The father and younger brother of Manchester bomber Salman Abedi have been arrested in Libya, according to reports.
Rada, Libya’s counter-terrorism force, arrested Abedi’s younger brother Hashem in Tripoli on Wednesday, according to Reuters. His father, Ramadan Abedi, was also arrested in Tripoli that same day, according to the Associated Press. Libyan authorities suspected Hashem of ties to the Islamic State, while the circumstances of Ramadan’s arrest are unclear.
Former Libyan security officer Adbdel-Basit Haroun told the AP that he knew Ramadan, and claimed that he was a member of the al-Qaida linked Islamic Fighting Group in the 1990s. The organization is no longer active, but Haroun said Ramadan is still an adherent of the extremist Salafi Jihadist movement.
The elder Abedi denied that his son was responsible for the attack and any links to terrorist groups.
“We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us,” he told the AP.
Many questions remain unanswered regarding Salman Abedi’s background and connections. The 22-year-old reportedly traveled to Libya and possibly Syria in the last year, and authorities have claimed that he received terrorist training. ISIS took credit for the attack Tuesday, however, the vague language used in the group’s statement makes raises questions regarding Abedi’s relationship with the organization. Furthermore, authorities have said that Abedi possibly had ties to other terror groups, such as al-Qaida.
The intricate nature of the explosive used in the attack suggests a high degree of skill, according to authorities. The addition of nails and other forms of shrapnel is also a common jihadi tactic. British Prime Minister Theresa May said investigators are still determining whether Abedi acted alone in a speech Tuesday.
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