His highly religious family fled Gadaffi, but Salman Abedi returned in 2011 during the Libya conflict...
THE Manchester Arena bomber may have been a jihadist radicalised fighting Colonel Gadaffi in Libya — with Britain’s help, new evidence suggests.
Former Libyan rebel fighters told news site Middle East Eye that Britain had allowed Libyan exiles to travel to the country to join the Western-backed uprising against the dictator, which was dominated by radical Islamist terror groups.
Salman Abedi, whose terrorist attack on Monday night killed 22 people, is believed to have spent time in Libya during the 2011 uprising and was the child of an exiled Libyan couple who returned to fight.
It is understood that Abedi’s name was given to police several years ago because of his extreme views. He was also banned from his local mosque for the same reason.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted Abedi, 22, was known to the security services “up to a point.”
Abedi is now thought by police to have been part of a network and a 23-year-old believed to be his elder brother was arrested in Chorlton, south Manchester, on Tuesday.
His younger brother and father resettled in Libya following the war and were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of links to the Islamic State (Isis) terror group, authorities there say.
Nato entered Libya’s civil war after UN resolution 1973 authorised the imposition of a no-fly zone, ostensibly to protect civilians, but from the beginning actively fought for the rebels by bombing Gadaffi’s forces, resulting in the fall of the regime and a civil war which has lasted ever since.
Only 13 MPs — including Labour’s current leader Jeremy Corbyn — stood up to the war fever and opposed Britain’s entry into the bloody conflict.
Russia and China protested at the time that the resolution, which they abstained on, had not authorised an armed intervention against the government.
Testimony from rebels who have returned to Britain now suggests that even known terrorists were cleared to go and fight.
One who had been under a control order on suspicion of planning to join terrorist groups in Iraq said he was “shocked” to be allowed to travel to Libya “no questions asked.”
He also alleged British authorities had returned passports to members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a radical anti-Gadaffi outfit funded in the 1990s by MI6, knowing they wanted to return home to wage war.
Another, named as Belal Younis, says he was asked by an MI5 officer if he was willing to fight the government — which overruled police when they tried to stop him from travelling.
The former fighters say they didn’t know Abedi and doubted someone who was 16 at the time would have been allowed to fight, but terror groups in Syria and Iraq frequently field child soldiers.
NHS England said yesterday that 116 people were treated after the bombing and 75 are still in hospital, including 23 who are “critical.”