The police chief leading the investigation into a suicide bombing that killed 22 people at a Manchester concert said Wednesday that the attacker had not acted alone and that authorities were trying to unravel a wider web of plotters.
“It’s very clear that this is a network we are investigating,” said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.
The comments – which came as British troops fanned out across London at prominent sites such as 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace – confirmed what other senior British officials have hinted. It also offered further insights into Britain’s decision to raise the nation’s threat level to its highest point.
In Libya, meanwhile, an official said counterterrorism authorities have arrested at least two members of the family of the bomber, Salman Abedi, including a younger brother suspected of planning an attack in Libya’s main city, Tripoli. The bomber was a British-born citizen whose parents emigrated from Libya.
Ahmed Dagdoug, spokesman for Libya’s counterterrorism Reda Force, said Hashem Abedi was arrested Tuesday and is suspected of “planning to stage an attack in Tripoli.” Abedi’s father, Ramadan, was arrested Wednesday.
Dagdoug said Hashem was also in frequent contact with his brother Salman in Manchester and was aware of the plans to attack the concert.
It was unclear whether Abedi’s family was a key part of the network planning the Manchester attack, but authorities were increasingly exploring the emerging connections between Britain and Libya.
In Britain, Hopkins said British police had taken at least five people into custody in connection with the attack since Monday night.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Griff Witte, Karla Adam, Sudarsan Raghavan