Salman Abedi: Bomber in Ariana Grande concert attack

Updated 5:58 PM EDT, Wed May 24, 2017
Armed police patrol near Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017.
Twenty two people have been killed and dozens injured in Britain
Armed police patrol near Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017. Twenty two people have been killed and dozens injured in Britain's deadliest terror attack in over a decade after a suspected suicide bomber targeted fans leaving a concert of US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:39
Police name Manchester bomber as Salman Abedi
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 04:  NO SALES, free for editorial use. In this handout provided by
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: NO SALES, free for editorial use. In this handout provided by 'One Love Manchester' benefit concert Ariana Grande performs on stage on June 4, 2017 in Manchester, England. Donate at www.redcross.org.uk/love (Photo by Getty Images/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester)
PHOTO: Getty Images/Getty Images Europe/Dave Hogan for One Love Manchest
Now playing
00:52
Ariana Grande says she struggles with PTSD
Pop star Ariana Grande visited a fan at the hospital who was injured in last month
Pop star Ariana Grande visited a fan at the hospital who was injured in last month's terror attack at her Manchester concert.
PHOTO: Lauren Thorpe
Now playing
00:58
Grande visits victims at Manchester hospital
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 13:  In this handout photo provided by Jones Crow, Ariana Grande attends Tiffany & Co.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 13: In this handout photo provided by Jones Crow, Ariana Grande attends Tiffany & Co.'s unveiling of the newly renovated Beverly Hills store and debut of 2016 Tiffany masterpieces at Tiffany & Co. on October 13, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Handout/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Handout/Getty Images
Now playing
00:44
Ariana Grande returning to Manchester
manchester bomber abedi cousins pleitgen pkg_00004914.jpg
manchester bomber abedi cousins pleitgen pkg_00004914.jpg
Now playing
01:54
Manchester bomber's cousins want answers
Donald Trump and Theresa May
Donald Trump and Theresa May
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:38
UK angry over Manchester attack leaks
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
00:56
Families mourn victims of Manchester attack
Now playing
01:38
Victim's mother: 'Don't let this beat us'
Police forensic officers leave the Manchester Arena as they investigate the scene of an explosion on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police are treating the explosion as a terrorist attack and have confirmed 22 fatalities and 59 injured.
Police forensic officers leave the Manchester Arena as they investigate the scene of an explosion on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. An explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had performed. Greater Manchester Police are treating the explosion as a terrorist attack and have confirmed 22 fatalities and 59 injured.
PHOTO: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Now playing
01:58
Details emerging in Manchester attack
Now playing
00:10
This video is no longer available
Stephen Jones described how he helped concertgoers who were wounded in Monday night
Stephen Jones described how he helped concertgoers who were wounded in Monday night's attack.
Now playing
01:19
Homeless man steps up to help attack victims
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23:  Members of the public gather at a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Members of the public gather at a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening's terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. Monday's explosion occurred at Manchester Arena as concert goers were leaving the venue after Ariana Grande had just finished performing. Greater Manchester Police are treating the explosion as a terrorist attack and have confirmed 22 fatalities and 59 injured. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
00:50
Powerful poem at vigil unites Manchester
Manchester Arena incident. Emergency services at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2017. See PA story POLICE Explosion. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire URN:31415965
Manchester Arena incident. Emergency services at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2017. See PA story POLICE Explosion. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire URN:31415965
PHOTO: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/AP
Now playing
01:50
Witnesses describe Manchester Arena explosion
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:13
CNN on the ground: Manchester's Trauma Hospital
Olivia Campbell is missing after the Manchester Arena blast, according to her mother Charlotte Campbell
Olivia Campbell is missing after the Manchester Arena blast, according to her mother Charlotte Campbell
PHOTO: Family photo/Family photo/Family photo
Now playing
03:07
'I love you' were the last words she heard
A woman looks emotional as she looks at flowers left in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester,England. At least 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a pop concert packed with children in the northern English city of Manchester, in the worst terror incident on British soil since the London bombings of 2005.
A woman looks emotional as she looks at flowers left in St Ann Square on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Manchester,England. At least 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a pop concert packed with children in the northern English city of Manchester, in the worst terror incident on British soil since the London bombings of 2005.
PHOTO: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Now playing
01:14
Manchester attack: How social media responded
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening.  Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Now playing
01:11
How the Manchester Arena explosion unfolded
explosion dashcam video sg mobile orig_00000416.jpg
explosion dashcam video sg mobile orig_00000416.jpg
Now playing
00:53
Dashcam captures moment of the explosion

Story highlights

Officials: Salman Abedi went to Libya for three weeks, returning only days before the attack

Family friend says Abedi and brother were getting in trouble in England

(CNN) —  

Salman Abedi, the man who carried out the deadliest terror attack to hit the UK in 12 years, grew up in Manchester with parents who had fled Libya under Moammar Gadhafi.

Abedi’s father returned to the African nation in 2011 after the rebels overthrew the government and his wife joined him earlier this year.

After getting word that Salman Abedi and his brother Hashim were getting into trouble in England, Ramadan Abedi sent for his boys and they joined their parents about a month ago, a family friend in Libya told CNN.

But Salman Abedi came back to England last week after telling his father he wanted to make a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, the source – who asked not to be named for discussing sensitive family matters – and a source in the Libyan community of Manchester, told CNN.

Three days after he returned, Salman Abedi went to an Ariana Grande concert where authorities said he detonated a bomb that killed 22 fans – many of them children and young people – who were leaving the Manchester Arena. Scores more people were hurt, some critically.

Abedi, 22, is believed to have died in the powerful blast, but a coroner has yet to officially identify his remains, Manchester police said.

On the radar

Abedi was already known to authorities, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Wednesday. But it’s not yet clear why he was on their radar.

Rudd said authorities were aware of him, to a point. “The intelligence services know a lot of people, and I’m sure we will find out more what level they knew about him in due course,” she told the BBC.

“But at the moment all they have confirmed is that they did know about him, and as I say we will find out more when the operation is complete.”

Salman Abedi in a Facebook image from a few years ago.
Salman Abedi in a Facebook image from a few years ago.
PHOTO: From Facebook

Authorities now are working to track down Salman Abedi’s associates.

“It is very clear that this is a network we are investigating,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said Wednesday.

Rudd had earlier told the BBC that the bomber may not have worked alone.

The motive for carrying out the attack remained unknown on Wednesday morning. ISIS claimed responsibility, saying Abedi was a “soldier of the caliphate,” but offered no evidence.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb told BFM-TV that Abedi had “proven links to ISIS,” though he did not elaborate. Rudd declined to comment on the claim.

Time in Libya

The Abedi family friend told CNN the two brothers wanted revenge for a friend who was killed by a gang.

Their father, a police officer in Libya, got them to go there and took away their passports.

Salman Abedi got his travel documents back by saying he wanted to make an Umrah, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, the friend told CNN.

US military officials assigned to Africa Command told CNN that Salman Abedi had been in Libya for three weeks.

That specific information has been shared between US and British intelligence services, the US officials said, adding they currently have “high confidence” the information is accurate.

The trip raises questions about what he was doing there, whom he met with and whether he received training or support.

Abedi was a student at the University of Salford – Manchester’s third largest university – where he studied business and management in the 2015-2016 academic year. He was enrolled for a second year, but hadn’t been attending classes, nor had he been active in school life, according to those who knew him.

Abedi did not stay on campus in Salford, instead living in the Fallowfield area of south Manchester.

Suspected bomber was lonely child

Details are slowly emerging about Abedi, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, according to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Abedi had seemed like a lonely child, who kept himself to himself, according to long-time family friend Akram Ben Ramadan, a British Libyan who had known Abedi and his brother, Ismael, since the Abedis were children. There were four children in the family in total – three boys and one girl.

Abedi went to a Manchester school, Burnage Academy for Boys, from 2009 to 2011. The school declined to comment on his time there but sent a message of support to all those affected by the attack.

Ramadan, who had not seen Abedi much in recent years, said he had noticed that he had begun to dress “Islamically,” in a long robe, and was growing a beard.

The Manchester Islamic Centre and Didsbury Mosque, a couple of miles from Abedi’s home, condemned the “horrific” bombing in a statement on its website Wednesday.

And Fawzi Haffar, a trustee of the center, told reporters gathered outside the large, red brick mosque – which welcomes thousands of Muslims every week – that a small number of media reports that claimed the bomber had worked at the site were “not true.”

Monday’s attack “shocked us all,” he said. “This act of cowardice has no place in our religion or any other religion for that matter. We encourage anyone, and I repeat anyone, who may have information about the individual involved to contact the police without any delay.”

CNN’s Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Atika reported from Manchester, while Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London and Steve Almasy wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Barbara Starr, Kara Fox, Salma Abdelaziz, Jomana Karadsheh, Paul Cruickshank, Sarah Chiplin, Carol Jordan and journalist Ayman al-Kekly contributed to this report.