The Manchester Arena suicide bomber had made trips to Libya, Downing Street said last night, as intelligence agencies combed his connections with al-Qaeda and Islamic State in his parents’ homeland.
Salman Abedi, 22, who was reportedly known to the security services, is thought to have returned from Libya as recently as this week.
A school friend told The Times: “He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago.”
Abedi born in Manchester, grew up in tight-knit Libyan community that was known for its strong opposition to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
He had become radicalised recently – it is not entirely clear when he had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fund-raising for jihadists.
Abedi’s older brother Ismail had been a tutor at Didsbury mosque’s Koran school. The imam last night said that Salman Abedi, who wore Islamic dress, had shown him “the face of hate” when he gave a talk warning on the dangers of so-called Islamic State.
Born in 1994, the second youngest of four children, Abedi’s parents were Libyan refugees who fled to the UK to escape Gaddafi.
His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were both born in Tripoli but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Whalley Range area of south Manchester where they had lived for at least a decade.
Abedi went to school locally and then on to Salford University in 2014 where he studied Business Management before dropping out. His trips to Libya, where it is thought his parents returned in 2011 following Gaddafi’s overthrow, are now subject to scrutiny including links to jihadists.