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Abbott, who will become home secretary if Labour wins the election, said in the 1984 interview that Ireland “is our struggle — every defeat of the British state is a victory for all of us. A defeat in Northern Ireland would be a defeat indeed.”
Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber – what we know about him
The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, according to US officials.
Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.
His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were both born in Libya but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least ten years.
After giving birth to two sons, they had son Hashem Abedi, now 20, and daughter Jomana, 18.
Jomana, who has two Facebook profiles, attended Whalley Range High School before apparently working at Didsbury Mosque in 2013.
Although born in Manchester, she states online that she is from Tripoli and has many Libyan connections.
Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area, just yards from the local girl’s high school, which hit the headlines in 2015 when twins and grade A pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, who were both aspiring medical students, left their homes and moved to Isil controlled Syria.
There were unconfirmed reports in Manchester that the whole family apart from the two elder sons recently returned to Libya.
As with the Westminster atrocity in March, the most pressing question is whether Abedi was a so-called “lone wolf” or part of a wider terror cell.
On Tuesday, it was reported that the Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the attack.
While the working theory is that the perpetrator triggered the blast alone, the national police counter-terror network, assisted by MI5, are urgently piecing together his background to see whether he had any help in planning the outrage.
They will be looking to build a picture of the attacker’s movements both in recent weeks and months as well as immediately before the strike.
Another priority will be to establish whether any further linked attacks or copycat incidents are planned.Women suffers panic attack after fleeing Arndale centre
It is likely that the bomber’s communications will form a significant part of the inquiry, while investigators will also be checking if he was known to authorities in any way.
One area of focus will be examining the remnants of the device used in the attack as officers work to establish whether the perpetrator built it himself or had help.
As well as seeking to identify any potential accomplices in Britain, authorities will also be looking into the possibility of any link to international groups.
In the first hours after an attack on this scale investigators were sifting through a number of theories as they work to settle on the most likely lines of inquiry.
The official threat level from international terrorism stands at severe in the UK – indicating that an attack is “highly likely”. It has stood at this level – the second highest of five – since August 2014.
There has so far been no indication that this will change in the wake of the events in Manchester.
Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at security think tank the Royal United Services Institute, said: “The most important point is that police have found the body of what they believe to be the lone suicide attacker.
“If they have identified him, they will be able to begin establishing his movements, his contacts, and his background.
“This, in turn, will help establish whether he acted alone, in concert with a small number of other conspirators, or as part of a larger network.
“The method of attack is likely to downgrade the likelihood that this was perpetrated by a far-right individual or group, as they have not typically used suicide bombers.
“We know that both al Qaida and Islamic State seek to conduct attacks in the UK, and that the UK’s terror threat level has been at ‘severe’ for three years.”
Commentators also pointed out that the Manchester attack took place on the fourth anniversary of the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London.
Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “That may be significant as well.”
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed a 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack.
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