Manchester suicide bomber was rescued by Royal Navy from Libya THREE YEARS before killing 22 people at Ariana Grande concert

Many are liable to be furious over the fact that those saved by the Royal Navy went on to execute a terror attack on UK soil

                            Manchester suicide bomber was rescued by Royal Navy from Libya THREE YEARS before killing 22 people at Ariana Grande concert
(Source:Getty Images)

In a shocker, it has been revealed that the Manchester suicide bomber who killed 22 people had been rescued by the Royal Navy from the war-ravaged country of Libya just three years before he attacked the Ariane Grande concert in May 2017.

Reports said Salman Abedi, born of Libyan parents, was in Libya during his gap year from Manchester College when fighting broke out in August 2014. His younger brother Hashem, who is in a Tripoli jail facing a trial over the attack, was also there with him.

The HMS Enterprise was able to save the then 19-year-old Abedi and Hashem along with more than a hundren British citizen from the Libyan coast take them to Malta, from where they flew back to Britain.

Three years after the dramatic rescue, Abedi set off a bomb inside the Manchester Arena that took the lives of 22 people that included seven children.

The Daily Mail reported that the two of them had been in the crossfire of the fighting in Libya and were among more than 100 British citizens who had been rescued and taken to safety. Images that were released by the Ministry of Defense officials at the time of the incident showed a large group being taken on board the large vessel. The revelation that the brothers were rescued and then committed such an atrocious crime on UK soil will surely make the families of those who lost their lives furious. It is also going to raise questions over possible intelligence failures.

Abedi was a known suspect for the security services and was under surveillance at the time he took the trip to Libya. Unfortunately, the MI5 closed the case on him as a result of mistaken identity just a month before he was rescued. Family friends of the brothers in Libya confirmed that the two of them had been among the 110 British citizens who were rescued from Libya in 2014. One of them said: "They were sent together by the Royal Navy to Malta." 

After they were dropped off in Malta, Abedi and his then 21-year-old brother traveled back to Manchester, where they had been living at the time. After finishing college he studied business management from Salford University. But he dropped out and was radicalized enough to carry out the suicide bombing at the aage of 22.

The Royal Navy had been tasked with picking up the brothers from Libya along with the other Britons on a list that was given to the sailors. By the time this happened, the Foreign Office had already changed its official travel advice to warn any British citizens in Libya to "leave immediately by commercial means" because of all the fighting that was happening around Tripoli and the general instability of the country. The advice had also mentioned that those who could not leave independently could seek "assisted departure".

Many senior officials keep stressing that Abedi had not been radicalized at the time of the rescue and that it had happened later when he started watching videos on YouTube on how to make a bomb. It has been revealed by one family friend that they were simply there on holiday and had been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. The friend said: "Salman and Hashem were not involved in fighting at all and they had spent a lot of time with their mother in Tunisia."

A report that was made about the Manchester bombing by David Anderson QC had revealed that Abedi had been actively investigated in January 2014, seven months before the Libyan rescue. The report, which was published in December 2017, said that he had been investigated because it was "thought that he might have been an individual who had been seen acting suspiciously with a subject of interest" to the counter-terrorism police.

Abedi had, in fact, known the suspect but it turned out to not be the individual seen with. His record was closed in July 2014 and he was classified as a low residual risk. He came under the radar of authorities again in October 2015 because it was alleged that he had been in contact with an Islamic State figure in Libya but this turned out to be false so his file was closed again.

The review concluded by saying that the actions that were taken in relation to Abedi and the decision to shut his file were all the right decisions based on the information that was available at the time.

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.