A Muslim preacher who was shut to the Manchester bomber had been suspected by MI5 of being a radicaliser greater than a decade earlier, the BBC can reveal.
A public inquiry into the atrocity will this week report on how Salman Abedi was radicalised, and whether or not safety providers missed probabilities to cease him.
The preacher, Mansour Al-Anezi, had been investigated earlier than one other shut affiliate of his tried to perform a suicide bombing in Exeter in 2008.
Al-Anezi died earlier than the world assault.
Twenty two folks died within the bombing. Secret hearings, which excluded victims’ households, mentioned proof from MI5 about Abedi and associates who had been known to the safety service.
A BBC investigation has recognized data that didn’t seem within the public hearings – and may not have appeared within the closed classes both.
Suicide bombings, each precise and tried, are uncommon within the UK. Previously 15 years, the one two confirmed incidents had been the Manchester and Exeter bombings.
An explosion in a Liverpool taxi in 2021, which killed the bomb maker, has not been publicly confirmed as an intentional suicide bombing.
The truth that each Manchester and Exeter concerned associates of Al-Anezi could possibly be a coincidence. However the BBC has found that the authorities had been investigating him as a suspected radicaliser earlier than the Exeter assault.
The officer who led the Manchester investigation, Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough, advised the world inquiry that the connection between Al-Anezi and Salman Abedi was “clearly a connection of significance”, however police had been unable to set up precisely what it was.
The inquiry additionally heard Al-Anzei had been arrested in reference to the Exeter assault. However the public hearings weren’t advised he was investigated by MI5 earlier than that.
The preacher, who was not charged, often led prayers at a Plymouth mosque frequented by the bomber, a Muslim convert referred to as Nicky Reilly, then aged 22.
Reilly had studying difficulties and Asperger’s Syndrome. His household thought of him susceptible and influenced by folks he met.
He was the one one injured when a nail-bomb partially exploded in the bathroom of a busy restaurant as he was making ready to detonate three units.
He died in jail in 2016.
Salman Abedi carried out the Manchester Area bombing on the ninth anniversary of the Exeter assault.
AI-Anezi, stated to be 43 and from Kuwait, got here to the UK in 2000. He initially stayed in Manchester earlier than transferring to Plymouth.
Investigators in Devon had been warned by MI5 when Al-Anezi moved there. He was monitored at a Plymouth mosque the place he preached, and MI5 collected intelligence on his actions.
Al-Anezi was shut to Reilly and got here below suspicion after the Exeter incident. Detectives didn’t have proof to cost him, however he was topic to additional investigation.
Simon Corridor, a Cambridge lecturer who was beforehand a BBC correspondent in south-west England, remembers witnessing a surveillance operation round Al-Anezi within the months after the Exeter assault.
Corridor says he was requested not to method Al-Anezi in Plymouth sooner or later by plain-clothed investigators who had been ready for him on the identical location.
A report by Corridor on Al-Anezi was broadcast after Reilly’s conviction. It could not title the preacher for authorized causes.
Two sources who ran the mosque the place Al-Anezi led prayers stated after Exeter assault he was barred from preaching. He was advised “no politics”, one advised the BBC.
Throughout a later immigration case, Al-Anezi accepted there had been concern about his opinions and that some worshippers had complained.
Shut to the Abedi brothers
Though he saved a flat in Plymouth, Al-Anezi visited Manchester and at some stage got here into contact with Salman Abedi. He stayed on the Abedi household residence within the metropolis. After the bombing, objects belonging to Al-Anezi had been discovered there.
He was additionally in telephone contact with Hashem Abedi, who labored along with his brother Salman to plan the assault.
Salman Abedi was at Al-Anezi’s bedside when he died in a Plymouth hospital in January 2017. One other shut affiliate of his was additionally current and advised the BBC that Abedi was in tears
Salman and Hashem Abedi attended Al-Anezi’s funeral in Manchester. The next day, they took a serious step of their bomb plot by shopping for chemical used to make explosives.
Totally different aliases
Proof gathered by the BBC suggests Al-Anezi used totally different aliases, and that his actual title may need been one thing else solely.
A 2009 asylum judgment, launched to the BBC, reveals he accepted arriving within the UK on a “pretend passport” below the title Nasar Al Ajmi, however he claimed the doc was destroyed and he couldn’t recall the airport he arrived at.
The federal government argued he “wished to conceal data” and had “fabricated his declare for asylum”.
He had argued that he was a Bedouin – a minority in Kuwait – and gave accounts of persecution. The choose at his attraction accepted his accounts had been credible.
The BBC, nonetheless, has discovered inconsistencies in his story.
The attraction judgment data Al-Anezi as having acknowledged that his mother and father had been useless, and that “he had one brother who was misplaced”, having not returned from a purchasing journey in Kuwait.
However Al-Anezi’s funeral discover at a Manchester mosque stated he left behind mother and father and siblings in Kuwait. The BBC has been advised by one affiliate of his how Al-Anezi organized for 1000’s of kilos to be despatched to a brother overseas following his dying. The brother is claimed to have revealed Al-Anezi was named Mohammed Idrisi and had Egyptian heritage.
The inquiry has additionally examined different potential influences on Salman Abedi, together with throughout his time at Didsbury Mosque in Manchester.
The BBC has found two different younger males who attended the mosque died in battle overseas. They had been lionised as martyrs on-line, earlier than the Area bombing.
One was briefly talked about on the inquiry by a former Didsbury Imam, who has criticised these working the mosque. He stated extremists had been ready to attend.
Mohamed El-Saeti, the previous Imam, stated one younger attendee had “joined ISIS and al-Qaeda” in Libya and died preventing there.
The mosque has stated it has at all times made clear the “barbaric” enviornment bombing had nothing to do with the mosque, Islam, or the Quran, including it was a “diversion from specializing in the very actual failings of these businesses with an obligation to shield the general public and forestall such assaults”.
The BBC has seen on-line posts lionising the younger man talked about by Mr El-Saeti. Abdulla Fieturi’s dying was referenced by associates of the Abedi brothers, together with a former suspect within the enviornment assault, one other Manchester resident Zuhir Nassrat.
Nassrat referred to as him a “shaeed” – martyr – and advised a relative “you have to be completely satisfied”. In response, the relative stated he was “proud” because the boy “at all times wished to die shaheed”.
Zuhir Nassrat is in Libya however wished by police for his role in a drugs conspiracy involving associates of the Abedi brothers.
The inquiry’s public hearings didn’t take into account one other younger man who died overseas, nor his father who knew Salman Abedi.
His father, Taher Nasuf, often attended Didsbury mosque. He was known to British authorities as he spent years sanctioned by the United Nations for alleged connection to the Libyan Islamic Preventing Group, which was then banned in Britain as an al-Qaeda affiliate. He denied the allegations and was by no means charged with any offence. The non-public sanctions had been finally lifted in 2011. He didn’t reply to makes an attempt by the BBC to make contact.
He was a part of a authorized political group, the Libyan 17 February Discussion board, which met on the mosque.
Salman Abedi attended one in every of its demonstrations in London and was filmed smiling throughout a speech by Mr Nasuf.
The BBC has been advised Mr Nasuf’s son Reda, who attended Didsbury mosque, additionally died in battle overseas. In on-line posts, he was described as a martyr, together with by one other Didsbury Imam, Mustafa Graf. An additional picture reveals him carrying army clothes and one other alongside Abdalraouf Abdallah, who was later convicted of terrorism offences for facilitating the motion of fighters and cash to Syria.
The inquiry has examined whether or not Abdallah had a radicalising affect on Salman Abedi.
Requested for response to all of the BBC’s proof, a bunch of 5 households bereaved by the Manchester assault advised the BBC they’re “dissatisfied to study of but extra hyperlinks to terrorism in Abedi’s background which don’t seem to have been investigated”.
The households are these of Kelly Brewster, 32, from Sheffield, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from Barra, Megan Hurley, 15, from Liverpool, and Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, each from South Shields.
“If there may be sufficient data within the public area for the press to make these hyperlinks then we’d have anticipated the federal government to do the identical and examine totally,” they stated in a press release to the BBC.
The households say: “We will solely hope that this data was mentioned within the closed hearings of the general public inquiry.”
They’re important of MI5 given how a lot was known by the service in regards to the Abedi household.
A spokesman for the Dwelling Workplace stated: “Our ideas stay with those that had been killed or had their lives modified eternally on the Manchester Area assault.”