Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

Manchester bomber’s father in Turkey for medical treatment

UK police want to speak to Ramadan Abedi over the attack that killed 22 in 2017

Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman and Hashem Abedi, speaking to reporters in Tripoli after the May 22 attack. Reuters
Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman and Hashem Abedi, speaking to reporters in Tripoli after the May 22 attack. Reuters

The father of the Manchester Arena bomber is in Turkey receiving medical treatment that is being paid for by Libya's Government of National Accord in Tripoli, reports say.

British police still want to speak to Ramadan Abedi, whose son Hashem last week was found guilty of helping his brother Salman stage an attack that killed 22 people and wounded hundreds at a music concert in the English city in 2017.

Mr Abedi was arrested along with Hashem in Tripoli by a local armed group called the Special Deterrence Force after the attack but the father was released soon after.

After two years of legal wrangling, Hashem was extradited to the UK last year and now faces a lifetime behind bars.

Citing sources in Istanbul, the Daily Telegraph said Mr Abedi was undergoing treatment in Turkey for an undisclosed illness.

The newspaper reported that he had previous been regularly seen frequenting coffee shops in Tripoli where he owns as house.

The SDF, a powerful anti-crime force that nominally falls under the interior minister of the Tripoli-based GNA, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Abedi family fled Libya and the regime of Col Muammar Qaddafi in the 1990s but returned during the 2011 revolution.

Mr Abedi has been accused of being a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a now-defunct group that was labelled a terrorist group by a number of countries, including the UK.

Turkey has become notorious as a safe haven for controversial Libyan figures such as the former head of the LIFG, Abdul Hakim Belhaj, and Salah Badi, a polarising militia leader who has been sanctioned by the UN for undermining Libya’s political progress.

Turkey has also been accused of sending thousands of Syrian mercenaries to western Libya to fight against the forces of eastern commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

The latter launched an offensive last April to capture western Libya but is bogged down on the outskirts of Tripoli.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has admitted to sending Turkish soldiers and weapons to Libya.

Mr Abedi has not returned to the UK or his home in Manchester since the bombing and police remain keen to speak to him.

“We have not spoken to the parents. They’ve not been back to the UK. Libya is quite a difficult place to do anything with at the moment,” Ch Supt Simon Barraclough.

Updated: March 23, 2020 08:21 PM

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