The UK is still reeling from the violence experienced at the Manchester Arena on May 22, and the United Kingdom is in the grip of grief and anxiety. The terrorism threat level currently stands at “critical” after Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British citizen and radicalised extremist Muslim, killed 23 people and critically wounded 59 others at the packed venue shortly after the conclusion of a concert performed by Ariana Grande.
The incident was the worst terrorist attack in Great Britain since the July 7 Bombings in 2007, and the worst terrorist attack to ever occur in the city of Manchester. As a result of the incident, Victoria station, situated across the street from the Arena, was evacuated and closed. The Trafford and the Arndale shopping centres were also evacuated after a suspicious package was found.
Greater Manchester police soon named the culprit as 22-year-old Salman Abedi,
a British muslim born to Libyan parents who had fled Colonel Gaddafi’s regime. Other, more moderate muslims had repeatedly expressed concern about Abedi’s radicalisation and extremist views to British security forces in the years preceding his suicide mission. A cleric at the Didbury mosque where Abedi worshipped claims that Abedi had looked at him “with hate” after he preached against Islamic State in 2015.
However, police investigators allege that it was unlikely that Abedi was operating alone, and that it is more likely that he was operating as part of an organised network of terrorists. Because of this suspicion, Abedi’s father and two brothers have subsequently been arrested and now it seems that evidence has emerged that one brother was aware of Salman’s plot, and was planning his own terrorist strike himself.
Hashem Abedi has reportedly been arrested in Libya, along with Salman’s father Ramadan. Libyan counter-terror officers claim that Hashem was complicit in the attack on Monday 22, and added that he was planning his own attack in the capital city of Tripoli, which he had previously visited with his family.
Spokesperson Ahmed Bin Salem told Reuters: “We have evidence that he is involved in ISIS with his brother. We have been following him for more than one month and a half. He was in contact with his brother and he knew about the attack.”
Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber, has also been arrested in Libya, although he has denied all knowledge and complicity in his son’s plot. However, it has been reported that Ramadan fought against the Gaddafi regime during the Arab Spring with the Libyan Islamic fighting group (LIFG). The US state department claims that certain members of LIFG were previously aligned with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, and US security personnel previously designated the group as a terrorist organisation back in 2004.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all of those affected by the catastrophe. If you would like to assist those who have suffered as a result of this atrocity then consider donating to this emergency charity appeal.