At a Glance | May 30

Manchester Attack Calls Attention to Security Concerns After an Event

The bombing at an arena in Manchester, England, after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 illustrates the need for security measures and vigilance by the public at the conclusion of a major event. Often at a concert or a sporting event, security measures such as checkpoints and bag checks are in place at the beginning, when ticketholders are entering the venue. After the event, however, there are fewer security measures, and since the event is over, security personnel and the general public may have a tendency to let down their guard. At the arena in Manchester, the attacker was able to inflict multiple casualties by detonating his explosives as spectators were exiting the arena, taking advantage of the fact that there are typically larger concentrations of people in confined spaces as spectators are leaving an event than when they are arriving (photo shows a crowd exiting on a stairway in Manchester). 

The attacker was also able to avoid detection by security personnel by detonating his explosives outside the arena, rather than attempting to smuggle them in through a checkpoint. The explosion occurred on a walkway connecting the arena to the Victoria train station. Extending the security perimeter, by measures such as placing bollards to impede vehicles and adding surveillance cameras looking outward from the venue, could potentially reduce the threat. However, as at airports, no matter how far outward security measures are pushed, eventually there comes a point where security stops—and that seam becomes a vulnerability. Accordingly, an attack such as the one in Manchester could potentially occur in the United States, including New Jersey.


Manchester Investigation: Suicide Bomber Appears to Have Been Supported by a Network

Although police initially believed that the Manchester bombing was the work of a lone individual, the investigation quickly revealed that the suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was supported by a network of accomplices. By May 29, 14 suspects had been taken into custody in the UK, on suspicion of supporting the attack. Investigators say they have dismantled a large part of the network but still expect to make more arrests. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said some suspects could still be at large.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the international part of the investigation is focusing on the group’s role and the extent to which it supported or directed the attack. In Libya, the father and a brother of the attacker have been detained by security personnel in Tripoli. Investigators say Abedi returned to Britain from Libya on May 18, and likely completed assembling his bomb at an apartment that he rented in central Manchester.


Egypt: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attack on Coptic Christians

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack on May 26 on a bus carrying Coptic Christians on a trip to a remote desert monastery. The attack reportedly occurred at a location about 100 miles south of Cairo, in Minya Province, as masked gunmen opened fire on the bus, killing 29 people and wounding more than 20 others. The ISIS claim, published by the group’s Amaq news agency, said that “a security team of caliphate soldiers” set up an ambush for “dozens of Christians as they headed to the church of St. Samuel.” This is the third attack within two months where ISIS has targeted Coptic Christians.

Egypt responded to the attack with airstrikes against what President Sissi said were terrorist camps. The locations of the airstrikes are unclear, but Egyptian news media indicated that they targeted terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula and near the Libyan border.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.