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British Authorities Continue Investigation Into Manchester Arena Bombing


Police in Manchester are broadening their investigation into what they now believe was a network that planned and carried out Monday's suicide bombing at a concert. Police raided several addresses in the city and arrested at least four more suspects. Reuters and The Associated Press report today that the suicide bomber's father and younger brother were arrested in Libya.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Manchester and reports that heavily armed police have been combing the downtown area where the mood is especially tense.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Security forces descended upon a red brick building behind the University of Manchester and used what police called a controlled explosion to enter one of the apartments. Neighbor Adam Prince lives in the building and returned after walking his dogs to find police surrounding it.

ADAM PRINCE: I wanted to get away from all the stress. So you come back, and it's on your doorstep. And there's sort of ash and the sort of smell of smoke in the area. There's about eight officers sitting up there.

NELSON: At a news conference, Greater Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins provided few details about the raid and three additional arrests today in southern Manchester, which is where the suicide attacker is from. The fear is that one or more accomplices who know how to build bombs are still at large.


CHIEF IAN HOPKINS: I think it's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating. It continues at a pace. There's extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester as we speak.

NELSON: His agency tweeted later that police arrested another man west of the city who was carrying a suspicious package. Fawzi Haffar, who is a trustee at the Manchester Islamic Center, complained of a backlash against Muslims in and around the city, which he called hate crimes.


FAWZI HAFFAR: These are terrible anti-Muslim acts ranging from verbal abuse to acts of criminal damage to mosques in the area and outside the area.

NELSON: As police search for more suspects, forensic experts pressed on with the task of victim identification made more difficult by the intensity of the blast and number of bodies. Officials confirmed that an off-duty police officer was among those killed, and Chief Hopkins says his department has spoken to the immediate families of all the victims.


HOPKINS: The home office post-mortems are likely to take four to five days. After this, we will be in a position to formally name the victims in line with guidance from the coroner.

NELSON: Many relatives, friends and others took to the airwaves and social media to pay tribute to the dead and wounded. Two victims were teenagers who hail from the small Scottish island of Barra and were missing after the attack. The parents of 15-year-old Laura MacIntyre later found her at a hospital with critical burn injuries. Her year-younger friend Eilidh MacLeod is still listed as missing. Their families are friends of Scottish parliamentarian Angus MacNeil. He says the last time he spoke to the missing girl's mother, she and the father were frantically searching all of the hospitals.

ANGUS MACNEIL: Obviously it's a very tough time for them. There was no official news on Eilidh at all. She - Eilidh doesn't appear to be in hospital. So given the length of time that's passed, we're obviously very worried and concerned as to what that might mean.

NELSON: He added everyone on the island continues to hope that somehow the young girl survived. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Manchester.

CORNISH: And the attack happened just as an Ariana Grande concert was ending. The pop singer has millions of young fans around the world, which is why so many of those killed and injured were teenagers and children. Today, Grande's managers announced that her tour would be suspended through June 5. She'd been scheduled to play London's O2 Arena tomorrow and Friday before going on to several other European cities. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.