And then the 22-year-old British-born jihadist pressed a button on his sophisticated bomb, and carnage and chaos erupted at the Manchester Arena where thousands had attended an Ariana Grande concert.
It also emerged Thursday that Abedi may have been radicalized by notorious former Ottawa imam Abdu Albasset Egwilla, a dual Libyan-Canadian citizen with extremist views who has strongly advocated violence.
As British counter-terrorist operatives tie together the tentacles of a much wider conspiracy in Manchester, a more complete picture of the ISIS killer – and his atrocity – is emerging.
The nation’s terror alert remains critical as cops desperately scour the country for the man who made the bomb.
The bomber’s sister, Jomana Abedi,18, said her older brother was on a quest for vengeance.
“I think he saw children – Muslim children – dying everywhere, and wanted revenge,” Jomana told the newspaper. “He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge.”
She added: “Whether he got that is between him and God.
It was reported that Abedi’s screws-and-nails packed death device was “sophisticated” and also featured a remote control switch in case he got a case of the jitters.
“I would suspect that they didn’t have confidence he was going to go through with it,” terror expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said. “He might not even have known that it had a remote detonator or that they could blow him up themselves.”
Intelligence operatives are also trying to determine who Abedi met in Duesseldorf, Germany, where he stayed four days before returning to the United Kingdom.
That city is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and it’s believed Abedi met ISIS handlers there. In 2015, the wannabe jihadist visited the banking centre in the city.
In Manchester’s St. Ann’s Square, a sea of floral tributes grew by the hour, and a crowd sang the hometown band Oasis’ song Don’t Look Back in Anger.
Queen Elizabeth II visited Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, telling 14-year-old Evie Mills and her parents: “It’s dreadful. Very wicked, to target that sort of thing.”