Manchester bomber’s brother admits “full part” in planning attack, UK inquiry told

LONDON (Reuters) – The brother of a man who detonated a suicide bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in the English city of Manchester more than three years ago has admitted to playing a full part in planning the attack, an inquiry was told on Monday.

Hashem Abedi was found guilty in March of murder, for encouraging and helping his brother Salman to blow himself up at the Manchester Arena as parents arrived to collect their children at the end of a May 2017 show by the US pop singer.

Among the 22 killed were seven children, the youngest aged just eight, while 237 people were injured in what was Britain’s deadliest attack since 2005.

Hashem had denied involvement but offered no evidence in his trial. A jury concluded he was as guilty as his brother of murder.

However on Monday, an independent public inquiry into the bombings was told he had now acknowledged his role during an interview with its lawyers.

“On the 22nd of October… Hashem Abedi admitted that he had played a full part, and a knowing part, in the planning and preparation for the arena attack,” lawyer Paul Greaney, who is counsel to the Manchester Arena Inquiry, said.

Abedi was jailed for life in August and told he must serve at least 55 years behind bars.

The brothers, born to Libyan parents who emigrated to Britain during the rule of late leader Muammar Gaddafi, had plotted the attack at their home in south Manchester, shortly before they returned to Libya in mid-April 2017.

Hashem remained in Libya while his 22-year-old brother carried out the bombing, but police said he persuaded acquaintances to buy chemicals to make the explosives and had sourced metal drums used to build prototype devices.

Reporting by Costas Pitas in London, editing by Michael Holden

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