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Salman Abedi's family had connections in Libya
But Salman Abedi was already “ripe for radicalisation” long before the Manchester atrocity.
His path to terror began with his family’s connections in Libya.
His father’s links to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an organisation set up to overthrow former dictator Colonel Gaddafi, provided the hardline background that made him receptive to violent action.
IS does not radicalise people abroad. It doesn’t have the time or resources
Haras Rafiq – Quilliam Foundation think tank
“IS does not radicalise people abroad. It doesn’t have the time or resources,” said Haras Rafiq, of the Quilliam Foundation think tank.
“What they do is target those who are already ripe for radicalisation. And that’s what they found when they met Abedi.”
Recently Abedi’s father, Ramadan, had been an administrative manager in the Central Security Force in Tripoli, a brigade affiliated with the interior ministry of the country’s UN-backed government.
Armed police patrol near Manchester Arena
One acquaintance described how he would only return to England to “sort out his council house”.
But years ago he is known to have been a senior member in the Libyan Islamic organisation.
Arrested in Tripoli three days after his son carried out the suicide attack, he declared that he had taken his son to Libya because he feared he had become radicalised in Britain.
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But others say Ramadan mixed with extremists.
Sources say he regularly met Abdul-Baset Ghwela, a known recruiter for jihadis waging war in Benghazi, who would regularly meet him at Friday prayers in Tripoli.
He also befriended fellow Libyan Abu Anas al-Libi, whose fundamentalism had caused concern in Manchester.
Al-Libi became infamous for authoring the so-called “Manchester manual”, an al-Qaeda handbook, and he was placed under discreet surveillance at Didsbury.
Sickening images reveal what's left of the Manchester bomb backpack Wed, May 24, 2017
The remains of the backpack that killed at least 22 people, with more than 60 injured after Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the Manchester Arena, at 10:30pm Monday, 22 May 2017
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12-volt battery that was possible power source
Some people say Ramadan mixed with extremists
Many members of the LIFG fled Libya while Colonel Gaddafi remained in charge.
“They came in some numbers to Britain as political refugees, because they were an opposition group to Gaddafi. This was before 9/11 and their al-Qaeda connection was somewhat hidden. The fact they were Islamists was not considered a problem,” said Kyle Orton of the Henry Jackson Society think tank.
“This is the period where French intelligence referred to Londonistan, when so many refugees from Islamic resurgence in the Arab world ended up in London and other cities in the UK.”
Manchester, with the largest congregation of Libyans in Britain, became a focus for networks.
“We know that some were reactivated, with individuals like Salman going over to the Islamic State caliphate in Syria.”