Hashem Abedi

Hashem Abedi is the younger brother of Salman Abedi, who killed 22 and wounded hundreds more in a May 22, 2017, attack on England’s Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert. On March 17, 2020, Hashem Abedi was convicted in London of aiding his brother in preparing for the attack. According to Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill, Abedi “encouraged and helped his brother” and “has blood on his hands even if he didn’t detonate the bomb.”“Manchester Arena bombing: Hashem Abedi guilty of 22 murders,” BBC News, March 17, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-51926162; “A man who conspired with his brother to carry out a terror attack that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena has been convicted,” Greater Manchester Police, March 17, 2020, https://www.gmp.police.uk/news/greater-manchester/news/news/2020/march/a-man-who-conspired-with-his-brother-to-carry-out-a-terror-attack-that-killed-22-people-at-the-manchester-arena-has-been-jailed/. Abedi was sentenced to a minimum of 55 years in prison.Sylvia Hui, “Bomber’s brother gets 55 years for Manchester concert attack,” Associated Press, August 20, 2020, https://apnews.com/3c0994f1bbf1644e36278a4ede45dab4.

Abedi is a Manchester-born citizen of the United Kingdom of Libyan descent. His father, Ramadan Belgasem Abedi, worked for the security forces of deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The elder Abedi and his family fled Libya in 1991 and moved to Great Britain between 1992 and 1993. Hashem Abedi and his older brother Salman were born in England.“Timeline Shows Manchester Bomber’s Family’s Deep Ties to Libya,” New York Times, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/europe/salman-abedi-britain-manchester-bomber-family-libya.html.

Abedi’s radicalization can be partly attributed to behavior among family and friends. Police sources told Manchester media that the Abedis had to have known Hashem and Salman were radicalizing.John Scheerhut, “Brothers in evil: How Hashem Abedi helped his suicide bomber sibling commit Manchester’s worst ever terror attack - and could have struck again,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), March 17, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/brothers-evil-how-hashem-abedi-17939444. Libyan counterterrorism officials who interrogated Hashem Abedi claimed he was radicalized in approximately 2015 while he was living in Manchester with his family.“Manchester bomber’s brother knew of plans: Libya official,” Associated Press, June 8, 2017, https://apnews.com/8c45b23193ff40269e14a3718656fe30. Ramadan Abedi traveled to Tunisia in 2011 to aid the revolution in neighboring Libya against Gaddafi. Hashem and Salman Abedi visited their father there during school holidays. In September 2012, Ramadan Abedi posted a picture to Facebook of then-15-year-old Hashem holding a machine gun. The caption read, “Hashem the lion… training.”“Timeline Shows Manchester Bomber’s Family’s Deep Ties to Libya,” New York Times, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/europe/salman-abedi-britain-manchester-bomber-family-libya.html. ISIS recruiter Raphael Hostey was also reportedly a friend of Salman Abedi’s, while Ramadan Abedi wrote a 2013 Facebook post sympathizing with al-Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi. Another friend of Salman’s, Abdal Raouf Abdallah, was convicted of terror charges in the United Kingdom in May 2016.“Timeline Shows Manchester Bomber’s Family’s Deep Ties to Libya,” New York Times, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/europe/salman-abedi-britain-manchester-bomber-family-libya.html.

Hashem Abedi attended Burnage High School for Boys in Manchester. In 2011, the family returned to Libya following the death of Gaddafi. They returned to Manchester in 2013 as Libya descended into civil war. Ramadan returned to Libya soon after. Hashem and Salman Abedi visited him there during the summer of 2014. That August, British forces rescued the Abedi brothers along with more than 100 other British nationals trapped in Libya during the fighting.John Scheerhut, “Brothers in evil: How Hashem Abedi helped his suicide bomber sibling commit Manchester’s worst ever terror attack - and could have struck again,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), March 17, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/brothers-evil-how-hashem-abedi-17939444.

The Abedi brothers formed a social circle with other Libyan students at their school. In August 2015, the boys were reportedly gathered in the Abedi family home with their friends and discussed support for ISIS. According to one of the boys present at that gathering, both Abedi brothers showed sympathy for ISIS. Throughout 2015, both Abedis began to dress in traditional Islamic garb and become more religious. Nonetheless, Hashem Abedi reportedly attended parties and took drugs. This behavior continued while they visited their father in Libya as well.John Scheerhut, “Brothers in evil: How Hashem Abedi helped his suicide bomber sibling commit Manchester’s worst ever terror attack - and could have struck again,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), March 17, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/brothers-evil-how-hashem-abedi-17939444.

In 2016, Hashem Abedi traveled to Germany and Amsterdam, where he reportedly met with an individual once suspected of being an al-Qaeda fundraiser in Libya. That March, Abedi dropped out of university and took jobs as a delivery driver. He reportedly would keep change that he was supposed to give to customers. Abedi also received training in electrical installation from Manchester College.John Scheerhut, “Brothers in evil: How Hashem Abedi helped his suicide bomber sibling commit Manchester’s worst ever terror attack - and could have struck again,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), March 17, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/brothers-evil-how-hashem-abedi-17939444. Hashem and Salman Abedi returned to Libya in May 2016 on instructions from their father.“Timeline Shows Manchester Bomber’s Family’s Deep Ties to Libya,” New York Times, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/europe/salman-abedi-britain-manchester-bomber-family-libya.html. Abedi’s parents returned to Manchester in April 2017.John Scheerhut, “Brothers in evil: How Hashem Abedi helped his suicide bomber sibling commit Manchester’s worst ever terror attack - and could have struck again,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), March 17, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/brothers-evil-how-hashem-abedi-17939444.

By January 2017, the Abedi brothers had returned to Manchester. Between January and April of that year, according to prosecutors, Hashem Abedi built detonator tubes for his brother’s explosives, purchased chemicals, and bought a car for his brother in which to store the explosives.“Manchester Arena attack: Bomber's brother appears in court,” BBC News, BBC News, July 18, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-49029276. Abedi admitted to asking others to buy sulfuric acid, which he said he brother had told him was for a car battery for his family in Libya. Abedi also admitted to buying nails and screws at a B&Q store in Stockport on March 26, 2017, but he claimed to be unaware those materials would be used as shrapnel in his brother’s explosives. Abedi said his brother had told him the materials were “to do the shed up.”“Manchester Arena attack sibling ‘would have reported plot,’” BBC News, February 7, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-51416080. Police found Abedi’s fingerprints on materials in the Manchester apartment where the brothers assembled the bomb.John Scheerhut, “Brothers in evil: How Hashem Abedi helped his suicide bomber sibling commit Manchester’s worst ever terror attack - and could have struck again,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), March 17, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/brothers-evil-how-hashem-abedi-17939444.

On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated his bomb in the foyer of the Manchester Arena around 10:30 p.m. local time, just as crowds began to leave a performance by singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people in addition to himself and physically wounding 264 others.Katrin Bennhold, Steven Castle and Declan Walsh, “‘Forgive Me’: Manchester Bomber’s Tangled Path of Conflict and Rebellion,” New York Times, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/europe/manchester-bombing-salman-abedi-ramadan-abedi.html; “Manchester attack: What we know so far,” BBC News, June 12, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-40008389; Beth Abbit, “The number of people injured in Manchester Arena attack rises to 250,” Manchester Evening News (Chadderton), June 22, 2017, http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/number-people-injured-manchester-arena-13223904. Abedi had packed the explosive in a metal container that he likely concealed in a small backpack that he was carrying, and used nuts and screws as makeshift shrapnel.C.J. Chivers, “Found at the Scene in Manchester: Shrapnel, a Backpack and a Battery,” New York Times, May 24, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/24/world/europe/manchester-arena-bomb-materials-photos.html. According to authorities, the bomb was “designed to kill and maim indiscriminately the largest number of innocent people,” and had a battery more powerful than is normally used in vest- or backpack-style bombs.C.J. Chivers, “Found at the Scene in Manchester: Shrapnel, a Backpack and a Battery,” New York Times, May 24, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/24/world/europe/manchester-arena-bomb-materials-photos.html; Helen Pidd, “Manchester Arena bomb was designed to kill largest number of innocents,” Guardian (London), June 9, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/09/manchester-arena-bomb-designed-kill-largest-number-innocents. ISIS claimed responsibility the following day.Lizzie Dearden, “Manchester Arena attack: Isis claims responsibility for suicide bombing that killed at least 22 people,” Independent (London), May 23, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/manchester-arena-attack-isis-responsible-claim-suicide-bombing-islamic-state-ariana-grande-concert-a7751221.html.

Hashem Abedi was arrested in Libya by Libya’s Special Deterrence Force on May 23, 2017. The same day, his older brother Ismail was arrested in Manchester. The Special Deterrence Force detained Ramadan Abedi the following day.“A man who conspired with his brother to carry out a terror attack that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena has been convicted,” Greater Manchester Police, March 17, 2020, https://www.gmp.police.uk/news/greater-manchester/news/news/2020/march/a-man-who-conspired-with-his-brother-to-carry-out-a-terror-attack-that-killed-22-people-at-the-manchester-arena-has-been-jailed/; “Timeline Shows Manchester Bomber’s Family’s Deep Ties to Libya,” New York Times, May 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/27/world/europe/salman-abedi-britain-manchester-bomber-family-libya.html. Hashem Abedi remained in captivity for two years, during which time he claimed he was kept in solitary confinement and tortured.“Manchester Arena attack: Bomber's brother appears in court,” BBC News, BBC News, July 18, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-49029276; “Manchester Arena attack sibling ‘would have reported plot,’” BBC News, February 7, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-51416080. Abedi was extradited to the United Kingdom on July 17, 2019.“A man who conspired with his brother to carry out a terror attack that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena has been convicted,” Greater Manchester Police, March 17, 2020, https://www.gmp.police.uk/news/greater-manchester/news/news/2020/march/a-man-who-conspired-with-his-brother-to-carry-out-a-terror-attack-that-killed-22-people-at-the-manchester-arena-has-been-jailed/. On August 14, he made a statement to police denying any knowledge of his brother’s plot. Abedi claimed if he had known, he would have told their mother and other family members in order to stop the bombing. In the statement, Abedi called himself a practicing Muslim with “no interest” in ISIS.“Manchester Arena attack sibling ‘would have reported plot,’” BBC News, February 7, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-51416080.

Abedi’s trial began at London’s Old Bailey on February 3, 2020.“Brother of Manchester Arena bomber guilty of murder,” Crown Prosecution Service, March 17, 2020, https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/brother-manchester-arena-bomber-guilty-murder. On March 12, Abedi dismissed his legal team and refused to further participate in the trial.“Manchester Arena attack: Hashem Abedi gets rid of legal team,” BBC News, March 12, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-51855677. Greater Manchester Police accused Abedi of possibly being the senior figure in the plot and encouraging Salman in the days before the attack. On March 17, Abedi was found “jointly responsible” for the attack and convicted on all charges. He faces life in prison.“Manchester Arena bombing: Hashem Abedi guilty of 22 murders,” BBC News, March 17, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-51926162; “A man who conspired with his brother to carry out a terror attack that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena has been convicted,” Greater Manchester Police, March 17, 2020, https://www.gmp.police.uk/news/greater-manchester/news/news/2020/march/a-man-who-conspired-with-his-brother-to-carry-out-a-terror-attack-that-killed-22-people-at-the-manchester-arena-has-been-jailed/. Abedi’s sentencing was scheduled for the following month on April 23 and April 24, but British authorities postponed Abedi’s sentencing in early April because of restrictions on travel and public gatherings stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.“Manchester Arena bombing: Hashem Abedi's murder sentencing hearing postponed,” BBC News, April 8, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-52216188.

On August 20, 2020, Abedi was sentenced to a minimum of 55 years in prison before he would become eligible for parole. According to Judge Jeremy Baker, Abedi played an integral role in the attack and would have received a life sentence but he was under 21 at the time of the bombing.Sylvia Hui, “Bomber’s brother gets 55 years for Manchester concert attack,” Associated Press, August 20, 2020, https://apnews.com/3c0994f1bbf1644e36278a4ede45dab4.

On September 6, 2020, a public inquiry as launched to investigate the motivation behind the March 2017 Manchester Arena attack. The inquiry, which was established on October 22, 2019, by U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, is being held at Manchester Magistrates’ Court and is expected to last until spring 2021. Chaired by Sir John Saunders, the inquiry explores whether the attack could have been prevented, details of the security arrangements of the arena, emergency responses, and the radicalization of the Abedi brothers. At an inquiry hearing on September 29, Patrick Gibbs QC, who represents the British Transport Police, claimed that the Abedi brothers “did not act alone” and others who provided technical and financial help, as well as training and support to the brothers are still “at large.”“Manchester Arena Inquiry: Terror attack investigation opens,” BBC News, September 6, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-manchester-54025242; “Manchester Arena bombings: Attackers 'did not act alone', inquiry hears,” Sky News, September 29, 2020, https://news.sky.com/story/manchester-arena-bombings-attackers-did-not-act-alone-inquiry-hears-12085470; “Public inquiries,” Institute for Government, May 21, 2018, https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/public-inquiries. While meeting with a public inquiry legal team on October 22, 2020, Abedi admitted that he played a “full and knowing part” in planning the Manchester attack. Abedi also admitted he and his brother carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS. The admission became public that December.Paul Britton, “LIVE: Manchester Arena bombing inquiry hears Hashem Abedi admitted ‘he played a full part’ in the planning of the attack,” Manchester Evening News, last updated December 7, 2020, https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/live-manchester-arena-bombing-inquiry-19411777; Lizzie Dearden, “Manchester Arena bomber’s brother ‘admits terror attack was for Isis,’” Independent (London), December 9, 2020, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/manchester-arena-bombing-hashem-isis-inquiry-b1768849.html?utm_source=iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1804273_.

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