Aug. 2 (BP) — An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for a brother of the man who bombed Britain’s Manchester Arena in 2017 after the older sibling failed to appear in court for a separate inquiry into the attack.
Officials said the brother, Ismail Abedi, is on the run after refusing to cooperate in the case and defied an order from Manchester Magistrates Court.
Abedi, 29, is believed to have fled Britain last year and has stayed under the radar with the alias Ben Romdhan.
Hashem Abedi, Abedi’s younger brother, was found guilty in 2020 and sentenced to 55 years for aiding the bomb plot carried out by another brother, Salman Ramadan Abedi, that killed nearly two dozen people at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017. Salman Abedi blew himself up in the attack.
Ismail Abedi was taken into custody the next day and questioned for 14 days, but police didn’t have enough evidence to charge him at that time. Last year, he was ordered to appear in court to ascertain “what part he played in his brother’s radicalization and whether his brother received training in Libya.”
A makeshift memorial to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing is seen in Manchester, Britain, on May 26, 2017. File photo by Mushtaq Mohammed/BP
Instead, police say he abandoned his apartment last August and was believed to have fled to Libya, where his family lives.
Ismail Abedi was on the police radar as early as 2013 after he was stopped by investigators who confiscated his laptop and cellphone. They said they found evidence that Abedi was being radicalized by the Islamic State terror group.
Detectives also said Ismail’s DNA was found on evidence collected from a vehicle used by the two younger brothers to transport the explosives ahead of the attack.
Ismail Abedi was convicted in absentia last month for refusing to comply with the inquiry, and a notice was sent to his last known address.
“He was separately emailed notice of today’s hearing. We would submit there is adequate notice of this hearing and we would submit that he has not attended today,” prosecutor Sophie Cartwright said according to Sky News.
“As a result, we would submit that this is an offense which carries imprisonment and you do have the power to issue a warrant.”