BBC reports that MI5 is aware of the Manchester bomber's friend

In Libya, Salman Abedi is armed

According to the BBC, MI5 had earlier raised concerns about a Muslim preacher who was close to the Manchester bomber for being a radicalizer.

Salman Abedi's radicalization and whether security services missed opportunities to stop him will be the subject of a public inquiry into the atrocity's findings this week.

Before one of the preacher's close friends attempted to commit a suicide bombing in Exeter in 2008, Mansour Al-Anezi had been the subject of an investigation.

Before the arena attack, Al-Anezi passed away.

The bombing claimed the lives of 22 people. Abedi and associates who were known to the security service were the subject of secret hearings that were closed to the families of the victims.

Information that may not have been disclosed during the closed sessions as well as the public hearings has been uncovered by a BBC investigation.

Actual and attempted suicide bombings are uncommon in the UK. The only two confirmed incidents in the previous 15 years were the bombings in Manchester and Exeter.

There has been no official confirmation of a 2021 explosion in a taxi in Liverpool that killed the bomb maker as an intentional suicide bombing.

It might be a coincidence that Al-Anezi associates were involved in Exeter and Manchester. The authorities were looking into him as a potential radicalizer prior to the attack in Exeter, the BBC has learned.

Al-Anezi and Salman Abedi had a relationship that was "clearly a connection of significance," according to Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough, the officer in charge of the Manchester investigation, but police were unable to determine what it was.

Al-Anzei's arrest in relation to the attack in Exeter was also disclosed during the investigation. However, it was not disclosed at the public hearings that MI5 had previously looked into him.

The bomber, a Muslim convert named Nicky Reilly, who was 22 at the time, frequented the Plymouth mosque where the preacher, who was not charged, regularly oversaw prayers.

Reilly suffered from Asperger's Syndrome and had learning challenges. His family believed that he was impressionable and susceptible to others.

Nicky Reilly in Exeter restaurant, with bombs in backpack
With bombs in his backpack, Nicky Reilly was in an Exeter restaurant.

When a nail bomb partially detonated in a crowded restaurant's restroom as he was getting ready to detonate three devices, he was the only person hurt.

2016 saw his death in custody.

The Manchester Arena bombing was carried out by Salman Abedi on the ninth anniversary of the Exeter attack.

According to reports, Kuwaiti native AI-Anezi, 43, arrived in the UK in 2000. Before moving to Plymouth, he initially remained in Manchester.

When Al-Anezi moved to Devon, MI5 alerted the local investigators. When he gave sermons in a mosque in Plymouth, he was under observation, and MI5 gathered information about his whereabouts.

Al-Anezi and Reilly were close, and following the incident in Exeter, suspicion was cast upon him. Detectives did not have enough evidence to charge him, but they were still looking into him.

In the months following the Exeter attack, surveillance operations around Al-Anezi were observed, according to Simon Hall, a Cambridge lecturer and former BBC correspondent in south-west England.

Hall claims that on one occasion, while waiting for him in Plymouth, plain-clothed investigators asked him not to approach Al-Anezi.

After Reilly's conviction, a Hall report on Al-Anezi was aired. For legal reasons, it was unable to identify the preacher.

Al-Anezi was prohibited from preaching following the Exeter attack, according to two sources who ran the mosque where he oversaw prayers. The BBC was informed that he was told "no politics.".

Al-Anezi acknowledged during a subsequent immigration case that some worshipers had expressed concerns and grievances regarding his opinions.

Al-Anezi lived in Plymouth but frequently visited Manchester and eventually crossed paths with Salman Abedi. He lodged at the urban home of the Abedi family. There were items from Al-Anezi discovered after the bombing.

Hashem Abedi, who collaborated with his brother Salman to plan the attack, was also reachable by phone.

In January 2017, Salman Abedi was by Al-Anezi's side when he passed away in a Plymouth hospital. Abedi was in tears, a close friend of his who was also there told the BBC.

Salman Abedi with weapon in Libya
In Libya, Salman Abedi is armed.

Hashem Abedi and Salman were present at Al-Anezi's funeral in Manchester. By purchasing a chemical used to make explosives the following day, they made a significant advancement in their bomb plot.

According to information gathered by the BBC, Al-Anezi may have used several aliases and that his real name may have been entirely different.

According to a 2009 asylum judgment made available to the BBC, he acknowledged using a "fake passport" to enter the UK under the name Nasar Al Ajmi, but he claimed the document was lost and he couldn't remember the airport he arrived at.

He had "fabricated his claim for asylum," according to the government, and "wished to conceal information.".

He had claimed to be a Bedouin, a minority in Kuwait, and had related stories of persecution. His appeal judge recognized the veracity of his accounts.

Anezi passed away in 2017.

The BBC, however, discovered contradictions in his account.

According to the appeal judgment, Al-Anezi claimed that his parents were deceased and that "he had one brother who was lost," who had not returned from a trip to Kuwait to shop.

However, according to Al-Anezi's funeral announcement at a mosque in Manchester, he left his parents and siblings in Kuwait. Thousands of pounds were sent to a brother overseas after Al-Anezi's passing, according to information provided to the BBC by one of his associates. Al-Anezi's brother is rumored to have revealed that he was born in Egypt and went by the name Mohammed Idrisi.

Salman Abedi may have been influenced by other factors, such as those present at the Didsbury Mosque in Manchester, according to the investigation.

The BBC has learned that two additional young men who went to the mosque lost their lives in a foreign conflict. Prior to the Arena bombing, they were exalted as martyrs online.

A former Didsbury imam who has criticized the mosque's leadership briefly mentioned one during the inquiry. Extremists, according to him, were welcome.

Former Imam Mohamed El-Saeti claimed that one of the young attendees had "joined ISIS and al-Qaeda" in Libya and had perished in battle there.

The mosque claims that it has consistently been clear that the "barbaric" arena bombing had nothing to do with it, Islam, or the Quran, and that it was only intended to be a "diversion from focusing on the very real failings of those agencies with a duty to protect the public and prevent such attacks.".

Online tributes to the young man mentioned by Mr. El-Saeti have been seen by the BBC. Friends of the Abedi brothers, including Zuhir Nassrat, a former suspect in the arena attack and a fellow Manchester resident, brought up Abdulla Fieturi's passing.

Nassrat referred to him as a "shaeed," or martyr, and advised a relative to "be happy.". The relative responded by saying he was "proud" because the boy "always wanted to die shaheed.".

Due to his involvement in a drug conspiracy involving associates of the Abedi brothers, Zuhir Nassrat is currently in Libya but is wanted by police.

Other young men who passed away abroad or their fathers, who knew Salman Abedi, were not taken into account during the inquiry's public hearings.

Taher Nasuf, his father, frequently visited Didsbury Mosque. He was well-known to British authorities because he had been under United Nations sanctions for years due to alleged ties to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was later outlawed in Britain for being an al-Qaeda affiliate. He refuted the accusations, and no charges were ever brought against him. Finally, in 2011, the individual sanctions were lifted. The BBC tried to reach him, but he didn't answer.

Salman Abedi (far right in red) listening to Taher Nasuf at a demonstration in London
Taher Nasuf is being listened to by Salman Abedi (far right, wearing red), during a protest in London.

The Libyan 17 February Forum, a legitimate political organization, held meetings at the mosque, and he was a member.

Salman Abedi was photographed grinning while Mr. Nasuf was speaking at one of its demonstrations in London, where he was in attendance.

The BBC has been informed that Reda, a student at the Didsbury mosque, was also killed in a foreign conflict. A second Didsbury Imam, Mustafa Graf, also referred to him as a martyr in online posts. Another photo shows him dressed in military garb and another with Abdalraouf Abdallah, who was later found guilty of terrorism offenses for aiding in the transportation of fighters and funds to Syria.

The investigation looked into whether Abdallah radicalized Salman Abedi.

Five families who lost loved ones in the Manchester attack were asked how they felt after hearing all of the BBC's evidence, and they responded that they were "disappointed to learn of yet more links to terrorism in Abedi's background which do not appear to have been investigated.".

Kelly Brewster, 32, of Sheffield, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, of Barra, Megan Hurley, 15, of Liverpool, and Liam Curry, 19, and Chloe Rutherford, 17, both of South Shields, are among the families mentioned.

In a statement to the BBC, they said, "If there is enough information in the public domain for the press to make these links, then we would have expected the government to do the same and investigate fully.".

"We can only hope that this information was discussed in the closed hearings of the public inquiry," the families say. ".

Given how much information the service had about the Abedi family, they are critical of MI5.

The Home Office released a statement that read, "Our thoughts remain with those who were killed or had their lives forever changed at the Manchester Arena attack.

. "

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