Manchester bomber’s brother being extradited from Libya to UK

People attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester, after the city in northwest England absorbed the worst terror attack on UK soil since 2005. (AFP pic)

TRIPOLI: The brother of a suicide bomber suspected of helping plan a 2017 attack on a concert in the British city of Manchester was being extradited from Libya on Wednesday, according to the force that was holding him in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton born to Libyan parents, blew himself up at the end of a show by US singer Ariana Grande in the deadliest militant attack in Britain for 12 years.

The blast killed 22 people and injured more than 500.

London requested the extradition of his brother Hashem after police issued an arrest warrant for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion.

But Tripoli had long stalled on the request.

“I confirm to you that Hashem is now in the air on his way to the UK … he is extradited in accordance with a court verdict,” said a spokesman for the Tripoli-based Special Deterrence Force (Rada), who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.

The spokesman said the order came from the attorney general’s office based on a verdict by the court of appeals. A Justice Ministry source in Tripoli confirmed the extradition.

Britain’s Home Office had no immediate comment.

“Grateful to Libyan authorities”

Greater Manchester Police said in a statement they were still awaiting the outcome of the extradition request.

“The extradition proceedings are in progress and we are grateful to the Libyan authorities for considering our extradition request,” they said.

Rada, a counter-terrorism and anti-crime group aligned with the internationally recognised government in Tripoli, arrested Hashem shortly after the Manchester bombing on suspicion he had helped plan the attack.

Rada said at the time that Salman and Hashem flew together to Libya in April 2017, before Salman returned to Britain to carry out the attack at the Manchester Arena in May.

British members of parliament found last year that the M15 security service missed potential opportunities to prevent the bombing.

Islamic State said it was responsible in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, but security services have always treated the claim with scepticism.

The Abedi family emigrated to Britain during the rule of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, moving from London to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester. The brothers’ parents returned to Libya after Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.