The British-born suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester was probably radicalised by the family of a senior Al Qaeda leader who once lived in the city, according to a relative.
Salman Abedi, 22, who died after triggering the explosion at a crowded arena in May last year, knew the family of Anas Al Liby who was accused by the US of being one of the masterminds behind the bombing of embassies in east Africa in 1998 that killed 224 people, according to Abedi’s cousin.
Al Liby opposed the regime of Muammar Qaddafi and was believed to have claimed asylum in the UK and lived in Manchester where the Abedi family were fellow dissidents. The Abedi family came to the UK in the mid-1990s.
“Al Liby and his family lived here in Manchester once,” his cousin Isaac Forjani told The Sunday Times. “I remember them from when I was young. He was a terrorist wanted by the Americans. I think it was his family who radicalised him [Abedi].”
He told the newspaper that he was told that the Al Liby family showed Salman Abedi “videos and things” and also radicalised the bomber’s younger brother Hashem. Hashem Abedi is currently being held by a militia force in Libya and the UK is seeking his return to the UK.
Manchester police have secured an arrest warrant for the murders of 22 people despite believing that Salman Abedi, 22, largely acted on his own.
Mr Forjani said that Abedi borrowed a bank card from him to buy car batteries online that were used to make the bomb that killed the concert-goers, many of them children. “He’s evil. Simple as that,” he told the newspaper.
Mr Al Liby was captured in Libya in 2013 and brought to the US to stand trial for the attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He died just before his trial was due to start.