British security services allegedly received a warning about Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi in January, a security source told The Daily Mail on Sunday.
The FBI reportedly shared information with MI5 about Abedi’s links to terrorist groups in Libya, and that he belonged to an Islamic State cell in Manchester. He was put on a terror watch list by U.S. security services in 2016, according to The Mail.
“In early 2017 the FBI told MI5 that Abedi belonged to a North African terror gang based in Manchester, which was looking for a political target in this country,” the unnamed source told The Mail. “The information came from the interception of his communications by U.S. federal agents, who had been investigating Abedi since the middle of 2016, and from information unearthed in Libya, where his family was linked to terrorist groups.”
The tabloid claims British authorities looked into the terror cell but closed their investigation shortly after.
“Following this U.S. tip-off, Abedi and other members of the gang were scrutinized by MI5. It was thought at the time that Abedi was planning to assassinate a political figure,” the source said. “But nothing came of this investigation and, tragically, he slipped down the pecking order of targets.”
MI5 considered Abedi a “former subject of interest” who was “subject to review.” Despite being flagged to authorities on at least five separate occasions, they did not regard Abedi as an imminent threat. (RELATED: Britain’s Jihadi Problem Much Larger Than Previously Thought)
Security sources claim 20,000 people in the United Kingdom have been considered “subjects of interest” at some point in time, the Press Association reported Saturday.
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