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Manchester Suicide Bombing: 8 more men arrested during investigation

Abedi’s father and brother were arrested by Libyan security forces Wednesday

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A group of police officers stand outside flats in Hulme, Manchester, May 25, 2017.VOA
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Manchester, May 25, 2017: Eight men are now in custody in connection with Monday’s suicide bombing at a Manchester, England pop concert, including two men who were arrested in separate raids early Thursday.

A woman arrested Wednesday during a raid on an apartment north of Manchester has been released without charge.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said these past few days have been “intense” for the officers and staff of the department but that they continue to make progress in the investigation.

“I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant. And initial searches of premises have reveled items that we believe are very important to the investigation,” he said Thursday.

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Police have given no information about how the detained men may be connected to the bombing.

Moment of silence

A moment of silence was held in Manchester Thursday morning for the victims of Monday’s suicide bombing following a pop music concert.

Residents gathered in a large circle in the city’s St. Ann’s Square with heads bowed before a makeshift memorial of flowers, balloons and candles dedicated to the 22 people killed when Salman Abedi detonated an improvised device just moments after a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande.

Shortly after the memorial service, Queen Elizabeth arrived at Royal Manchester’s Children’s Hospital to visit some of the 64 people injured in the attack. Many of the victims were young children.

In a televised message, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Britain’s terror threat level will remain at critical.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Evie Mills, 14, from Harrogate, and her father Craig, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week, May 25, 2017.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Evie Mills, 14, from Harrogate, and her father Craig, as she visits the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in Manchester, to meet victims of the terror attack in the city earlier this week, May 25, 2017.VOA

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Bomber’s father, brother arrested

Abedi’s father and brother were arrested by Libyan security forces Wednesday. A spokesman for the Libyan anti-terrorism force said the brother, Hashim Abedi, had recently been in contact with Salman and knew of his plans for the attack.

Abedi’s father, Ramadan, told Reuters he spoke to his son five days ago, and “everything was normal.”

His son did not have extremist beliefs, Ramadan Abedi said in Tripoli, where he lives. He added, however, that Abedi did not disclose he was heading for Manchester when he left Libya last week.

The elder Abedi told the Reuters news agency he condemns “terrorist acts on civilians and innocent people.”

Chief Hopkins told reporters Wednesday, “It’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating,” and that Abedi did not act alone.

Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group, May 24, 2017.
Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group, May 24, 2017. VOA

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Trip to Syria

In France, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Wednesday that British and French intelligence have information that Abedi had likely traveled to Syria.

Collomb told France’s BFM television Abedi “grew up in Britain and then suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then likely to Syria, became radicalized and decided to carry out this attack. In any case, the links with Daesh are proven.”

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but British and U.S. intelligence have not confirmed that the extremist group was involved.

British and American newspapers have printed police images of some evidence left on the floor of the arena where Abedi blew himself up, including shreds of a backpack or vest that apparently held the bomb and a piece of bloodstained metal that may have been the detonator. (VOA)

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)