The suicide bomber that perpetrated the devastating terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK in late May was identified as Salman Abedi. However, it was not known whether or not he acted as a part of a wider terror network and local authorities quickly went to task rooting out any potential accomplices. In all, the Greater Manchester Police force arrested 22 people in the wake of the attack which left 23 dead and 119 injured. According to an Associated Press report, police have now released all of these suspects without charging them.
The assailant, who was a native of Britain with a Libyan background, acted alone in building the bomb and carrying out the attack. While that much is known, police were unsure whether or not the young man had worked with others in gathering the parts needed to create device, or “whether others knew or were complicit in the storage of materials knowing what was being planned” – according to a statement from Russ Jackson, who heads up northwestern England’s counterterrorism policing. Due to local terrorism laws stating that suspects can be held for only 14 days before either being charged or released, the time had run out for authorities.
Most of those that were arrested following the attack admitted to contact with Abedi, but it was unrelated to the bombing and they were able to prove they knew nothing of his deadly plans. Jackson elaborated in his statement that authorities had managed to trace the movements of Abedi in the days leading to the attack and are aware of the manner in which he obtained the materials used in the bomb. Abedi’s younger brother Hashem has been detained in Libya and authorities in Manchester have stated that they would like to speak with the man.