have been probing Abedi's last movements by delving into his phone calls and watching his movements on closed-circuit television.

According to a Guardian report, the North West Counter Terrorism Unit is investigating 300 items and 3,000 inquires.

Analysts have said that the bomb Abedi used was likely sophisticated and would have required a level of skill to package all the pieces together.

The detonator of Abedi's bomb (supplied)

According to Will Geddes, a British security specialist, the detonator used in the Manchester bomb was a "specially acquired piece of equipment … [that] suggests it was well put together and packaged, and professionally assembled", he told the Guardian last week.

Officers were still trying to determine whether Abedi was part of a wider network, which could not be ruled out yet.

"It is vital that we make sure that he is not part of a wider network and we cannot rule this out yet. There remain a number of things that concern us about his behaviour prior to the attack and those of his associates which we need to get to the bottom of," said Jackson.

Officers in the northern English city have arrested 16 people since the attack in a packed concert hall killed 22 children and adults and injured 116 others last week.

Manchester police on Wednesday released without charge one of the men arrested in connection with the attack. A total of ten men remain in custody.

"We still have a number of people in custody and we will be seeking to extend the custody of some of them as we work to understand what has gone on and whether Abedi was helped," said Jackson.

"The release of some people can be expected in investigations of this nature as we corroborate accounts that have been provided."

On Tuesday, British police have said that the Manchester concert bomber was not known to the controversial Prevent anti-radicalisation programme.

Speaking on BBC Radio Manchester, Ian Hopkins, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said that Salman Abedi was only known to police over “relatively minor matter”, including receiving stolen goods, theft and a minor assault.

Despite earlier reports that Abedi had been reported to police over his radicalisation, Hopkins said this had not been raised with local authorities.

“There’s been a lot of reporting and people commenting that he was reported to us on a number of occasions,” said Hopkins.

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