Police name Manchester suicide bomber, security measures tighten worldwide

Twitter accounts affiliated to jihadists have posted celebratory messages, with some users encouraging similar attacks

People take part in a vigil for the victims of an attack on concert goers at Manchester Arena

MANCHESTER, England — British police on Tuesday identified the suicide bomber who killed 22 people, including children, in an attack on a crowded concert hall in Manchester, England, and said they were trying to establish whether he had acted alone or with help from others.The suspected attacker was identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. Two U.S. officials who have been in contact with British authorities said he was believed to have traveled to Manchester from London by train.”Our priority, along with the police counter-terrorism network and our security partners, is to continue to establish whether he was acting alone or working as part of a wider network,” Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.Police raided houses in the northern English city and arrested a 23-year-old man after Monday evening’s attack, the deadliest in Britain for 12 years.Prime Minister Theresa May called it an act of “sickening cowardice” targeting “defenseless children and young people.”ISIS, now being driven from territories in Syria and Iraq by Western-backed armed forces, claimed responsibility for what it called a revenge attack against “Crusaders,” but there appeared to be contradictions in its account of the operation. It suggested explosive devices were placed “in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders.””What comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the cross,” the posting said.It did not name the bomber, which it usually does in attacks it has ordered, and appeared also to contradict a posting on another Islamic State account, Amaq, which spoke of “a group of attackers.” That reference, however, was later removed.”This attack stands out for its appalling sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” May said in a statement outside her Downing Street office after a meeting with British security and intelligence chiefs.She said security services were working to see if a wider group was involved in the attack, which fell less than three weeks before a national election. The election campaign has been suspended for now as a mark of respect.”Please retweet”Witnesses related the horror of the Manchester blast, which unleashed a stampede just as the concert ended at Europe’s largest indoor arena, full to its capacity of 21,000.”We ran and people were screaming around us and pushing on the stairs to go outside and people were falling down, girls were crying, and we saw these women being treated by paramedics having open wounds on their legs … it was just chaos,” said Sebastian Diaz, 19. “It was literally just a minute after it ended, the lights came on and the bomb went off.”Desperate parents and friends posted heart-wrenching messages and pictures on social media in the search for their loved ones who had been at the concert by Ariana Grande.”Please…please retweet. Looking for my daughter and her friend,” Michael MacIntyre wrote on Twitter, alongside an image of his daughter Laura and her friend Eilidh.Police raided a property in the Manchester district of Fallowfield where they carried out a controlled explosion. Witnesses in another area, Whalley Range, said armed police had surrounded a newly built apartment block on a usually quiet tree-lined street.Security stepped upMonday’s attack was the deadliest in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in 2005. But it will have reverberations far beyond British shores.Attacks in cities including Paris, Nice, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Berlin and London have shocked Europeans already anxious over security challenges from mass immigration and pockets of domestic Islamist radicalism. Islamic State has repeatedly called for attacks on western targets.The U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned that the public may experience increased delays at public events as countries across the world tighten security ahead of major cultural and sports events. New measures are continuing with each attack, raising the costs and the impact to the public.”You can bring back the perimeter, add security gates and as many controls as you want, but that will not change the fact that a determined individual will carry out his act if he is not caught before,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the Centre for the Analysis of Terrorism.”It’s a problem of means, but also a political choice,” said Brisard. “You have to continue living your life despite the attacks and not enter into the terrorists’ game. They want you to change your system so that our society is entirely dependent on a security plan,” he said.