A picture has been uncovered showing Manchester Arena terrorist Salman Abedi’s brother holding a rocket launcher, as an inquiry into the attack heard how MI5 were twice alerted about the bomber in the months leading up to the atrocity.
The picture shows Hashem Abedi, who helped his suicide bomber brother plan the attack, holding the weapon in his war-torn home country of Libya.
Hashem, 23, helped create the bomb that his brother detonated at an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017, killing 22 people.
He was jailed last month for life with a minimum term of 55 years for 22 counts of murder, after a court heard he was ‘just as guilty’ as his brother.
It comes as an inquiry into the attack heard how Salman Abedi had links to an ‘extremist’ arrested over a failed suicide attack in Devon and was twice flagged to MI5 in the months leading up to the atrocity, an inquiry heard.
Abedi, 22, was in contact with Muslim preacher Mansour al-Anzei who was a ‘close associate’ of Islamic convert Nicky Reilly.
Reilly had tried to bomb a cafe in Exeter nine years to the day before Abedi’s 2017 attack.
Hashem Abedi, the brother one of those responsible for the terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017, pictured with a rocket launcher
Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a home-made shrapnel packed bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the arena on May 22 2017, killing 22 bystanders and injuring hundreds more.
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi walking from Vitoria Station towards the Manchester Arena
Carnage was avoided only because one of the devices exploded in his face as he prepared them in the toilet of the Giraffe restaurant.
Abedi had comforted preacher al-Anzei on his death bed in January 2017. Five months later Abedi blew himself up at the end of a pop concert.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry into the Manchester atrocity, said Abedi missed a scheduled prison visit to see another convicted terrorist to be with Mr al-Anezi because he was dying of cancer – and to attend his funeral on January 17, 2017.
After the attack, ‘various items related to Anezi’ were found at the Abedi family home in Fallowfield, south Manchester. Kuwaiti national Mr al-Anezi led prayers at a mosque in Plymouth, where Reilly lived.
Reilly had a mental age of ten and changed his name to Mohamed Saeed Alim after being recruited by extremists over the internet. He was jailed for life in January 2009 after his bungled suicide attack. He killed himself in prison seven years later.
Mr Greaney told the inquiry, which is being held at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, that questions would be asked of the intelligence services about what they knew about Salman Abedi, who had been on their radar since March 2014.
Mr Greaney said MI5 knew Abedi had visited Abdalraexactly ouf Abdallah, 27, who was jailed for more than five years in July 2016 for trying to help other Manchester fanatics join extremists in Syria – but assessed this did not justify re-opening an investigation into him.
On at least two separate occasions, MI5 received intelligence about Abedi, the significance of which was not fully appreciated at the time, but with hindsight was ‘highly relevant’.
The bomber had been flagged as requiring further investigation, and a meeting about him had been scheduled for May 31, 2017.
It never happened because Salman carried out his attack nine days earlier.
Mr Greaney said police had discovered ‘frequent phone contact’ between al-Anezi, Salman Abedi and his younger brother Hashem, now 22, in October and November 2016, seven months before the Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people as they left an Ariana Grande concert.
Police have been unable to ascertain exactly what the trio were talking about, the barrister added.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that a jailed terrorist who Abedi visited in a UK prison months before his attack is refusing to help the public inquiry into the atrocity.
Abdalraouf Abdallah, 26, is declining to speak to lawyers for the inquiry who want to know about his links to the Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi
Abdalraouf Abdallah, 26, is declining to speak to lawyers for the inquiry who want to know about his links to the Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi, the hearing in Manchester was told today.
Abedi, 22, detonated a home-made shrapnel packed bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the arena on May 22 2017, killing 22 bystanders and injuring hundreds more.
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said: ‘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.’
He said Abdallah was refusing to co-operate, claiming legal privilege not to incriminate himself.
Mr Greaney added: ‘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.’
Salman Abedi’s remaining family, including father Ramadan, mother Samia and sister Jomana, who all live in Libya, have refused to co-operate as has younger brother Hashem Abedi, jailed for life last month for his part in the bomb plot.
Ismail Abedi, the eldest brother who lives in the UK, is also claiming legal privilege.
Mr Greaney said: ‘This is most unhelpful and we hope Salman Abedi’s family will reflect and understand they have a moral obligation to provide the information we require.’
He said the inquiry must try to understand how Abedi became radicalised and why he carried out this ‘horrific act of violence’.
The inquiry was told Abdallah, jailed for nine years in 2016 for terror offences, had numerous telephone contacts from 2014 with Abedi who visited him at HMP Belmarsh and HMP Altcourse, Liverpool.
Abdallah, from Manchester, was left wheelchair-bound after he was shot and paralysed from the waist down while fighting in the Libyan uprising and returned to the UK for treatment.
In February 2017, three months before the bombing, prison authorities found he had an illicit phone and had tried to make calls to Abedi.
The inquiry also heard about Abedi’s connection to Mansoor Al-Anezi, linked to Reilly who attempted a suicide bombing on a restaurant in Exeter in 2008.
Police scrambled to Manchester Arena in their droves after the shocking attack three years ago
Abedi was with Al-Anezi when he died from cancer in 2017 and property belonging to him was found at the Abedi home in south Manchester.
The links were a number of matters relating to how Abedi became radicalised, to be explored at the inquiry, Mr Greaney said.
They included his education, his friendships and associates and his religious community, including his attendance at Didsbury Mosque, the hearing was told.
At the trial of his younger brother Hashem Abedi earlier this year, jurors heard how the two changed, gave up education, wore traditional Islamic clothing and became more religious in the months and years before the bombing.
Earlier in the inquiry, it emerged a victim may have survived his injuries if he had not waited nearly an hour for medical treatment.
John Atkinson, 28, had a heart attack an hour and 17 minutes after the blast when he suffered blood loss from leg and abdominal wounds.
He only received treatment after he was carried to paramedics by members of the public on a makeshift stretcher made from advertising hoardings and a metal barrier.
Mr Atkinson was ‘conscious and able to speak’ when taken from the scene but died less than an hour later.
The inquiry has also been told the fire service had an ‘inadequate and ineffective’ response to the bombing.
Training exercises raised ‘serious concerns’ about how the fire service and police worked together ahead of the terror attack but lessons were not learned, the inquiry has heard.
On the night, the fire service decided to ‘muster’ at their station three miles from the scene.
Problems with communication and confusion over whether an ‘active shooter’ was at the arena meant fire engines, specialist equipment and stretchers did not arrive until two hours and six minutes after the explosion, by which time all the casualties had been evacuated.
John Atkinson, 28, (pictured) was caught in the blast carried out by suicide bomber Salman Abedi in the City Rooms, the foyer of the arena
In other development at the inquiry in Manchester today:
- The inquiry heard the harrowing final moments of the 22 people killed in the atrocity.
- Marcin Klis, 42, and his wife and Angelika, 39, were waiting to pick up their children, ‘with their arms around one another’. The couple were just four metres away from the blast and suffered ‘unsurvivable’ injuries;
- Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, was asked by her friend what her favourite song was as they walked, but the ‘explosion detonated before she could answer’;
- Only one stretcher was brought to help with evacuations and police and public were forced to use cardboard and crowd control barriers to carry victims from the scene;
- An exercise called Winchester Accord was held in May 2016 at the Trafford Shopping complex showed up failings which mirrored the night of the attack;
- North West Fire Control was first notified at 10.34pm, three minutes after the bomb had gone off, that there had been an explosion and mass casualties and police were looking for a second device;
- They also received reports, wrongly, of an ‘active shooter’ and some casualties with gunshot wounds;
- But there appeared to be confusion about whether GMFRS should follow procedures based on the incident being an explosion or a terror bombing
Mr Atkinson, a health care assistant who worked with autistic adults, was at the concert because Ariana Grande was one of his favourite singers, the inquiry was told.
He received the tickets as a Christmas present and went with a lifelong friend called Gemma O’Donnell, who was also the sister of his partner, Michael.
Mr Atkinson was six metres away from Salman Abedi when he set off his suicide bomb in the City Room foyer of Manchester Arena at 10.31pm.
He managed to drag himself towards an exit called the 50 Pence staircase, where he was helped by a member of the public called Ronald Blake, who was among the first people to dial 999, seconds after the blast.
Mr Blake was talked through how to put a tourniquet on Mr Atkinson’s leg using his belt, by the emergency call handler and he stayed with Mr Atkinson for ‘just short of an hour’ until he was treated by paramedics, Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquest, said.
Mr Atkinson was ‘conscious and able to speak’ at 11.17pm when he was lifted onto an advertising board and dragged out of the City Room by a number of people because there were no stretchers.
His rescuers were planning to take him down to the station concourse in the lift but they could not get him into it, the inquiry was told.
They managed to slide a metal barrier under the advertising hoarding and he was carried down to the station concourse at 11.25pm, ten minutes after he was taken out of the City Room.
Paramedics took his pulse at 11.34pm – just over an hour after the blast – when it was measured at 62 beats a minute, but at 11.48 he suffered a heart attack.
He was placed in an ambulance at 11.59pm and arrived at Manchester Royal Infirmary, 7 minutes later.
‘Despite the efforts of those treating him, he was declared dead at 12.24am,’ Mr Greaney said.
Mr Atkinson had sustained very severe leg injuries and abdominal injuries and suffered a cardiac arrest due to inadequate blood filling his circulatory system.
A panel of experts on blast injuries, instructed by the inquiry, said the injuries he suffered were ‘potentially survivable.’
On the night, the fire service decided to ‘muster’ at their station three miles from the scene, and did not arrive at the arena until two hours and six minutes after the explosion. Pictured, emergency services at the scene
Salman Abedi was seen ‘adjusting wiring’ underneath his clothes in the moments leading up to the devastating terror attack which left 22 people dead on May 22, 2017
Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, (left) said the exercise ‘raised serious concerns about the interaction between police commanders and their communications with other responding emergency services.’ The public inquiry, chaired by Sir John Saunders (right) at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, is looking at events before, during and after the suicide bombing by jihadist Salman Abedi at the end of an Ariana Grande concer
A post-mortem discovered that Mr Atkinson suffered from ischaemic heart disease and Dr Paul Rees, a surgeon commander in the Royal Navy and an expert in cardiology was instructed to investigate further.
His conclusions were said to be ‘stark’.
‘On the balance of probabilities, the heart condition did not contribute to blood loss, cardiac arrest or to the ability to successfully resuscitate John,’ Mr Geaney said.
‘In short, in the opinion of Dr Rees, the heart condition did not make any difference to whether or not John would have died.
‘As we have said, survivability is therefore an issue of considerable importance in the case of John Atkinson.’
The inquiry was also told North West Fire Control was first notified at 10.34pm, three minutes after the bomb had gone off, that there had been an explosion and mass casualties and police were looking for a second device.
They also received reports, wrongly, of an ‘active shooter’ and some casualties with gunshot wounds.
But there appeared to be confusion about whether GMFRS should follow procedures based on the incident being an explosion or a terror bombing.
Inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders said Salman Abedi (left) ‘blew himself up in the explosion but he intended as many people as possible would die with him.’ Right: A CCTV image of Salman Abedi at Victoria Station making his way to the Manchester Arena, on May 22, 2017, where he detonated his bomb
Station manager Simon Berry, of GMFRS, was told a rendezvous point was arranged with police at Manchester Cathedral nearby, but this was rejected in favour of a different ‘muster point’ for just four fire engines at Philips Park fire station three miles away from the arena.
This decision would be ‘critical’ to the understanding of how the fire service was delayed so long in deploying to the arena, Mr Greaney said.
British Transport Police (BTP), who had declared a major incident within nine minutes of the blast, were calling the fire service asking how many fire engines had been deployed to the arena.
But North West Fire Control still believed there was an active shooter and people had been shot.
GMFRS also set up a command room at its own HQ in Salford, rather than gathering with the heads of the other emergency services at Greater Manchester Police HQ in east Manchester.
An expert report on GMFRS’s response to the attack found it ‘inadequate and ineffective’ and said there was a lack of effective leadership, strategic direction and ‘operational grip’, though ‘no single individual’ was responsible for the failings.
The public inquiry, scheduled to last into next spring, was adjourned until Monday.
FINAL MOVEMENTS OF ARENA BOMBING VICTIMS DETAILED AT INQUIRY
The final movements of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing have been outlined at the public inquiry into their deaths.
Counsel to the inquiry Paul Greaney QC said the details would be ‘difficult to hear and difficult to deliver’, as he warned those watching it may be distressing.
Relatives of some of the victims wiped away tears in the hearing room at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, while other families watched proceedings from a nearby annexe.
Photographs of the 22 were displayed as Mr Greaney described their movements at the Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017, where they were when Salman Abedi detonated his bomb in the City Room foyer, the extent of the medical treatment given to their injuries, and their cause of death.
– Alison Howe, 44, and Lisa Lees, 43, from Oldham, took their daughters to the concert and later returned to pick them up.
Nurse and ‘much-loved’ wife and mother Mrs Howe was described as a gifted musician who was due to celebrate her 45th birthday two days later and then go on holiday to New York with husband Stephen.
Lisa Lees and Alison Howe took their daughters to the concert and later returned to pick them up but were both tragically killed
Loved ones of beauty therapist Mrs Lees said they remembered the married mother-of-two for her ‘wide smile and infectious laugh’.
Both were standing four metres away from the blast site and were pronounced dead at the scene with concert T-shirts placed over their bodies. Post-mortem examinations showed Mrs Lees died from multiple injuries and Mrs Howe from a head injury – with both likely to have been rendered unconscious immediately. Their injuries were said to be unsurvivable.
– Customer services assistant Angelika Klis, 39, and taxi driver Marcin Klis, 42, from York, were collecting their daughters Alexandra and Patrycia, aged 20 and 14, in the foyer.
The couple, who met and fell in love in their native Poland, were said by their daughters to have ‘shared a deep bond’, were ‘very caring’ and would plan a family day out every few weeks.
They stood with their arms around each other as they waited for the concert to finish. At the time of the explosion they were four metres away. Neither showed any signs of life and their bodies were covered with T-shirts and posters before a paramedic attached a label to them – like other victims – to identify they were deceased.
Mr Kliss died of chest injuries and his partner from multiple injuries, which in both cases were said to be unsurvivable.
– Students Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, from South Shields, had been in a relationship since 2014 and travelled to the concert together.
Miss Rutherford was a talented songwriter and performer who had recently completed a BTEC in music performance studies, while Mr Curry was a talented sportsman and keen cricketer who was studying for a sports degree at Northumbria University and spoke about joining the police.
Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry, from South Shields, had been in a relationship since 2014 and travelled to the concert together
Both were stood four metres from the bomber as they walked towards the City Room exit and were pronounced dead at the scene, with T-shirts placed over them.
They were said to have died from multiple injuries which were deemed unsurvivable.
– Leeds Beckett University student Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead, travelled to Manchester with family members as her younger sister attended the concert.
Described by her family as ‘confident, strong-minded, loving and caring’, she had previously submitted her first year psychology and criminology examination papers and was subsequently awarded a honorary degree in July 2017.
Leeds Beckett University student Courtney Boyle, 19, from Gateshead, travelled to Manchester with family members as her younger sister attended the concert
Just four metres away from the killer when the blast was detonated, the inquiry heard death would have happened quickly and her multiple injuries were said to be unsurvivable.
– Eilidh MacLeod, 14, travelled to Manchester from her home on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides with her mother and a friend.
The ‘much-loved’ middle sister of three was ‘very family orientated’ and loved music which was a big part of her life, having enjoyed success in the World Bagpipe Playing Championships in 2016. Those who know her said they are sure she would have succeeded at whatever she wanted to do in life, the inquiry heard.
Eilidh MacLeod, 14, travelled to Manchester from her home on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides with her mother and a friend
Miss MacLeod was four metres from the explosion and a post-mortem examination showed it was very likely she would have died quickly from multiple injuries, said to be unsurvivable. Her body was covered in clothing and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
– Police officer Elaine McIver, 43, from Cheshire, was waiting in the foyer with her partner to collect his young daughter and her friend.
The detective constable ‘loved’ being in the police and was getting ready to move house with her partner at the time, the inquiry was told.
Police officer Elaine McIver, 43, from Cheshire, was waiting in the foyer with her partner to collect his young daughter and her friend
She was standing five metres from the seat of the explosion and died from unsurvivable chest injuries.
– Georgina Callander, 18, from Preston, had travelled to the concert with a friend while her mother waited nearby.
She was said to be ‘very caring’ and ‘loved life’, having just passed her driving test and earned a place at university to study paediatrics.
Miss Callander was four metres from the bombing and was later seen by heart paramedics who designated her as a priority casualty. She was taken with her mother by ambulance but by the time they reached hospital she went into cardiac arrest and was later pronounced dead.
Her fatal head injury was said to be unsurvivable and she would have been rendered unconscious immediately.
– Mother-of-three Jane Tweddle, 51, a school receptionist from Blackpool, had gone to Manchester with a friend whose daughter was attending the concert.
Her loved ones said she ‘treated everyone with kindness, decency and respect’ and ‘loved to make people laugh’.
She was 13 metres from the blast site and was hit by a single projective. Witnesses described seeing signs of life and attempts were made by police officers to resuscitate her, but to no avail.
Her fatal neck injury was said to be unsurvivable.
– John Atkinson, 28, from Manchester, attended the concert with the sister of his long-term partner.
His ‘caring nature’ led him to his job as a healthcare assistant where he helped young adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
John Atkinson, 28, from Manchester, attended the concert with the sister of his long-term partner
Just six metres away when the bomb was detonated, he managed to drag himself a short distance and was then tended to by a member of the public for just short of an hour before medical assistance arrived.
After a tourniquet was placed on his leg he was later conscious and able to speak, but he suffered a cardiac arrest before he was transported by ambulance to hospital where he died shortly afterwards.
The post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death was from severe leg injuries, as well as abdominal injuries. He was also found to have significant heart disease which may have contributed to his death, said a pathologist. Bomb blast experts believe his injuries may have been potentially survivable but could not comment on any impact from the heart disease so the inquiry will hear evidence from an expert cardiologist.
– Insurance claims assessor Kelly Brewster, 32, from Sheffield, had gone to the concert with her sister and another younger relative.
Her family were said to have ‘meant the world’ to the devoted aunt who was planning to have a baby and buy a new house with her partner Ian Winslow, and had earlier in the evening texted him to say she loved him.
Insurance claims assessor Kelly Brewster, 32, from Sheffield, had gone to the concert with her sister and another younger relative
She and her relatives left their seats shortly after the last song and entered the City Room only seven seconds before the bomb detonated.
She was given first aid and CPR and was said to have appeared to have shown intermittent signs of life, but then became unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene with T-shirts used to cover her body.
A post-mortem examination found she died from head and abdominal injuries which would have rapidly rendered her unconscious. Her injuries were also said to be unsurvivable.