Salman Abedi shopped alone for most of the components used to build the suicide bomb he detonated in Manchester Arena last week, killing 22 and injuring dozens more.
According to police, Abedi, 22, acted alone in the run up to the “awful” attack on the concert venue.
After the attack, police immediately sought to determine whether Libyan-born Abedi was part of a wider terrorist “network.”
Amid concerns that Abedi did not operate alone but as part of a wider terrorist cell that was still at large, the national terrorism threat was raised from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’, the highest level possible, implying that an attack is imminent.
However, after a seven-day investigation involving 1,000 officers and hundreds of witnesses, it seems Abedi’s movements and acts were “carried out alone,” according to head of the North West counter-terrorism unit Ross Jackson, and the terrorism threat was brought back down to ‘severe’.
The investigation has focused on examining hours of CCTV footage.
“Much of the investigation has been painstakingly working through Salman Abedi’s last movements.
“We have done this by examining his movements on CCTV and other interactions he has had whether it be with people or the phone calls he has made,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Jackson, according to the Guardian.
“With specialist support we have also a good understanding of the likely component parts of the bomb and where these came from.”
Abedi is thought to have visited Libya, his home country, before returning to the UK on May 18, four days before the attack.
“Our enquiries show Abedi himself made most of the purchases of the core [bomb] components and what is becoming apparent is that many of his movements and actions have been carried out alone during the four days from him landing in the country and committing this awful attack,” Jackson said.
Up to 16 people were arrested in connection with the attack, 11 of which, mostly in their late teens and early twenties, are still in police custody. Three were released without charge on Tuesday.
“We still have a number of people in custody and we will be seeking to extend the custody of some of them as we work to understand what has gone on and whether Abedi was helped,” the newspaper reported Jackson saying.
Jackson stressed it is “vital” that police can guarantee Abedi, whose elder brother in Manchester was also arrested following the attack, was not part of a wider network.
CCTV images capture Abedi wandering along Wilmslow Road with a blue suitcase. Police are now “especially keen” to figure out why he kept returning to the street, known as the Curry Mile because of its abundance of South-Asian cuisine, and what he was dragging behind him.