The terrorist who blew himself up and killed 22 people in Manchester was part of a wider network, police have revealed.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was "very clear" that officers are investigating a network linked to Salman Abedi.

Mr Hopkins also confirmed one of the victims was a police officer, believed to be a female officer from Cheshire Police.

Three more men have been arrested today following the attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday.

Greater Manchester Police have said the arrests were made after raids in south Manchester and it follows the first arrest yesterday of a 23-year-old man who was detained near a Morrisons in Chorlton.

It came after armed officers carried out a dramatic raid on the redbrick semi in south Manchester where the 22-year-old bomber, believed to have been of Libyan decent, was registered as living.

Abedi had been a student at Salford University and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed he had recently returned from a visit to Libya, where his parents are reported to now live, and said the nature of the attack suggested he may have had support.

"It was more sophisticated than some of the horrific events that we have seen in the past or in other parts of Europe so people are reasonably wondering whether he did this on his own," she told BBC Breakfast.

Residents of Elsmore Road in Fallowfield where he lived described being ordered to remain indoors as more than 20 officers, all armed, swooped on the house, carrying out a controlled explosion on the front door.

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the barbaric attack involving a homemade device packed with nuts and bolts which exploded in the foyer of the Manchester Arena as thousands of young people were leaving the concert by US pop star Ariana Grande.

Counter-terrorism agencies mounted a massive inquiry into the outrage, the worst terrorist attack since 52 innocent people were killed in the July 7 bombings in London in 2005. It came as:

  • France's interior minister disclosed that Abedi, 22, is believed to have travelled to Syria and claimed he had "proven" links with Islamic State.
  • Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed the attacker was known to intelligence services "up to a point";
  • Almost 1,000 military personnel were being deployed around the country, including to key sites such as Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, after the official terror threat assessment was raised to critical, the highest level, indicating that a further attack may be imminent;
  • Police said they are "confident" they know the identity of all the people who died in the bombing, but they will not be formally named until forensic post-mortems are completed in four to five days.
  • Andrew Parker, the Director General of MI5, condemned the "disgusting attack" and declared that the agency remains "relentlessly focused" on tackling the "scourge of terrorism".

After flying to Manchester to speak to police chiefs and medics treating some of the child victims, the Prime Minister said: "It is an absolutely barbaric attack that has taken place, to cut off young lives in this way and it is absolutely devastating, and our thoughts and prayers must be with their families and friends at this horrendous tragedy that has taken place.

"I'm very clear that the police and the security services have the resources to ensure that they continue their investigation."

"I've just been hearing of police officers who were off duty turning up, wanting to ensure that they could contribute, that they could help.

"So many people have helped. That's the great spirit of Manchester, the spirit of Britain, and one thing I'm clear is that the terrorists will not prevail."

The explosion in Manchester happened outside the venue at about 10.30pm as fans began streaming from the doors. Witnesses reported hearing a 'huge bomb-like bang' and described glass and metal nuts on the floor.

This dashcam footage captures the moment the bomb went off.

And this footage from inside the arena shows the moment the blast shook the building, and the ensuing panic. 

Are you in Manchester or know anyone affected? Get in touch here