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The jihadi family? Manchester bomber's dad linked to extremists, brother arrested and sister calls attack 'revenge' for Syria

Mirror logo Mirror 25/05/2017 Andy Lines
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Police are investigating what links, if any, the family of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi had to Islamic extremism.

Abedi’s father Ramadan, 50, and younger brother Hashem, 20, were arrested by Libyan police in Tripoli late on Tuesday.

It followed the earlier arrest of older brother Ismail, 23, in a dramatic swoop by armed police near a Morrisons in Chorlton, South Manchester.

And Salman's sister sparked outrage by claiming her brother carried out his attack against children in “revenge” for US air strikes in Syria.

Jomana Abedi described her older sibling as 'kind' and 'loving' to the Wall Street Journal, adding she was surprised he would carry out such an atrocity.

But the 18-year-old added: “I think he saw children - Muslim children - dying everywhere, and wanted revenge.

Credits: Universal News (Europe)

Credits: Universal News (Europe)
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

“He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted to revenge.

“Whether he got that is between him and God.”

Greater Manchester Police said they are trying to smash a “network” intent on wreaking carnage on the UK.

It has emerged Abedi’s father Ramadan , also known as Abu Ismail, was a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was banned in the UK in 2005.

Abdel Wahab Gaydi, former member of LIFG and the Libyan General National Congress, told the Daily Mirror: “ Ramadan was a member of the LIFG group but we never were close.” 

Ramadan worked for the Libyan security service until 1991, when he fled the country for Saudi Arabia. 

Credits: PA

Credits: PA
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

It was claimed that he joined LIFG in 1994, after moving to Manchester and starting a family with wife Samia.

He was a regular at Didsbury Mosque where he led the call to prayers.

The family follows the hardline conservative Salafi version of Islam.

The Abedi family reportedly returned to Libya in 2008 and renounced membership of LIFG and extremism.

But Ramadan is ­understood to have been supportive of Islamic groups battling to control Libya after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011.

Yesterday the Mirror also spoke to one of Abedi’s closest friends at school.

Our source sat next to him for two years during his media class at the Burnage Media Arts College.

He recalled: “On school holidays he went to Libya and he joined the forces to fight Colonel Gaddafi."

“He hated that man. He once told me how he wanted to kill him – and kill him with his own bare hands.

“I used to be his friend on Facebook and I can vividly remember him posting pictures of himself brandishing weapons. He talked about Libya all the time.”

And he revealed Abedi was a heavy cannabis user.

The pal said: “He was one of the four or five in the school that would smoke weed and cigarettes every day."

“He always tried to portray this image as a hard gangster type – wearing a large silver chain but no one was taken in."

“He really was off with the fairies sometimes. I used to sit next to him in media studies and he was very nice when he wanted to be."

“But he had an insidious side to him. He stopped talking to me when he overheard a conversation and ­realised I was Sufi [another form of Islam]. He was shocked and he barely spoke to me again.”

Last night it was reported that Hashem may have been planning his own terror attack although it was unclear what the target was.

A friend of the Abedi family in Libya told the Mirror that Salman’s father hid his passport to try and stop him returning to the UK fearing he was involved in gang violence.

But the 22-year-old suicide bomber convinced his father Ramadan Abedi that he was going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia - before flying to Britain to launch his barbaric attack.

The friend said: “Salman and Hashim were in the UK when their father went to bring them back to Libya because they started causing problems.

“They wanted to revenge for their friend who was killed in Manchester by a gang there."

Ramadan Obedi hid their passports but Salman apparently asked his for saying he wanted to go to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage. But instead he went back to the UK for the bombing.”

Seven people have been arrested following Monday's horror attack that left 22 dead.

A Libyan family of four – a man, his wife and their two sons – were held in Fallowfield, about a mile from Abedi’s former home.

A suspect, carrying a package, was arrested in Wigan and another later on in Nuneaton.

And a woman was held last night when a block of flats was raided in the Blackley area of Manchester.

Locals reported hearing a “huge bang” like a controlled explosion after masked counter terror police stormed the flats.

Earlier, heavily armed police raided a city centre flat where a controlled explosion was carried out.

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