British Military Rescued Manchester Bomber From Libya Before He Blew Up An Ariana Grande Concert

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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The British military rescued the Manchester bomber from Libya less than three years before he killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017.

Before British citizen Salman Abedi blew himself up in Manchester, he was picked up by the United Kingdom’s Border Force in Tripoli, Libya, in August 2014, reported The Independent. Violence in Libya and the possibility of airport shutdowns forced Abedi, his brother and more than 200 other British citizens to travel back to the U.K. aboard the HMS Enterprise.

“The Border Force was sent over to assist the evacuation of British citizens and their dependants known to be in the area, or who had contacted the government for help,” a government source told The Independent.

The source said rescuing Abedi was unfortunate “in hindsight, but a British national needed help abroad and we were assisting them to leave Libya.”

Abedi was rescued from Libya while visiting during his college gap year. His parents had moved back to Libya after dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, and Abedi visited Libya regularly.

Seven months before boarding the HMS Enterprise, Abedi was “flagged as a security risk” for appearing to associate with a person being watched by British intelligence, reported The Independent. The case was opened in January 2014 and shut in July 2014. (RELATED: Libya Rejects Housing Illegal Immigrants Through EU Migrant Center Plan)

Abedi was classified as a “‘subject of interest’ of low risk” until British intelligence started investigating him again in October 2015 for allegedly communicating with ISIS, reported The Independent. Officials closed that investigation because they misread key intelligence.

Abedi bombed Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and injuring more than 100 people, just a few days before “intelligence officials were due to review” the risks he posed, reported The Independent.

Police are still investigating the bombing.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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