MI5 to probe whether ’flags’ on Manchester bomber were missed

MI5 to probe whether ’flags’ on Manchester bomber were missed

UPDATE 11.25am: MI5 has launched urgent inquiries into whether it missed warning signs about the danger posed by Salman Abedi.

The domestic security service is said to be investigating if there were any errors made in the handling of intelligence concerning the bomber responsible for last Monday’s attack.

Spy chiefs are believed to have held an emergency review in the days after the atrocity, while a separate in-depth inquiry is being conducted to look at the decision making surrounding his case before the massacre, the Guardian reports.

A senior Whitehall source previously revealed the mass murderer was a "former subject of interest" to the security services whose risk "remained subject to review".

A number of people who knew Abedi, and even family members, had reportedly warned authorities he was developing radical views, prompting concerns that signs of the threat he posed were missed.

Early this year, the FBI warned UK security chiefs that the the Libyan-born Islamist was planning an attack on British soil, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The 22-year-old’s father Ramadan and brother Hashim have been detained in Libya and another brother, Ismail, was arrested in Manchester on Tuesday.

Before his arrest, Ramadan Abedi rejected claims he was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, but added that he supports the organisation, which is banned in the UK.

In the translated interview, shown on the BBC, he protested his son’s innocence, saying: "I’m sure that Salman didn’t carry out such an act."

But the killer’s sister said she believed her brother may have been reacting to US-led strikes in the Middle East.

Armed police at a cordon in Quantock Street, Moss Side, as fresh arrests and raids are carried out in Manchester linked to Monday’s suicide bombing.
Armed police at a cordon in Quantock Street, Moss Side, as fresh arrests and raids are carried out in Manchester linked to Monday’s suicide bombing.

Earlier: The Manchester bombing inquiry has spread to the south coast of England with the arrest of a man in West Sussex.

The 23-year-old was held on suspicion of terror offences at an address in Shoreham-by-Sea in the early hours of Monday morning, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

As counter-terror officers swooped in the desirable seaside town, searches were also launched 260 miles away at properties in Manchester and Cheshire.

        With the massive operation to dismantle suicide bomber Salman Abedi’s network showing little sign of slowing:

      • Fourteen men were being held in custody in connection with the Manchester Arena attack.

      • Police remained at an address in Shoreham-on-Sea, one of the country’s most expensive seaside towns.

      • Officers from Cheshire Police and Counter Terrorism Policing North West searched an address in Chester in connection with the attack.

      • GMP said they had also executed a search warrant in the Whalley Range area of south Manchester.

The Bank Holiday raids followed a flurry of police activity in Manchester over the weekend, with the arrest of a 25-year-old man in Old Trafford and a 19-year-old man in Gorton in connection with attack.

Police have been working round-the-clock since Abedi killed 22 people, seven of them children, and injured more than 100 in the worst terrorist atrocity since the July 7 bombings in 2005.

The race to round up a suspected network connected to the terrorist has seen a total of 16 arrests made in connection with the attack, although two people have since been released.

It has been reported that MI5 has launched two urgent inquiries into whether it missed the danger posed by Abedi, 22, amid allegations it was warned of his deadly aspirations.

The domestic security service is said to be investigating whether any glaring errors were made in the handling of intelligence concerning Abedi before he launched the attack last Monday night.

Spy chiefs are believed to have held an emergency review in the days after the atrocity, while a separate in-depth inquiry is being conducted to look at the decision making surrounding his case before the massacre, the Guardian reports.

A senior Whitehall source previously revealed the mass murderer was a "former subject of interest" to the security services whose risk "remained subject to review".

On Sunday Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she would "not rush to conclusions" that agents "somehow missed something".

In the wake of the Manchester attack it emerged that British counter-terror authorities were grappling with 500 investigations into 3,000 individuals.

Security sources later confirmed to the Press Association that a further 20,000 individuals were said to have been considered "subjects of interest" in the past,

It means as many as 23,000 people have appeared on the radar of counter-terror agencies, although the period the figures cover is unclear.

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