Police investigating the Manchester suicide bombing evacuated an area of the city yesterday after finding a car which they say “may be significant to the investigation”.
Greater Manchester Police put a 100 metre cordon in place after the white Nissan Micra was found in Devell Court in Rusholme.
Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said: “This is potentially a significant development in the investigation.”
Police said the nearby Royal Manchester Infirmary remained open but Ronald McDonald House, which provides accommodation for families of patients at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, had been evacuated.
Mr Jackson said: “We are very interested in anything people can tell us about the movements of this car, and who was in it, over the past months.
“We are also interested in any information about who may have had access to the car or who may have gone to and from it.”
Students were evacuated from flats on Wilmslow Road as police cordoned off the nearby streets.
Mariam Bashat, 20, said: “We were going out anyway and police told us we couldn’t go back in because everyone was being evacuated. I think they are getting people out of there section by section.”
The development came as the Duke of Cambridge visited Greater Manchester Police HQ to meet officers who were among the first to respond to the bombing.
CCTV images have been released showing suicide bomber Salman Abedi hauling a blue suitcase in the days leading up to the Manchester Arena terror attack, which killed 22 people including seven children.
Police had been trying to establish why Abedi went to the Banff Road area in Rusholme, where the car was found.
Meanwhile, Abedi’s cousins have claimed the 22-year-old plotted “secretly to himself” before the atrocity on 22 May.
Brothers Isaac and Abz Forjani, who were arrested by armed police soon after the attack before being released without charge, said they had been left “traumatised” by their cousin’s actions.
Abz, 21, said: “I believe it was all done by one man which developed thoughts in the past few years which he kept secretly to himself.”
Isaac, 24, added: “It’s not easy being connected to 22 lost, innocent lives. The fact that the person that did this is related to us by blood is something that’s going to stay with me for the rest of my life.”
The funeral is to be held on Monday for Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod who was among the 22 people killed in the Manchester bomb attack.
The 14-year-old is to be carried from her home to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in Castlebay, for the funeral mass on Monday morning.