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Britain had 'highly relevant' intelligence on Manchester attacker

Europe
05.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - British security services had "highly relevant" intelligence on the main suspect in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack, but it remains unclear if the attack could have been stopped, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Tuesday.

Rudd told parliament that the main suspect in the attack, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, was "a closed subject of interest at the time of the attack, and so not under active investigation."

But in early 2017, security service MI5 "received intelligence on him, which was assessed as not being related to terrorism," she said.

"In retrospect the intelligence can be seen to be highly relevant," Rudd said.

"Had an investigation been re-opened at the time, it cannot be known whether Abedi‘s plans could have been stopped: MI5 assess that it would have been unlikely."

Rudd was speaking after the publication of a report on the role of police and security officers before terrorist attacks in London and Manchester this year.

Lawyer David Anderson, who wrote the report, said that "investigative actions were for the most part sound" but added that "many learning points have emerged."

"It is conceivable that the Manchester attack in particular might have been averted had the cards fallen differently," Anderson said.

Greater Manchester Police said Abedi died after detonating explosives in his luggage in a foyer at the arena in May, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds after a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.

The police said that they believed Abedi, who had returned to Britain from Libya days before the attack, was part of a terrorist network.

 

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