Manchester Arena Muslim terrorist Salman Abedi was a former ‘subject of interest’ and his terror attack ‘might have been averted had the cards fallen differently’, an official review has confirmed.
The UK’s security services faced questions after dozens of victims were killed or injured at Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge, and Finsbury Park.
MI5 and police launched independent reviews to examine what was known about the terrorists before they struck, decisions made on intelligence and possible areas for improvement.
The review, published today, discloses that three terrorists involved in four attacks that hit Britain between March and June this year had at some point been on authorities ‘ radar.
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was not under active investigation when he detonated a suicide device at Manchester arena in May.
But David Anderson QC’s review says that MI5 came by unspecified intelligence in the months before the attack which, ‘had its true significance been properly understood’, would have caused an investigation into him to be opened.
The report says: ‘It is unknowable whether such an investigation would have allowed Abedi’s plans to be pre-empted and thwarted. MI5 assesses that it would not.
Abedi was also identified by a separate ‘data-washing exercise’ as falling within a small number of former subjects of interest who merited further consideration.
However, a meeting scheduled to consider the results of this process had not been held at the time of the bombing, in which 22 people were killed.
An opportunity was also missed to place Abedi on ‘ports action’ after he travelled to Libya in April.