BRITISH COPS NAB KEY SUSPECTS
11 alleged members of Libyan terror cell arrested as details emerge of bomber’s violent past
POLICE have rounded up “a large part” of the suspected Libyan terror cell, it was revealed yesterday. Officers said they had arrested the “key players” in the Middle England gang of alleged jihadis, who helped Salman Abedi, 22, wreak horror here.
After a series of raids in the Midlands and the North, 11 people were in custody last night.
Incredibly, unlike fanatics returning from Syria — who were flagged as terror risks — dozens of local youngsters had apparently been free to join the frontline in Libya without attracting as much attention. These developments came as it emerged:
SALMAN was among a group of young men from here who w
z ent to fight in Libya with their fathers, before switching allegiance to Islamic State (IS);
HIS younger brother, Hashem, 20, has been “singing like a canary” in custody. Hashem was arrested in Libya on Tuesday and had been naming names that were passed on to MI6 and MI5.
Within hours of the outrage, Salman’s older brother, Ismail, 23, was arrested outside a supermarket in South Manchester. His flat in Whalley Range was raided and armed police stormed the Abedi family’s former home in nearby Fallowfield;
A “BOMB factory” was found in Salman’s old flat in Merseyside; and,
–A BARBER shop run by the killer’s cousin was searched for bomb-making chemicals.
Last night, Britain’s top counterterrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said detectives had made “immense” progress since Monday’s atrocity.
He said officers were “very happy we’ve got our hands around some of the key suspects”, adding that police had made “significant” arrests and “finds”, and had got hold of a “large part” of the suspected network.
Rowley said it was likely further arrests would follow.
Salman’s father, who was also detained in Libya, had insisted on Wednesday that Ismail was innocent, and he was just preparing to go on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Ramadan Abedi, 51, also known as Abu Ismail, spoke by phone from the Libyan city of Tripoli.
“We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us.”
But Salman had spent his school holidays in war-torn Libya, where he might have learnt how to kill as young as 16.
He and his brothers were understood to have spent their 2011
“Music is something that everyone on Earth can share. Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy.”
In the wake of the attack, Grande had faced criticism from summer holidays waging war against Muammar Gaddafi in a group calling themselves the “Manchester Fighters”.
Hashem was 14 when he went, according to a neighbour.
The Daily Mail learnt that in 2014, Salman was hurt in battle.
He had left Manchester College in 2013 — having punched a girl for wearing a short skirt and admitting that he had “anger management issues” — and travelled to eastern Libya to join fanatics trying to impose syariah in Benghazi and Ajdabiya.
During fighting against forces led by Gaddafi opponent Khalifa Haftar, Abedi was injured and taken to hospital in Turkey, travelling under a false passport.
Yet, by September 2014, about four months later, he was back in the UK, starting his Salford University course. Agencies some commentators in Britain, notably Piers Morgan, who said she should have stayed and visited hospitalised survivors.
Grande in her statement said she has been focused “non-stop” on the victims and that “I will think of them with everything I do for the rest of my life.”
She cancelled two weeks of concerts, including two shows in London, after the attacks. AFP
A woman walking past a street mural created following the May 22 terror attack on Manchester Arena. The artwork featured bees, which are symbols of the city’s industrial heritage.
A video appearing to show Manchester bomber Salman Abedi outside his home in July last year.
Hashem Abedi Ramadan Abedi