Manchester Attacker Had ‘Some Level Of Experience Or Skill’


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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The suicide bomber who killed 22 and wounded over 50 at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Monday likely had some level of expertise, U.S. based intelligence advisory firm The Soufan Group notes.

Manchester police believe the improvised explosive device was homemade and detonated as people were leaving the concert to inflict maximum damage. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack Tuesday, calling the attacker a “soldier of the caliphate.” The group has produced videos in the past providing detailed instructions on how to craft a homemade bomb.

It is unclear to what extent ISIS provided support to the bomber. BBCNews reports the attacker was from the U.S. and may have been a British citizen. The Associated Press reports the attacker was 22 year old Salman Abedi. Another unidentified 23 year old male was arrested in connection with the bombing.

“Making a suicide vest, even with instructions available online, requires some level of experience or skill,” the Soufan Group noted. The group also notes that so called “lone” attackers typically maintain some connection to the  “larger support network beyond the consumption of extremist propaganda online.”

New America Foundation terrorism expert Peter Bergen noted Tuesday that the type of bomb used in the attack is a good indicator at who is responsible. Bergen explains “If a hydrogen peroxide bomb was used in the Manchester bombing it would likely have been assembled in some kind of crude bomb factory, as these types of bombs are not easy to construct because the chemicals involved are both toxic and quite unstable.”

He continues, “A hydrogen peroxide-based bomb would also imply some kind of training, as building one of these bombs is generally not something you can do by simply reading instructions off the Internet.”

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