Police seek parents of Manchester Arena bomber on suspicion of terrorist offences

Forensic evidence linked to Salman Abedi’s father Ramadan Abedi found

Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman Abedi, the bomber who killed 22 concert-goers in an attack in Manchester, gestures as he speaks to Reuters in Tripoli, Libya, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hani Amara      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Detectives investigating the Manchester Arena bombing want to question the parents of suicide bomber Salman Abedi on suspicion of terrorist offences linked to the forensics and financing of the attack.

Salman's father Ramadan Abedi and mother Samia Tabbal are in Libya but the Manchester Arena inquiry heard that they are both being sought in connection with the attack.

Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017, killing 22 people and injuring more than 1,000.

A photo released on the Facebook page of Libya's Ministry of Interior's Special Deterrence Force on May 24, 2017 claims to shows Hashem Abedi, the brother of the man suspected of carrying out the bombing in the British city of Manchester, after he was detained in Tripoli for alleged links to the Islamic State (IS) group. - Libya arrested a brother and father of Salman Abedi who is suspected of the bombing at a pop concert killing 22 people, including children on May 22, 2017. (Photo by HO / LIBYA'S SPECIAL DETERRENCE FORCE / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / LIBYA'S SPECIAL DETERRENCE FORCE" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

His younger brother Hashem was sentenced to at least 55 years in prison for murder for his role in plotting the attack.

On Monday it was revealed that he had finally confessed to the attack for the first time.

The public inquiry heard on Tuesday the men's parents are wanted for questioning on suspicion of terrorism offences.

Police said they had found forensic evidence linked to their father, Ramadan. Fingerprints were found in a newly bought car used to store explosives while Salman was in Libya in the weeks before the attack.

“This is in relation to the overarching suspicion, commission, preparation and instigation [of the attack],” Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough of Greater Manchester Police told the hearing.

“There are pieces of evidence that we need to talk to Ramadan about, some of that is forensic and some of that is about his account about coming to the UK to collect Hashem and Salman and returning with them – and some of it is his mindset.”

He said Ms Tabbal was wanted for questioning on suspicion of terrorism financing. Welfare benefits had continued to be claimed in her name, and then used by her sons, despite her living in Libya.

A handout photo released by the Manchester Arena Inquiry in Manchester, northern England on September 8, 2020, shows suicide bomber Salman Abedi walking from Vitoria Station towards the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017. - A public inquiry into the May 22, 2017 suicide attack at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert, by 22 year old Salman Abedi, started this week in Manchester. (Photo by - / Manchester Arena Inquiry / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / Manchester Arena Inquiry " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

The Abedi family, staunch opponents of Muammar Qaddafi, fled Libya in 1991 and settled in the north-west English city of Manchester in 1994, where they continued their opposition with like-minded defectors.

Ramadan was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was proscribed by the British government as a terrorist organisation until last year.

In August 2011, he travelled to Tripoli with the two sons, who would later become terrorists, to deliver medical supplies and aid to rebels fighting the Qaddafi regime, a report by the UK Parliament’s intelligence committee said.

He returned to live in Libya in 2016, returning to the UK in the weeks before the bombing to fetch Salman and Hashem because of concerns about their radicalisation, police said after the trial of the latter.

During Salman's time in Tripoli in 2011, when he was 16, he had a job conducting raids to locate Qaddafi supporters, the inquiry was told.

The inquiry heard that images were recovered of him as a member of the Libyan militia group, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, posing with weapons, and that both brothers had undergone military training.

Both brothers took drugs and alcohol, despite attending prayers at their local mosque five times a day, the hearing heard, and Salman was addicted to painkillers.

Their older brother Ismail had contacted their parents prior to the attack over concerns they had dropped out of school, were taking drugs and were becoming radicalised.

However, on Tuesday the hearing was told Ismail had been stopped at Heathrow airport in 2015 and a search of his phone had revealed he had an interest in ISIS.

A later raid uncovered ISIS images, flags and pictures of burnt bodies and a lecture by a senior Al Qaeda recruiter on his device.

“Ismail may have been aware of Salman’s radicalisation and Ismail was sympathetic to the ideals of ISIS,” the hearing heard.

It is expected Ismail will give evidence to the hearing at a later date.

A public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing is examining the circumstances of the attack and if any opportunities to prevent it were missed.

On Tuesday it was told Salman had twice unsuccessfully applied to become a security guard for G4S, which operates security at concert venues and football stadiums.

The inquiry, established by Home Secretary Priti Patel in October last year, is expected to run until the spring of 2021.