Police ID Man Suspected Of Carrying Out Deadly Attack At Ariana Grande Concert In Manchester

MANCHESTER, England (CBSNewYork) — Police in Manchester have confirmed the identity of the man who they believe was behind an attack at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people and injured dozens more.

“I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity is 22-year-old Salman Abedi,” Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins said Tuesday. “However, he has not yet been formally named by the coroner and I would not wish to comment further about him.”

MANCHESTER CONCERT ATTACK: Latest | Photos | Videos

CBS News sources confirmed that Abedi was known to British authorities. Hopkins said the priority of investigators is now ” to establish whether he was acting alone or working as part of a larger network.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said the U.S. has not verified that information.

“ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Manchester,” Coats told lawmakers Tuesday while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Although they claim responsibly for virtually every attack, we have not verified yet the connection.”

ISIS said Tuesday that one of its members carried out the attack, but the statement did not identify the bomber and some of the facts about the incident appeared wrong, CBS News reported.

It said “a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings.” Officials have said there was only one explosion and there was no indication that other devices were found at or near the arena, according to CBS News.

The group also said the “30 Crusaders were killed and 70 others were wounded,” which are different numbers than what authorities in Manchester have confirmed. Police have said 22 people were killed and 59 others were hurt.

Police said a 23-year-old man has also been arrested in connection with the attack, but released few details, saying only that he was in South Manchester.

The blast happened around 10:30 p.m. Monday local time just after Grande had wrapped up her sold-out concert in the venue with more than 20,000 people in attendance, many of them young girls.

The explosion rocked the concert hall as fans were exiting the Manchester Arena, sending thousands of frightened people running for cover.

“As soon as I heard the bang, I just decided to run,” said concertgoer Abigail Lunt. “I didn’t know what to do.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack “stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice.”

“It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack,” May said. “An attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.”

Law enforcement officials tell CBS News that the apparent suicide bomber took a train to nearby Victoria station. Police believe the bomber entered the arena through a subway station, detonating the bomb near the ticket area just as people were leaving the concert.

Investigators say that the bomb contained nails and that ball bearings have been recovered, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported. Police say the attacker was among those whose bodies was found at the arena and said they believe the attack “was conducted by one man.”

Authorities said Tuesday that among those killed was an 8-year-old girl, Saffie Roussos. Also killed was a teenage student, Georgina Callander, CBS News reported. Of the 59 injured, medical officials said 12 were children under the age of 16.

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“This has been the most horrific incident we have ever faced here in greater Manchester, one that we all hoped we would never see,” said Hopkins. “Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and very sadly lost their lives.”

President Donald Trump spoke about the explosion Tuesday morning from the West Bank, where he was delivering a joint statement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers,” the president said. “The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever.”

The president also called those responsible “losers” and called on “all civilized nations” to help “obliterate this evil ideology.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted Tuesday that Trump spoke with May “to offer condolences and support on behalf of the US.”

Grande, who was not injured, tweeted: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”

Police are now combing through surveillance video, trying to trace the attacker’s steps.

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