“Abedi showed me a face of hate after that sermon. He was showing me hatred.”
Interior minister says he just returned from IS territory, chides US for leaking info
MOHAMMED SAEED, senior member of Didsbury Mosque
THE Manchester suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert venue packed with children and teenagers had recently returned from Libya, a British minister said, and her French counterpart said he had links with Islamic State and had probably visited Syria, too.
Interior Minister Amber Rudd said Salman Abedi had likely not acted alone, and troops were being deployed to key sites across Britain to help prevent further attacks after the official threat level was raised to “critical”. Police made three new arrests in South Manchester yesterday in connection with the concert bombing.
Rudd also scolded United States officials for leaking details about the investigation into the Manchester attack.
British-born Abedi, 22, blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande.
His 22 victims included an 8year-old girl, several teenage girls, a 28-year-old man and a Polish couple who had come to collect their daughters.
The bombing also left 64 people wounded, of whom 20 were receiving critical care for highly traumatic injuries to major organs and limbs.
“It seems likely, possible, that he (Abedi) wasn’t doing this on his own,” Rudd said on BBC radio.
She said Abedi had been known to security services before the bombing. Asked about reports that Abedi had recently returned from Libya, Rudd said she believed that had been confirmed.
Abedi’s family were closely linked to the Didsbury Mosque, a Victorian former Methodist chapel in a leafy suburb here that was bought in 1967 by donors from the Syrian community.
His father, Ramadan, had performed the call to prayer, and his brother, Ismael, had been a volunteer there.
One senior figure from the mosque, Mohammed Saeed, told
The Guardian that when he once gave a sermon denouncing terror, Abedi stared him down.
“Abedi showed me a face of hate after that sermon,” Saeed said of the 2015 encounter.
“He was showing me hatred.” Abedi began studying business and management at Salford University here in 2014, but he dropped out after two years.
He did not live in university accommodation, had not been in any trouble, was not on any radar for pastoral or social care, and was not known to have participated in societies.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said British investigators had told French authorities that Abedi had probably travelled to Syria as well.
“Today we only know what British investigators have told us — someone of British nationality, of Libyan origin, who suddenly after a trip to Libya, then probably to Syria, becomes radicalised and decides to carry out this attack,” Collomb told BFMTV.
As Collomb was speaking in France, Rudd was asked by the BBC about the fact that information about Abedi, including his name, had come out from the US and whether she would look again at how information was shared with other countries.
“Yes, quite frankly. I mean 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.”
Asked whether the US leaks had compromised investigations, she said: “I wouldn’t go that far, but I can say that they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn’t happen again.”
France, which has repeatedly been hit by devastating militant attacks since 2015, extended emergency powers after the Manchester bombing. Agencies
Members of the media congregating outside Didsbury Mosque in Didsbury, Manchester, yesterday.