Salman Abedi perpetrated the worst outrage Britain has seen in a decade just days after returning from Libya, according to reports.
The 22-year-old’s visit to his family’s native country fuelled concerns he was preparing for Monday’s deadly assault under the guidance of hardened jihadists.
The Times reported the Manchester-born bomber spent three weeks in the war-torn north African nation before the attack on Manchester Arena, in which he was killed.
A friend told the paper: “He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago.”
Both Islamic State (IS), who claimed responsibility for the atrocity , and al Qaida have a presence in Libya, but the possibility remains that Abedi travelled to their heartland in Syria for training with French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb stating that the bomber had likely gone there at some point.
Abedi was on the radar of the security services but was not seen as a high risk.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We do know that he was known up to a point to the intelligence services”.
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday night it was possible he had planned his deadly attack with a “wider group of individuals”.
Born and raised in Manchester, Abedi grew up in a Muslim household – but matured into a university dropout with an appetite for bloodshed.
He was registered as living at Elsmore Road as recently as last year, where police raided a downstairs red-bricked semi-detached property on Tuesday.
Neighbours recalled an abrasive, tall, skinny young man who was little known in the neighbourhood, and often seen in traditional Islamic clothing.
He is thought to have lived at a number of addresses in the area, including one in Wilbraham Road, where plainclothes police made an arrest on Tuesday.
Abedi previously lived with his mother Samia Tabbal, father Ramadan Abedi and a brother, Ismail Abedi, who was born in Westminster in 1993.
He is thought to have a younger brother, Hashim Abedi, and a sister Jomana, whose Facebook profile suggests she is from Tripoli and lives in Manchester.
A family friend, who asked not to be named, said they were known to the Libyan community in the city and described Abedi as “normal”.
He said: “He was always friendly, nothing to suggest he was violent) He was normal, to be honest.”