British detectives are preparing to interview Hashem Abedi (right), the younger brother of alleged Manchester bomber Salman Abedi. This comes as all 22 people arrested in the UK in relation to the attack have been released without charge.
Det Ch Supt. Russ Jackson said the Abedi brothers travelled to Libya together on 15 April before Salman returned to carry out the attack on 22 May. Strangely they were not questioned or apprehended by British or allied agencies during any leg of the journey.
Libyan authorities who arrested Hashem and father Ramadan in Tripoli after the attack, claim that the younger brother said he was the one who bought all of the key components and was involved in the planning stages – this despite Jackson previously claiming their investigation pointed to 22-year-old Salman as the purchaser of the bomb parts as a ‘lone wolf.’
Detectives also still maintain he assembled the sophisticated nailbomb with apparent remote detonation capabilities by himself, while also maintaining explosives had been found at several of the 29 houses searched during the investigation.
Does that make sense?
Police also say Salman was captured on CCTV buying nuts from a DIY store that were used as shrapnel – so he may have bought some of the parts, though whether they were forensically linked to the scene is not known.
Meanwhile a search is continuing at a landfill site for a blue suitcase which may contain “crucial evidence” that he is said to have discarded after assembling the bomb.
Furthermore a white Nissan Micra belonging to Salman contained “considerable evidence” and was allegedly used to store items for the explosive device while the brothers were in Libya.
Why there is such conflicting information being propagated by the authorities about the buying and assembly of the bomb is unclear, but what is clear is that there must have been others involved.
A college dropout doesn’t travel to multiple locations lugging bomb parts around and build a sophisticated device that could be set off by a third party, without a third party.
Filling in some of the gaps is the Daily Mail, who quote unnamed Libyan sources. They suggest Salman could have learned how to make bombs at an Al Muqatila “bomb school” in Tripoli. The splinter faction of the MI6 and NATO backed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (which Ramadan Abedi was allegedly a member), is said to have lost the compound to rivals Haitham Tajouri only two weeks ago. A senior figure showed the ruins to the Mail.
“We don’t know of many fathers who teach their sons to make bombs, and the Abedi family is unusual in having a suicide bomber and two suspects in the same household,” he said.
“But it seems inevitable to us that Ramadan Abedi, a known member of Al Muqatila, would bring his son here to train him.”
Are we really to believe a father would train his son to carry out a suicide bombing. A father with MI6 and NATO connections? A suicide bombing on a soft target that didn’t require a suicide bombing? And if so, that he’d fail to praise his son and spread his message after the fact? Salman himself never even left a martyrdom tape explaining his actions, making the bombing completely pointless if we’re entertaining the ‘blowback’ motive.
Furthermore the only comments directly from Ramadan to the media were that his son wasn’t capable of the atrocity and that he may have been set-up. Even secondhand information coming from the Libyan authorities makes no mention of the father being involved, only Hashem.
We can unpick this in several ways …
If Ramadan thinks his son is innocent, the Libyans probably aren’t going to let him spout this publicly. So that might explain his silence. And, even if Salman did learn to make bombs in Libya, it doesn’t mean the father was involved and has anything to add. It also doesn’t mean Salman ultimately became a suicide bomber. That conclusion will rely on the evidence from the scene, which currently doesn’t make much sense.
From another perspective, if Ramadan was involved in training his son as a suicide bomber or was otherwise involved in or knew of the plot – people in high places could be protecting or silencing him, depending on how the plot really unfolded. There has been no more mention of him since his arrest in Libya and the Brits also do not seen interested in questioning him. That would be in keeping with downplaying his ties to the British security state and/or downplaying the security state’s own dubious connections to the attack.
Whichever way we look at it, something is being covered up about the wider connections to the bombing.