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The Face of Hate: What we know about Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi

EDINBURGH: Police have identified the Manchester suicide bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who was born and grew up in Britain. While few details have emerged from investigators piecing together Abedi’s movements and his possible links to terror groups in the UK and elsewhere, the local media have been developing a profile of the man responsible for at least 22 deaths at the Ariana Grande concert earlier this week. Salman Abedi was born and grew up in Manchester, but has links to Libya. A local imam tells how Salman Abedi showed him the “face of hate” following a discussion about extremism at a mosque. As police probe the possibility that Abedi is part of an organised group, The Telegraph newspaper has reported that Abedi lived close to an expert bomb-maker with an estimated 300 dissidents under his control. – Jackie Cameron

What we know about Salman Abedi

The Mirror

  • Abedi, aged 22, is reportedly the son of Libyan refugees who fled from the Gaddafi regime.
  • Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 and is the second youngest of four children.
  • He grew up in the Whalley Range area, close to a local girls’ high school.
  • It is the same school of twins and former star pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, both formerly aspiring medical students, who left their homes and moved to Syria in 2015.
  • Abedi was reportedly a student at Salford University. Dr Sam Grogan, the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Student Experience, said: “All at the University of Salford are shocked and saddened by the events of last night. Our thoughts are with all those involved, their families and their friends.
Salman Abedi
Salman Abedi, pictured in The Guardian. This is the man police have identified as the Manchester suicide bomber. Born in Manchester, he is believed to have links to Libyan terror networks.

The Telegraph

  • Salman Abedi had become radicalised recently – it is not entirely clear when – and had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fund-raising for jihadists.
  • Abedi’s older brother Ismail had been a tutor at Didsbury mosque’s Koran school. The imam told The Telegraph that Salman Abedi, who wore Islamic dress, had shown him “the face of hate” when he gave a talk warning on the dangers of so-called Islamic State.
  • Born in 1994, the second youngest of four children, Abedi’s parents were Libyan refugees who fled to the UK to escape Gaddafi.
  • His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, are thought to have returned to Libya in 2011 following Gaddafi’s overthrow and are now subject to scrutiny including links to jihadists.
  • A group of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range.
  • Among them was Abd al-Baset Azzouz, a father-of-four from Manchester, who left Britain to run a terrorist network in Libya overseen by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of al-Qaeda.
  • Azzouz, 48, an expert bomb-maker, was accused of running an al-Qaeda network in eastern Libya. The Telegraph reported in 2014 that Azzouz had 200 to 300 militants under his control and was an expert in bomb-making.
  • Mohammed Saeed El-Saeiti, the imam at the Didsbury mosque, is quoted as saying: “Salman showed me the face of hate after my speech on Isis. He used to show me the face of hate and I could tell this person does not like me. It’s not a surprise to me.”
Salman Abedi
Salman Abedi: The Manchester suicide bomber showed an imam the ‘face of hate’. This picture was published by The Sun newspaper as the British media investigate who Salman Abedi is and his links to terrorism networks.

From Al Jazeera

Manchester, England – Tens of thousands of people in Manchester have rallied in a show of unity after a suicide bombing at a music concert left 22 people dead and dozens wounded.

An improvised explosive device went off late on Monday as thousands of fans streamed out of Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande performance.

Salman Abedi, 22, was identified by British police as the person who carried out the bombing.

On Tuesday, crowds gathered at Albert Square in Manchester’s city centre to pay tribute to those who were killed in the attack: Children, teenagers and parents who had come to collect them.

For some of those at the scene, the wounds of the attack were still fresh as uncertainty lingered over the fate of friends still unaccounted for.

Sairah Yassir-Deane has not heard from a school friend Martyn Hakan Hett – who had recently reconnected with her on social media – following the bombing.

“He’s got a good heart and always speaks about unity,” Yassir-Deane told Al Jazeera about Hett who was known to be at the concert.

“Hett is full of life and someone who gives everybody a reason to smile.”

Far-right Daily Mail columnist and LBC radio host Katie Hopkins tweeted earlier on Tuesday, calling for a “final solution” in response to the attack.

The comments, which evoked the Nazi euphemism for the extermination of the Jewish people, drew widespread condemnation in the UK and called for her sacking.

Hopkins deleted the tweet but later said she stood by her comments.

There was no sign of such controversies at the vigil where the mood was one of solemn defiance and unity, reflecting Manchester’s diverse demographic.

Crowd listened in near silence to those on stage, giving the occasional rounds of applause and chants of “Manchester, Manchester”.

“We are not scared of anyone,” Chris, who was taking part in the vigil, said. “There are always bad eggs. But for every bad one, there are millions of good ones.”

Tom Skinner, another Manchester local, said those responsible would not succeed in dividing the city.

“People have opened up their homes, given free taxi rides and queued up en masse to give blood,” he said.

“This is classic Manchester – responding with solidarity, love and industriousness. The attacker wanted to hurt us and we are hurting. But more than that, he wanted to divide us.”

Following the bombing, hundreds of people took to Facebook and Twitter to help out those affected. In addition to food and lifts to their destination, locals opened up their homes to those who needed a place.

A minicab company also offered free rides to safe locations to all of those affected.

After learning about the attack, Naveed Arshad, owner of Street Cars Manchester, committed 35 drivers to the relief effort.

Those caught up in the attack were taken to safe places by the derivers, even to their homes in cities as far away as Chester, which is 65km from Manchester.

“We tried our best, our phones went crazy, we just wanted to help as many of those who were stuck and didn’t know what what to do,” said Arshad.

“There were a lot of children there and they were disorientated trying to find their parents. At the same time, we had parents calling the office trying to find out where their kids were.”

Speaking shortly after the vigil, Skinner said the city’s residents could have “filled Manchester’s biggest square three times over”.

“It’s not going to happen. They won’t win,” he said, refering to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group which claimed responsiblity for the attack.

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