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Officials: Manchester bomber passed through Germany, Turkey

Associated Press logo Associated Press 25/05/2017 By FRANK JORDANS and KIRSTEN GRIESHABER, Associated Press
Undated handout photo from an unnamed source made available on Wednesday May 24, 2017 of Salman Abedi. British authorities identified Salman Abedi as the bomber who was responsible for Monday's explosion in Manchester which killed more than 20 people. (AP) © The Associated Press Undated handout photo from an unnamed source made available on Wednesday May 24, 2017 of Salman Abedi. British authorities identified Salman Abedi as the bomber who was responsible for Monday's explosion in Manchester which killed more than 20 people. (AP)

BERLIN — The suspected bomber in the concert attack in Britain passed through Germany and Turkey before the attack, authorities said Thursday.

Salman Abedi spent only a short time at Duesseldorf airport's transit area four days before the bombing at Manchester Arena, Duesseldorf police said, confirming an earlier report in German magazine Focus.

"According to the current state of the investigations, the suspect transferred in Duesseldorf on his travels to Manchester. Therefore he spent a short time in the transit area," police said in a statement. Police didn't provide any further information or say where Abedi was coming from when he landed in Duesseldorf.

A Turkish official told The Associated Press that the 22-year-old suspect traveled through Istanbul and Duesseldorf on his way to Britain.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to reporters without prior authorization, wouldn't say which country Abedi had arrived from to Istanbul. However, the official added that the attacker had on several occasions in the past used Istanbul as a transit for flights between Libya and Europe.

German magazine Focus, citing unnamed federal security sources, had earlier reported that British-born Abedi twice flew from a German airport in recent years and that he wasn't on any international watch list.

A German security official told The Associated Press on Thursday the report was accurate. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information hadn't been cleared for public release.

Focus reported that Abedi previously flew from Frankfurt to Britain in 2015. The magazine also wrote that German authorities are trying to determine whether Abedi had contact with Islamic extremists in Germany. The report said that British police informed their German counterparts that Abedi had received paramilitary training in Syria beforehand.

The Czech Republic's interior minister, meanwhile, said a report by German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel claiming Abedi had traveled to Germany via Prague, wasn't correct.

Milan Chovanec tweeted that "I can confirm that information that this person was flying through Prague isn't true."

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Karel Janicek in Prague, and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.

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