Salman Abedi: Manchester bomber rescued by Royal Navy prior to attack
Killer of 22 concertgoers was on holiday in Libya when violence erupted in 2014
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi was rescued from the Libyan Civil War by the Royal Navy three years before he launched the Manchester Arena attack, it has emerged.
The UK government confirmed that Abedi - who killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande show last year - boarded the HMS Enterprise in Tripoli in August 2014 with his younger brother Hashem and more than 100 other British citizens.
Abedi’s name is understood to have been on a list of stranded citizens handed to the crew in charge of the evacuation, says The Independent. The future terrorist, then 19, was taken to Malta before returning to the UK.
Responding to the reports, a government spokesperson said: “During the deteriorating security situation in Libya in 2014, Border Force officials were deployed to assist with the evacuation of British nationals and their dependants.”
According to Sky News, Abedi was being monitored by UK security forces until the month before his rescue. A review following the Manchester attack concluded that the decision to close his case had been sound based on the information available at the time.
Abedi detonated a home-made bomb in the foyer of the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017 as fans were leaving a concert by US singer Grande. The 22 people killed included seven children.
A government source told the Daily Mail: “For this man to commit such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal.” The words were echoed on the newspaper’s front page this morning.
Abedi’s brother Hashem is currently being held in prison in Libya by a militia group. The British government has requested his extradition to face trial for his alleged involvement in the attack, a request that has been denied so far.