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Extradited brother of Manchester bomber arrested by British police as he arrives from Libya

Hashem Abedi was detained by Libyan forces shortly after the deadly attack in Manchester. [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 July, 2019

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Libya on Wednesday extradited the brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who detonated explosives at a concert in Manchester in May 2017 killing 22 people, back to the UK.

The brother of Salman Abedi, a suicide bomber who killed 22 people in an attack outside a pop concert in Manchester in 2017, was arrested for murder on Wednesday after being extradited from Libya, British police said.

Hashem Abedi, who was arrested in Libya days after the bombing, was handed over to British officials and then flown to the UK where he was arrested for murder, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

"He has today been successfully extradited for offences relating to the Manchester Arena attack," it said.

Asked about the arrest, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "an important moment in the investigation”.

"I hope it is a welcome step for the loved ones of all the victims," she said, condemning the "appalling" and "senseless" attack.

Manchester police said Abedi was also being arrested for attempted murder and "conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life".

He is expected to appear in a London court on Thursday.

A spokesman for the Libyan force which had held him earlier told AFP that Abedi was "in the plane headed for Britain".

Ahmed Ben Salem of the Special Deterrence Force (Radaa) - an armed group which serves as the capital's police - said he was being extradited in line with a decision of the Libyan judiciary following a request from the UK.

According to Radaa, the brother has allegedly acknowledged that he was in the UK as the attack was being prepared and was "fully aware of the details".

His father was also detained in Libya but released a few weeks later.

Salman Abedi carried out the bloodiest terror attack in the UK in more than a decade when, he detonated a suicide bomb after a concert by Grande, leaving many children among the dead.

Libya's internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in Tripoli, said in April that Hashem Abedi's case was being determined by the North African country's courts.

Libya has been mired in chaos since the ouster and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising 2011.

The Abedi family, originally from Libya, had fled to the UK during the Gadaffi dictatorship, but the brothers returned to the country along with their father when the uprising began in 2011.

There has been a surge in fighting since military strongman General Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli, seat of the GNA, on 4 April.

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