Friend of Manchester Arena bomber to be released from prison

Abdalraouf Abdallah still refuses to speak of contact with terrorist

A convicted terrorist who refuses to co-operate with authorities over his friendship with the Manchester Arena bomber will be released from jail.

Abdalraouf Abdallah, 27, was jailed in 2016 after being convicted of helping four people travel to Syria to join ISIS.

The Manchester Arena bombing inquiry heard Abdallah had also been in contact with bomber Salman Abedi in the months before the 2017 attack.

Abedi had twice visited him in jail before the bombings, the inquiry heard.

Prosecutors allege that Abdallah has “important evidence to give” about the background to the attack but is refusing to answer the questions on the basis that he might incriminate himself.

It is understood that Abdallah – who is paralysed from the waist down after being injured fighting in the Libyan revolution of 2011 – will be released on licence this week after his custodial sentence ends.

The 27-year-old moved to the UK as a child and grew up in Manchester.

In July 2016, he was jailed for five years and six months but, with time spent on remand and on curfew, his sentence will expire this week.

One of the key questions of the Manchester inquiry is how Abedi and his brother Ismail became radicalised.

The inquiry heard that Abedi had numerous phone contacts with Abdallah as well as the two prison visits.

Abedi and his younger brother began preparing the attack in the same month that he made his final visit to HMP Altcourse in Liverpool on January 18, 2017.

The pair discussed martyrdom, the inquiry heard.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the public inquiry, told the hearing this year: “Salman Abedi’s relationship with Abdalraouf Abdallah was one of some significance in the period prior to the bombing and we are determined to get to the bottom of it.

“We have no doubt he is a witness with important evidence to give.

“We are continuing to pursue this line of inquiry. We hope on reflection he will co-operate, so will press for him to give evidence before the inquiry.”

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