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Manchester Suicide Bomber Salman Abedi’s Brother and Father Arrested in Libya

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Women cry after placing flowers in a square in central Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017, after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left more than 20 people dead. VOA
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Manchester, May 24, 2017: Libyan security forces said Wednesday that they had arrested a brother and the father of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi.

A spokesman for the Libyan anti-terrorism force said Hashim Abedi had recently been in contact with his brother and knew of his plans for the attack.

“We have evidence that he is involved in Daesh [an Arabic name for the Islamic State group] with his brother. We have been following him for more than one month and a half,” the spokesman said.

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Salman Abedi blew himself up in the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and wounding scores of others, just moments after the ending of a pop music show featuring American singer Ariana Grande.

Armed police officers patrol a police cordon near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, May 24, 2017.
Armed police officers patrol a police cordon near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, May 24, 2017. VOA

Abedi’s father told Reuters he spoke to his son five days ago, and “everything was normal.”

Father condemns terrorism

His son did not have extremist beliefs, the father said in Tripoli, where he lives. However, he added that Abedi did not disclose he was heading for Manchester when he left Libya last week.

The elder Abedi told Reuters he condemned “terrorist acts on civilians and innocent people.”

The top police official in Manchester, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, told reporters Wednesday, “It’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating,” and that Abedi did not act alone.

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Police made a sixth arrest late Wednesday, a woman who was taken into custody during a raid on an apartment north of Manchester.

Five men are also in custody. Police have given no information about how they may be connected to the bombing.

Bomber traveled to Syria

In France, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Wednesday that British and French intelligence had information that Abedi most likely traveled to Syria.

Collomb told France’s BFM television that Abedi “grew up in Britain and then suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then likely to Syria, became radicalized and decided to carry out this attack. In any case, the links with Daesh are proven.”

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but British and U.S. intelligence have not confirmed that the extremist group was involved.

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British and American newspapers have printed police images of some evidence left on the floor of the arena where Abedi blew himself up, including shreds of a backpack or vest that apparently held the bomb and a piece of bloodstained metal that may have been the detonator.

Britain raised its terrorism alert level to “critical” — the highest step — after the blast, signaling that another attack could be imminent, and Prime MinisterTheresa May cut short her trip to the Group of Seven meeting in Sicily later this week.

Police officers stand guard in central Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017 after Monday's suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert.
Police officers stand guard in central Manchester, Britain, May 24, 2017 after Monday’s suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert. VOA

Soldiers patrol major events

Soldiers are being deployed to such major events as soccer matches and concerts. The prime minister said authorities would do everything possible to protect the public, and she asked people to remain vigilant.

Video from the arena showed the joy in the audience at the end of the concert turning to confusion and then to panic and a scramble to get out of the building as the realization of what had happened spread. Many of the victims of the blast were young girls, including an 8-year-old child.

Witnesses saw blood-covered bodies on the floor as wounded concertgoers who were still able to move staggered toward the exits.

Grande canceled her tour schedule in Europe until June 7, when she is due to appear in Paris. (VOA)

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)