ISIS jihadi ‘was allowed to slip through net’ to kill 22 after ‘significant’ MI5 blunder, Manchester bomb inquiry finds | The Sun
MANCHESTER bomber Salman Abedi was free to kill 22 people after MI5 let him slip through the net,a damning report has found.
The terrorist murdered innocent children and adults and left hundreds of others injured at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017.
Abedi also died in the horrific attack, while his ISIS fanatic brother Hashem was later jailed for life for his "integral role" in the atrocity.
A third and final report following a two-and-a-half year judge-led investigation into the attack was released today.
It revealed how MI5 missed a "significant" opportunity to act over a key piece of intelligence that could have prevented the bombing.
The blunder was partly down to a failure by a security service officer to act swiftly enough, the report found.
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Chairman of the inquiry Sir John Saunders said: "It is not possible to reach any conclusion on the balance of probabilities or to any other evidential standard as to whether the attack would have been prevented.
"However, there was a realistic possibility that actionable intelligence could have been obtained which might have led to actions preventing the attack."
The "principal missed opportunity" was identified as two pieces of intelligence received by MI5 in the months prior to the attack.
These were not disclosed in the report or shared by spooks with counter-terror police in the North West.
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The intelligence was assessed to relate to "non-nefarious activity or to non-terrorist criminal activity".
Had further steps been taken, Sir John said it would have "increased the overall prospect that the attack would have been prevented".
He added: "We cannot know what would have happened, but there is at least the material possibility that opportunities to intervene were missed."
Richard Scorer, principal lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents the 11 families, said the 226-page report was "deeply painful to read".
Some relatives appeared emotional as the chairman spoke of the "appalling" and "unnecessary" attack and were seen consoling each other.
The document also described Abedi as like "a Petri dish brimming with germs" after his parents fled to Libya in 2016.
This meant his radicalisation was driven by "noxious absences and malign presences" that allowed him to spiral further into Islamist extremism.
The report also found Abedi should have been put on the anti-terror Prevent programme in 2015 and 2016.
The homegrown terrorist was also flagged to MI5 on other occasions amid fears he was mixing with terror suspects.
A meeting to consider further investigation of the warped jihadi was scheduled for 31 May 2017- nine days after the bombing.
Abedi was instead able to carry out the deadliest terror attack in Britain since 7/7 undetected.
Sir John made a number of recommendations in the report, which is the third to be released following the inquiry.
He said despite MI5 having a "very difficult job", if security services make mistakes then they must be "identified and steps taken to put them right".
The other reports focused on the emergency service response, which Sir John was highly critical of, and security arrangements on the night of the bombing.
Parts of the inquiry were held in private as four MI5 officers and 10 counter-terrorism police detectives gave evidence behind closed doors.
Sir John said as a result of this, he was unable to "make the findings that I have been able to make".
Abedi and his brother spent months hatching the bloodbath.
The pair flew back to Libya when friends noticed signs they had been radicalised but just four days before the attack, Salman Abedi returned to Manchester.
Had the intelligence been acted on, the return from Libya could have been treated "extremely seriously", the report found.
Haunting CCTV caught him skulking around the arena at a Take That gig on a practice run.
Despite being on the radar of security agencies, he was able to assemble a homemade bomb, which he kept in a Nissan Micra in Manchester.
Abedi was caught in chilling CCTV images with a rucksack packed with thousands of nuts just 19 seconds before the deadly blast.
He had waited for around an hour in the Manchester Arena foyer before parents and children left the gig at 10.30pm.
One minute later, he detonated the bomb as 359 people stood in the City Room – with 19 declared dead at the scene.
The youngest victim, Saffie-Rose Roussos, eight, suffered more than 70 external injuries, with 17 metal nuts in her body, and died from blood loss due to multiple injuries.
Among debris found after the blast were 1,675 nyloc nuts, 156 flanged nuts, 663 plain nuts and 11 fragments from Abedi and his victims.
There were also screws recovered by investigators but they were so damaged they couldn't be counted.
Abedi's body was later found in four parts and he had to be identified by his DNA and fingerprints.
His brother was was convicted of 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder encompassing the injured survivors, and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.
Speaking to the inquiry, Sir John said he was unable to "obtain a complete picture" of the part their family played in their radicalisation as no relatives were willing to give evidence.
He added: "I have concluded that there were a number of contributory factors to Salman Abedi's radicalisation.
"His family background and his parents' extremist views along with their participation in the struggle in Libya played a significant part.
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"That struggle involved people who were radical violent extremists. During the time Salman Abedi and (his brother) Hashem Abedi spent in Libya, during which they were probably involved in fighting, they are likely to have come into contact with a number of violent extremists.
"It is likely that those extremists included members of the Islamic State who would be in a position to provide the brothers with expertise in the making of bombs and in carrying out counter surveillance measures."
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