The attack on Manchester teens and young adults killed 22 people and wounded dozens more, and British investigators have already determined that the bomber took his own life in the blast. CBS News reports that they have recovered the pieces of the perpetrator and have identified him as Salman Abedi. Investigators have acknowledged that Abedi was already on their radar, and have arrested another young man from the Manchester area as a potential accomplice:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 23, 2017
A little earlier this morning, ISIS claimed credit for the attack, which certainly adds credence to the suspicions of investigators that more than one lone wolf could be part of this massacre:
BREAKING: Islamic State group says one of its members carried out the Manchester attack that killed 22 people.
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 23, 2017
While it may seem like a given, ISIS tends to be particular about claiming credit for attacks. They don’t usually claim credit for every lone-wolf attack unless they have at least some connection to the perpetrator. This demonstrates the danger of allowing ISIS to exist as any kind of territorial entity. The rise of this so-called caliphate to a quasi-state status grips the minds of extremists, and the only cure for that is to end its existence altogether. Only then will it be possible to stop their recruitment and end their claims of divine authority.
Also earlier today, Donald Trump had an opportunity to respond to the bombing while meeting with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. Rather than call them “monsters,” Trump said, we should call them something a little more accurate and descriptive — “evil losers“:
President Donald Trump branded those responsible for the deadly suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert and other terrorist attacks “evil losers” on Tuesday.
“So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers,” he said in Bethlehem while standing next to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term, they would think that is a great name.”
He added: “I will call them, from now on, losers because that’s what they are: losers.”
This is a bit like calling ISIS “Daesh,” a derogatory term the group is known to detest. John Kerry took to using Daesh rather than ISIS or ISIL, and the Iraqis have used the term throughout their entire fight with the group. “Evil losers” might work better in counter-propaganda only because its meaning is a lot more plain to English-speaking potential recruits. The only potential problem with using a form of the insult “loser” is that it’s pretty common, especially for Trump, who seems to use it more than most. That could set up some equivalencies later that might prove problematic, but on the other hand, it might also demythologize radical Islamic terrorists too, turning them into unremarkable villains rather than the “monster” status to which they so clearly aspire.
Later in the morning, Trump offered another expression of condolences to the victims and to the UK as a whole:
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 23, 2017
Update: US intelligence says to hold off on that ISIS claim of credit:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 23, 2017
Also, CBS’ stories offer a changing number of those killed in the attack. The numbers may not be firm at this time.
Update: I’ve changed the number back to 22. More recent reports have stuck to that number. My apologies for the confusion.