The suicide bomber responsible for the Manchester Arena terrorist attack, Salman Abedi, is believed to have returned to Britain from Libya just days prior to the deadly incident and has allegedly also traveled to Syria.
Citing British investigators, French interior minister Gerard Collomb said that Abedi has “proven” links to ISIS.
Collomb reported that Abedi was a “British citizen of Libyan descent, but who grew up in Great Britain, and suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then probably to Syria, [became] radicalized and [decided] to carry out this attack”.
According to an unnamed source who attended school with Abedi, he “went to Libya three weeks ago and came back, like, days ago.”
Investigators are working to determine whether Abedi attended a terror training camp in Libya.
Abedi is believed to have been acquainted with Abdalraouf Abdallah, who was sentenced to a nine-and-a-half-year prison term in 2016 for channeling funds to jihadists and helping radicals travel to the Middle East.
Sky News cites security sources who contend that, as of March 2017, more than four hundred “combat-hardened” fighters have returned to Britain from Syria and Iraq. Approximately 50 of them have been apprehended.
Former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office Chris Phillips told The Telegraph in 2016 that he did not “believe the UK knows how many people have left for Syria or indeed come back”.
“There are many ways of getting back into the UK avoiding checks, including bus routes and ferry crossings,” he added.
“What we have to avoid is a false sense of security just because we have a stretch of water between us and Europe.”
An estimate provided by Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, revealed that there might be “between 6,000 and 10,000” radical Islamists currently residing in Britain.
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