MI5, the United Kingdom’s domestic security agency, once closed an investigation into Manchester terrorist Salman Abedi after deeming him not dangerous.
A U.K. security official told The Wall Street Journal Monday that suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who massacred 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22 via a bomb in his backpack full of metal screws, was known to MI5 but not under active investigation.
“He was part of an investigation that was closed, when it was decided it was not necessary or proportionate to continue it,” the official said. “We’re reviewing things in the sense that we’re looking back and want to learn lessons.”
Authorities had received multiple warnings about Abedi’s radicalization.
Following the terror attack, MI5 has launched two investigations into how it missed the threat Abedi represented, despite receiving warnings about him multiple times. The first investigation concerned existing intelligence about Abedi, but the second review aims to look back at the evidence file on Abedi to see if “different decisions” about his case would have been made.
“I think its the right first step. There’s a lot of information coming out at the moment about what happened, how this occurred, what people might or might not have known and I think it’s right that MI5 takes a look to find out what the facts are,” U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News on Monday. “I think we shouldn’t rush to make any sort of conclusions at this stage, the important thing at this moment, I believe, is to ensure that we allow the operation to continue and to conclude.”
Although Abedi was indeed in a pool of 20,000 jihadi suspects, this pool was not part of 3,000 others under active investigation. The pool of those under active investigation is limited to those who appear to pose the most danger.
According to security officials, the threat posed by Islamic terrorism is at an “unprecedented scale.”
It’s expected that jihadists inside the U.K. will plot more attacks.
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