UK may have backed Manchester Bomber
Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi and his father, Ramadan, had long-standing links to a violent jihadist group which may have had British backing for the 2011 Libyan war and a 1996 attempt to kill then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The controversy centers on the role of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was both an anti-Gaddafi and Al-Qaeda subsidiary in the North African state.
Many of the fighters which formed the group in the mid-90s were veterans of the Afghan-Soviet war from the 1980s. They went on to fight the Gaddafi regime in Libya itself.
Ramadan Abedi, the father of bomber Salman Abedi, was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militant group founded in 1995 to pursue the violent overthrow of Gaddafi’s military dictatorship, Abdel-Basit Haroun, a former Libyan security official claimed.
Ramadan Abedi spoke out in defense of his elder son, telling reporters that he could not believe reports Salman Abedi was behind the attack and saying that his son never expressed sympathy for jihadist terrorism.
Since NATO’s intervention, Libya has been in chaos. It has descended into a protracted civil war, is a major contributor to the international refugee crisis, has its own branch of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and two opposing governments.
The elder Abedi was reportedly one of the LIFG fighters who fled Gaddafi’s response to the rebels, settling in London and, later, in Manchester.
The area of Manchester in which Salman Abedi grew up was home to a number of other LIFG members, including former senior commanders including Abd al-Baset Azzouz, who left Manchester to go to Libya and run a 200-300-strong militant network for Osama Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Azzouz is reported to be an expert bomb-maker.
In 2002, former MI6 agent and whistleblower David Shayler, accused the British spy agency of colluding with the jihadist group in a failed 1996 effort to kill Gaddafi, an allegation the British government strenuously denies.