The pictures indicate it was carried in a blue rucksack made by the Karrimor outdoor company.
Extraordinary details about the bomb used in the Manchester atrocity have been published in the New York Times, almost all of it forensic evidence gathered by the British police at the scene.
A series of photographs of the remains of the bomb, the detonator and what appeared to be a rucksack were leaked. The preliminary investigation by the police is extremely detailed, down to the belief that the killer, Salman Abedi, held the small detonator in his left hand.
Suspicion on who leaked it to the US-based reporter rested on US officials, who have been feeding a series of details about the Manchester bombing to American journalists.
Leaking such inside information from the investigation will add to tensions between the US and UK over the extent to which much of the investigation is being leaked by authorities in America.
The latest revelations came hours after the home secretary, Amber Rudd, expressed irritation with the US and expressed hope that the leaks would stop.
An image of what is believed to be the detonator, released by the New York Times.
“The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise. So it is irritating if it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that should not happen again,” the home secretary said.
Although her language was mild, it is rare for a UK politician to issue such a rebuke to the Americans.
Rudd called the US secretary of homeland security, John Kelly, on Tuesday to ask for the leaks to stop. UK officials were stunned and angry on Wednesday when the crime scene photographs appeared in the New York Times.
The photographs suggest the bomb was relatively sophisticated, requiring a degree of expertise. It contained a powerful explosive in a lightweight metal container. The pictures indicate it was carried in a blue rucksack made by the Karrimor outdoor company.
Such was the power of the blast that nuts and screws packed round the bomb penetrated doors and walls. Abedi stood in the middle of a crowd. The upper part of his body was thrown towards the entrance to the arena.
It was not a crudely made bomb, as among the evidence recovered was a Yuasa 12-volt, 2.1 amp lead-acid battery, which is more expensive than normal over-the-counter ones. The detonator appeared to have a small circuit board soldered inside one end.
There seemed to have been several options for detonating it, such as a simple manual switch or possibly remotely by a radio signal.
The latest disclosures come on top of a series of leaks from US officials about the British investigation, including the naming of the killer.
The leak of the British information, as well as demonstrating a lack of respect for a US ally at an emotional time, will have hindered the investigation, where it is deemed essential to control the release of details.
UK counter-terrorism specialists said they needed to keep secret the name of any perpetrator or suspect for at least 36 hours to ensure there was an element of surprise in approaching relatives, friends and others.
The home secretary reflected the frustration and dismay of the UK security services in a series of interviews on Wednesday morning.
Adding to the sense of anger in the UK were further leaks from an NBC reporter who quoted US intelligence officials providing other details about the killer.
The reporter Richard Engel of NBC tweeted details not released by the UK. Engel said US intelligence officers told him family members of the the killer, Salman Abedi, had warned UK security officials about him and had described him as dangerous.
The intelligence community has long been uncomfortable about revelations from its recent past made in books and articles, but the release of details of a live investigation on the scale of those by the US and France is a relatively new phenomenon.
It comes on top of Donald Trump’s release of intelligence to Russia that had been passed on by Israel, which had obtained it from an Arab country.
American officials in Washington briefed US journalists early on Tuesday about the number of dead, confirming that it was a suicide bombing and – hours later – the name of the killer. The UK had not been planning to release the name on Tuesday.
The UK’s reluctance to identify the assailant was evident because it took hours after his name was circulating in the US media before Greater Manchester police confirmed it.
One of the basic tenets of intelligence sharing is that other agencies do not disclose it. The problem is that those intelligence agencies, whether American or French, pass it up to their presidents, prime ministers and departmental ministers. In the past, that secrecy was respected.
After the leaks, it could be tempting for UK police and intelligence services to stop sharing sensitive information, although Britain relies heavily on the US sharing its intelligence and benefits from intelligence, especially on counter-terrorism, from European colleagues such as France and Germany.
Adding to the impression of western security services as uncoordinated and amateurish, the French interior minister, Gérard Collomb, then told French television on Wednesday that Abedi had been in Libya and possibly Syria, information UK police had not disclosed.
Soldiers and armed police patrol near the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, said he did not know the source but insisted it was not from Congress, as members and their staffs had not been briefed.
Schiff, who is a driving force behind the congressional investigation into the Trump campaign’s links with Russia, said: “We should have been very careful and respectful of the British investigation and the timing which the British felt was in their investigative interests in releasing that. That should have been their discretion not ours. If that is something we did, I think that’s a real problem.”