MANCHESTER, UK, 24 MAY, 2017 Libyan authorities had been following Hashem Abedi, the suspect’s brother who was born 1997, for a month and a half because of suspected links to ISIS, said Ahmed Dagdoug, the spokesman for Libya’s counterterror forces.
The two brothers were close, and Dagdoug said that Salman placed a call to Hashem, as well as their mother, 30 minutes before carrying out the attack.
On Tuesday, that brother was detained in Libya. During interrogation, Hashem Abedi revealed that he knew his brother was going to carry out an attack, but he did not know where or when, Dagdoug said.
Dagdoug said Hashem Abedi also revealed that he knew exactly how the bomb was made, and that he believes that Salman created the device by himself. He said that he provided some assistance to his brother, but added no specific details as to what that was.
Dagdoug said a network was involved in planning the attack.
The brothers came to Libya on April 18 and Salman Abedi departed on May 17, Dagdoug said.
It’s not clear at this time if Salman went to Syria, Dagdoug said.
Salman Abedi’s father, Ramadan Abedi, was also arrested in Libya.
Ramadan Abedi was interviewed by Reuters from Libya while in detention, and he denied that his son was a follower of ISIS, who claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday.
“Salman doesn’t belong to any organization,” he told the news agency. “The family is a bit confused because Salman doesn’t have this ideology, he doesn’t hold these beliefs.”
Dagdoug told ABC News that the two brothers do consider themselves to be members of ISIS and said that they had been studying ISIS videos online, including instructional videos that teach the viewer how to make a bomb.
Greater Manchester police has just issued a statement:
This morning (Thursday 25 May 2017) we have been carrying out searches at an address in the Moss Side area during which a controlled explosion took place.
These searches are connected to Monday’s attack on the Manchester Arena, but this is a fast-moving investigation and we are keeping an open mind at this stage.
As it stands, six men and one woman have been arrested in conjunction with the investigation and remain in custody for questioning.
Greater Manchester police earlier confirmed its officers had carried out a controlled explosion in Moss Side.
Locals reported hearing a “loud bang” in the area south of the city centre at around 1.45am on Thursday, Press Association reports.
The explosion was heard in the neighbouring areas of Rusholme and Fallowfield, with concerned locals taking to social media. One wrote: “Does anyone know if the loud bang heard at 1:45amish this morning in/near Moss Side & Rusholme was an un/controlled explosion?”
At a Nato summit in Brussels on Thursday, Theresa May will meet Donald Trump and is expected to challenge him about the stream of leaks of crucial intelligence about the Manchester bomb attack that has appeared in the US media:
British officials were infuriated on Wednesday when the New York Times published forensic photographs of sophisticated bomb parts that UK authorities fear could complicate the expanding investigation into the lethal blast.
It was the latest of a series of leaks to US journalists that appeared to come from inside the US intelligence community, passing on data that had been shared between the two countries as part of a long-standing security cooperation.
A senior Whitehall source said: “These images from inside the American system are clearly distressing to victims, their families and other members of the public. Protests have been lodged at every relevant level between the British authorities and our US counterparts. They are in no doubt about our huge strength of feeling on this issue. It is unacceptable.”
Police chiefs also criticised the leaking of information from the investigation. A National Counter Terrorism Policing spokesperson said: “We greatly value the important relationships we have with our trusted intelligence, law enforcement and security partners around the world.
“When that trust is breached it undermines these relationships, and undermines our investigations and the confidence of victims, witnesses and their families. This damage is even greater when it involves unauthorised disclosure of potential evidence in the middle of a major counter-terrorism investigation.”
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