EXCLUSIVE: Never-before-seen photos show Manchester bomber Salman Abedi at a rally organised by Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-Palestine group – two years before he killed 22 people
- The protest against a visit by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took place in September 2015 at Downing Street
- Abedi went on to attend a second rally outside the UAE embassy, to demand the release of prisoners in Libya
- Two years later he blew himself up in Manchester Arena, killing 22 people
New pictures show Manchester bomber Salman Abedi at a demonstration organised by Jeremy Corbyn’s pro-Palestine group two years before he killed 22 people in the terrorist atrocity.
Libyan Abedi, 22, detonated a nail bomb at the Manchester Arena in May 2017 as crowds of people left an Ariana Grande concert.
Two years earlier the suicide bomber was outside Downing Street to protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to London.
He was there with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), a pressure group of which the former Labour leader is patron. There is no suggestion that either the PSC staff or Mr Corbyn knew Abedi.
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi, far right, attends a rally in London organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which Jeremy Corbyn is a patron
Later on the same day, Abedi, far right, attends a protest outside the UAE embassy in London
Salman Abedi with the suicide bomb on his back on the night of the attack in Manchester
A public inquiry into the events leading to the bombing heard last week that signs of Abedi’s radicalisation went back several years, meaning that he had already been on MI5’s radar in September 2015 when he attended the PSC protest.
He came to the security service’s attention at least 18 times before the attack, including for his attempts to travel to Syria and his links to Islamic State fundraisers.
Salman Abedi was brought to the attention of M15 at least 18 times before the 2017 terror attack, a public inquiry was told
But an investigation into Abedi was ended in July 2014, despite the fact that he went on to associate with terrorists a number of times before carrying out the atrocity.
The photos show the future suicide bomber posing with a Libyan flag.
The killer, whose parents are Libyan, had already formed bonds with Isis supporters and had been photographed holding a gun during Libya’s civil war.
Abedi had travelled in London that day with a group of Libyans from Didsbury Mosque. After the anti-Israel rally outside Downing Street, they attended a demonstration outside the UAE Embassy.
That protest was organised by the Libyan 17 February Forum, a British group that supported a Libyan Islamist militia aligned with Al-Qaeda’s Ansar al-Sharia group in Libya.
Some Libyan Muslims from Manchester had fought for the militia during the civil war in 2011. The rally called for the release of ‘brothers’ in Libyan prisons and condemned UAE’s backing for the insurgent warlord Khalifa Haftar.
Abedi first came to MI5’s attention on December 30, 2010, through his links to an address relevant to a subject of interest (SOI), an ongoing inquest heard.
Police at the scene outside Manchester Arena on the night of the attack
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (a fire engine at the scene) has apologised for taking two hours to respond to the Manchester Arena terror attack
Three years later, an investigation into an SOI ‘A’ suspected of involvement in planning to travel to Syria discovered telephone contact with Abedi.
In March 2014, Abedi was opened as an SOI but closed that July and investigation into him ended ‘based on his lack of engagement with individuals of interest’ to MI5.
A year later MI5 found Abedi owned a telephone in contact with another SOI ‘B’ previously linked to al-Qaeda and under investigation for helping others travel to Syria.
Salman Abedi was able to spend an hour waiting in the foyer for the concert to end with his bomb on his back, without being quizzed by security or police
He also met B in person and MI5 assessed Abedi’s extremism while likely to have been influenced by the contact, it was ‘unlikely’ B knew of Abedi’s plans.
The same year intelligence was received Abedi was in contact with a ‘longstanding SOI’ C, affiliated with extremists in Libya.
Again MI5 assessed C may have had some radicalising influence on Abedi, then aged 18, but no suggestion of involvement or knowledge of the Arena plan.
MI5 also had intelligence Abedi regularly travelled to Libya and that from 2015 onwards the service had ‘conflicting information’ he was espousing pro-Isis views.
On three later occasions, Abedi was identified as a ‘second level’ contact of three other SOIs, in April 2016 and April and January 2017.
The SOIs involved were suspected of providing support or recruitment for Isis in Syria or Libya.
And in both February 2015 and January 2017, he visited in two separate UK jails, Abdalraouf Abdallah, a convicted terrorist.
Twice in the months prior to the attack, intelligence was received by MI5 about Abedi, but was assessed at the time to relate to possibly non-nefarious or non-terrorist criminality.
In retrospect, this intelligence was highly relevant to the planned attack, but the significance of it was not fully appreciated at the times, the inquiry heard.
Victims (top row left to right) off-duty police officer Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, 8, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, (second row left to right) Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, (third row left to right), Chloe Rutherford,17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32,
Victims (fourth row left to right) John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, (fifth row left to right) Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43 (fifth row left to right) Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51
Abedi’s name also hit a ‘priority indicator’ during a separate ‘data-washing exercise’ as falling within a small number of former subjects of interest who merited further consideration.
A meeting to consider the results was scheduled for May 31, 2017, nine days after the bombing.
But even if MI5 had taken different decisions in the months before the attack it may not have stopped the bombing, the inquest was told.
The PSC and Jeremy Corbyn declined to comment.
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