Wednesday 18 September 2019

MI5 'missed chances' to stop terror attack at pop concert

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi. Photo: Greater Manchester Police/PA
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi. Photo: Greater Manchester Police/PA

Gareth Davies

Opportunities to stop the Manchester bombing were missed as a result of a catalogue of failings by security services, a major new report has concluded.

A number of shortcomings in the handling of Salman Abedi before he launched a suicide attack at a pop concert in May last year, killing 22 people, were detailed by the UK parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

Abedi (22) first came to the attention of MI5 in December 2010 and was briefly investigated by the agency in 2014.

The ISC assessment said:

- Abedi visited an extremist contact in prison on more than one occasion but no follow-up action was taken;

- MI5 decided not to place travel monitoring or restrictions on Abedi, meaning he was allowed to return undetected to the UK in the days before the attack;

- MI5 systems moved too slowly after Abedi's case had been flagged for review;

- Abedi was not at any point considered for a referral to the prevent anti-terror scheme.

ISC chairman Dominic Grieve said: "What we can say is that there were a number of failures in the handling of Salman Abedi's case and while it is impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed."

He noted that both MI5 and counter-terror police have been "thorough in their desire to learn from past mistakes", adding: "The lessons from last year's tragic events must now result in real action."

The report also found that the system for regulating and reporting purchases of ingredients used to make explosives was "hopelessly out of date".

Telegraph.co.uk

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