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Manchester bomber Salman Albedi's pal was killed by drone strike in Syria

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi is believed to have been linked to a notorious Isis terror recruiter.

As Abedi’s home was scoured by forensic officers yesterday, it emerged security services are probing his connections to Raphael Hostey, also from Manchester.

 

It is believed Hostey – who recruited and radicalised hundreds of young Britains before being killed in a drone strike in Syria – was known to the 22-year-old mass killer.

Police would give few details of Abedi’s background yesterday, other than to confirm his name and age.

But other authorities said he was a British national with a Libyan heritage.

His family arrived in the UK in the early 90s after fleeing the late dictator Colonel Gaddafi’s regime. They settled in London before moving north.

Abedi, who lived in the quiet suburb of Fallowfield, in Manchester, is believed to have been in London and travelled back to his home city by train on Monday before his horrific attack at the concert.

He was known to the security services but was not thought to be a high risk.

At his home yesterday, forensic officers were seen recovering a book called Know your Chemicals. Police said a controlled explosion was carried out at the address at about lunchtime.

Abedi was believed to be a family friend of Hostey, who persuaded hundreds of Brits to go to Syria to fight for ISIS before being killed by a drone in Syria in May last year aged 24.

The bomber grew up near Whalley Range High School, which straight A student twins Salma and Zahra Halane attended before fleeing to Syria aged 16 in 2014.

Hostey, also known as Abu Qaqa al-Britani, boasted of luring the “terror twins” to ISIS and it is feared he may have also played a part in Abedi’s radicalisation.

A member of Manchester’s Libyan community said the Abedi family returned to Tripoli in 2011, after the fall of Gaddafi’s regime.

He added that Abedi’s parents Ismail and Samia continued to spend much of their time in Libya but their children had returned to Manchester. The man said the Abedis were from the hardline Salafi tradition of Islam but the father was always “polite”.

Asked if Abedi could have received terror training in Libya, he said: “I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of the people who went over there after the revolution got trained for the militia.”

Neighbours said Abedi’s behaviour had become increasingly strange and the Manchester United fan had hung an Iraqi flag from his home.

He was said to have started a business and management degree at Salford University in 2014 but dropped out last year – around the time he started growing his beard and chanting prayers in the street.

Armed police make an arrest in the Chorlton area of Manchester (Photo: SWNS)

Local Lina Ahmed said: “He was chanting in Arabic. He was saying, ‘There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger’.”

Yesterday, neighbour Simon Turner, 46, was standing in the street when police swooped at noon.

He said: “It was so quick. These cars pulled up and police with guns, dogs, jumped out and said to us, ‘Get in the house now’.”

Alan Kinsey, 52, added: “The police were heavily armed. All of them. It was like something out of a war scene. It was terrifying.”

It is understood Abedi’s older brother Ismail was arrested and his own home nearby was searched.

Security services were last night forensically examining the homemade bolt and nail device detonated by Abedi.

And it emerged he was identified from DNA from the lower half of his body, which remained intact after he blew himself up.

The remnants of the bomb have been taken to the UK government’s Forensic Explosive Laboratory in Kent.

Experts are trying to recover vital intelligence about the device, examining it for DNA profiles of Abedi and anyone else who may have handled the bomb.

There was a further arrest yesterday morning in the hunt for possible accomplices who helped Abedi carry out the horrifying attack.

Firearms officers jumped out of a black Mercedes and pounced on a young man outside a Morrisons 
supermarket, pinning him to the ground beside a phone box. The arrest in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, south Manchester, five miles from the arena, shocked witnesses.

Bilal Mahmood, 25, revealed how officers had been following the suspect on foot and pounced as he reached a junction.

He said: “I was driving by and a police car pulled up and parked strategically so he could not escape.

“A couple of the passers-by were undercover police. They had obviously been following on foot.

“The arrested guy knew straight away what he was being arrested for. First, he crouched down in a squat position and smiled. He didn’t put up any resistance.

“It was mental. All the police were celebrating, wiping their foreheads in relief. They were happy.”

Source: dailyrecord

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