Manchester Arena bombing: MI5 missed an opportunity to prevent attack, inquiry finds



MI5, the United Kingdom’s domestic spy agency, missed an opportunity to prevent the Manchester Arena bombing, an investigation into the terror attack has found, according to a report by British news agency PA Media.

On Monday, May 22, 2017, at least 22 people were killed in an attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

The final report of a public inquiry led by chairman John Saunders and released on Thursday found that the attack could have been prevented if MI5 had acted on two key pieces of information about bomber Salman Abedi.

The information was assessed by MI5 and found to be unrelated to terrorism, but an official admitted they considered a detail to involve a potentially urgent national security concern.

However, the issue was not immediately resolved with the other partners.

“The delay in providing the report resulted in a missed opportunity to conduct a potentially important investigative process,” Saunders wrote in his report.

“Based on what the Security Service knew or should have known, I am satisfied that it would have been a proportionate and justified step to take such investigative action. It should have happened.

“While I accept that Salman Abedi demonstrated some security awareness and that this may have affected the effectiveness of the investigative process I identified, there was a real possibility that it would have produced actionable intelligence.”

Abedi detonated the bomb that killed himself and 22 concertgoers, and injured hundreds of others – many of them children and teenagers – as they left the Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert.

His younger brother Hashem Abedi, 22, was in Libya at the time of the attack, but was arrested shortly after the bombing and extradited back to the UK in 2019.

In March 2020, he was found guilty of 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of conspiracy to commit an explosion and was sentenced to a minimum of 55 years in prison.

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