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Terrorism leads pursued by MI5 and anti-terror police have more than doubled in last year

Salman Abedi (pictured) was allowed to visit an extremist in a UK prison and travel back and forth to Libya unchallenged

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi was allowed to visit an extremist in a UK prison and travel back and forth to Libya unchallenged before killing 22 concert-goers, a damning report has revealed.

MPs on Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee today slammed a series of failures by security services and other authorities in how Abedi was handled in the lead-up to his devastating attack.

They insist he should not have able to meet the category A inmate in prison and have demanded a scheme to ensure all visitors to extremist prisoners are screened.

The committee also blasts the lack of monitoring on Abedi’s travel, with MI5 admitting it should have done more to track his movements in and out of the UK.

MI5 also accepted it ‘moved too slowly’ in reviewing Abedi’s case after an investigation into him was dropped in 2014 and, despite his case being flagged for revision, no review took place before he carried out the attack.

Doctors and emergency staff treat the injured at Victoria Station after the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena

Doctors and emergency staff treat the injured at Victoria Station after the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena

The report states: ‘What we can say is that there were a number of failures in the handling of Salman Abedi’s case and while it is impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack on May 22, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed.’

MPs are also furious at ‘fundamental failings’ in the handling of Parsons Green bomber Ahmed Hassan, but have ordered a separate review in his case after the Home Office delayed handing over key information.

Police are pictured at the scene at Manchester Arena when terrorists hit an Ariana Grande concert last year 

Police are pictured at the scene at Manchester Arena when terrorists hit an Ariana Grande concert last year 

The Committee also makes broader recommendations in relation to all five terror attacks last year.

The reports criticises authorities to failing to learn lessons from the 7/7 attacks and the killing of Lee Rigby, adding: ‘The lessons from last year’s tragic events must now result in real action.’

They castigate internet firms for failing to tackle the scourge of extremism online and call on large firms to boycott advertising with them until more is done to take down hate speech and bomb recipes.

The report states: ‘ In relation to explosives, we found the system for regulating and reporting purchases of the ingredients used to make explosives was hopelessly out of date.

It continues: ‘We recommend that pressure is out on Communications Service Providers (CSPs) by the business community, following the example of companies such as Unilever.

‘We strongly consider that action which affects CSPs’ profits will hit home harder than an appeal to them to “do the right thing” and could force them to take action on this crucial issue.’

Counter terror police and MI5 have more than doubled the amount of leads they are pursuing following a wave of attacks on UK soil last year (pictured: armed police at London Bridge following the 2017 attack)

Counter terror police and MI5 have more than doubled the amount of leads they are pursuing following a wave of attacks on UK soil last year (pictured: armed police at London Bridge following the 2017 attack)

A total of 36 people died and hundreds were injured in the attacks in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park last year.

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released a report into the attacks today.

Secret service operatives and anti-terror police have more than doubled the amount of leads pursued in the past year.

Their systems are tracking more than 20,000 more people following a wave of terror strikes on UK soil last year.

The people in question are subjects of interest whose cases were investigated but then closed. 

Reopening the files means MI5 and anti-extremism police had more than twice as many leads to investigate in the last 12 months.

Many of the 20,000 remain extremists but were not involved in planning attacks, though a number of 2017’s plotters were already known to secret service.

Counter-terror experts have reopened investigations into 20,000 former subjects of interest following the London Bridge attack (pictured: police at the scene) last year 

Counter-terror experts have reopened investigations into 20,000 former subjects of interest following the London Bridge attack (pictured: police at the scene) last year 

Khalid Masood (pictured) murdered Pc Keith Palmer  in last year's Westminster terror attack. He was known to MI5 before the attack

Khalid Masood murdered Pc Keith Palmer (pictured) in last year's Westminster terror attack. He was known to MI5 before the attack

Khalid Masood (pictured, left) murdered Pc Keith Palmer (right) in last year’s Westminster terror attack. He was known to MI5 before the attack

Pilot schemes could mean councils and other agencies getting in the act by sharing intelligence to fight extremism.

A government counter-terror strategy published in the summer said the schemes will work to identify who among the thousands of former ‘subjects of interest’ pose the greatest risk. 

Officers are investigating people who they say remain extremists but were not involved in the deadly terror plots of last year (pictured: police at the scene in London Bridge following the attack)

Officers are investigating people who they say remain extremists but were not involved in the deadly terror plots of last year (pictured: police at the scene in London Bridge following the attack)

They will have to factor in the switch for some terrorists to vehicle and knife attacks, which are easier to co-ordinate than gun and bomb attacks.

Khuram Butt, who led the attack on London Bridge, hired the van he used just six hours before he struck.

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee is preparing a report on the five terror attacks that hit the UK in 2017. 

Where did terrorists strike in 2017? 

There were five attacks on UK soil last year, four of which happened in the capital.

The attacks are listed chronologically below:

March 22: Westminster Bridge, central London

Khalid Masood killed four pedestrians with a hire car and injures dozens more. He then stabs police officer Keith Palmer to death. Just 82 seconds into the attack, Masood is shot dead.

Emergency service workers are pictured surrounding PC Keith Palmer following his fatal wounding in the Westminster attack 

Emergency service workers are pictured surrounding PC Keith Palmer following his fatal wounding in the Westminster attack 

May 22: Manchester Arena

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi murdered 22 people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, injuring more than 200 others. 

June 3: London Bridge

Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba kill eight people in a stabbing frenzy at Borough Market after driving a van into pedestrians. The three attackers are shot dead eight minutes into the attack.

June 19: Finsbury Park, North London

Darren Osborne drives a van at Muslim worshippers outside a mosque, where one person dies and several are injured.  

 September 15: Parsons Green, West London

Improvised explosive device injures 22 people after detonating on a Tube during the morning rush hour.      

  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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