Police resume search for Manchester Arena attacker's suitcase

Officers return to rubbish tip on outskirts of city in search for Salman Abedi’s blue case

Police investigating the Manchester Arena attack have resumed their search for a suitcase used by the bomber in the days and hours leading up to the atrocity.

Salman Abedi, the British-Libyan man who carried out the attack, was seen on CCTV wheeling a shiny blue case around Manchester in the days before he detonated his suicide bomb, killing himself and 22 others last year.

Officers from Greater Manchester police (GMP) spent 11 months searching a rubbish tip next to the M66 between Bury and Heywood in Greater Manchester, looking for the suitcase. They combed through 11,000 tonnes of rubbish, but failed to find the case and called the search off in May.

On Monday, GMP said officers were searching the site again as part of Operation Manteline, the investigation into the attack.

About 15 officers from the force’s tactical aid unit could be seen using sticks to search bushes surrounding the site, and a fenced area within the tip, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Five days after the attack on 22 May last year, DCS Russ Jackson from the north-west counter-terrorism unit appealed for information about the suitcase, which he stressed was not used in the attack.

He said Abedi, 22, was seen repeatedly visiting the Wilmslow Road area of Manchester with the case between 18 and 22 May last year.

Known locally as the Curry Mile, nowadays the district has many Middle Eastern restaurants and shisha bars, and is largely populated by students and recent immigrants. Police carried out raids on properties in the area, but no one was charged.

Jackson said: “We believe Abedi was in possession of this case in the days before the attack at Manchester Arena. I want to stress that this is a different item than the one he used in the attack. This image was taken from CCTV in the city centre on 22 May.

“We have no reason to believe the case and its contents contain anything dangerous, but would ask people to be cautious.”


Helen Pidd North of England editor

The GuardianTramp

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