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Manchester Arena attack: Jailed terrorist admitted involvement in planning, inquiry told

Manchester Arena attack: Jailed terrorist admitted involvement in planning, inquiry told
07.12.2020
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Hashem Abedi has admitted for the first time his involvement in planning the Manchester Arena bombing, an inquiry has been told.

The terror attack, which targeted an Ariana Grande concert, killed 22 people and injured hundreds more on 22 May 2017.

Abedi, 23, made the admission in prison in October while he was visited by two members of the inquiry’s legal team.

The brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, had pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

He did not give evidence at the Old Bailey, but provided a pre-prepared defence statement in which he denied involvement.

He claimed to have been “shocked” by what his brother had done and did not hold extremist views.

He was convicted by a jury of all the offences and was handed 24 life sentences in August with a minimum term of 55 years before he can be considered for parole.

The inquiry was told Abedi was interviewed in prison on 22 October where he admitted he played “a full and knowing part”.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said: “On October 22, Hashem Abedi admitted that he had played a full part and a knowing part in the planning and preparation for the arena attack.”

Although he was in Libya at the time of the attack, he had been alongside his brother in Manchester at critical moments when chemicals were purchased and mixed to make the explosives for the device.

The inquiry was shown parts of his defence statement initially handed to police after his extradition from Libya in July last year.

He told police that if he had known of the attack, he would have reported it to his mother and then to other family members to prevent it from happening.

He said: “I was shocked my brother had done this and felt bad for everybody. I could never have envisaged that my brother had it in him to do this to innocent people.”

He added he was a practising Muslim but did not “delve too deep into anything other than I pray and read Koran”.

“I have no interest in Daesh (ISIS) and have no sympathy or support for their ideology and extremism. I am not a member of ISIS nor do I subscribe to their way of thinking or ideology,” he said.

The public inquiry is being chaired by a retired high court judge, Sir John Saunders, and is looking into the events before, during and after the attack.

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