“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

New Straits Times - - World - MANCH­ESTER

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.

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