A report by MI5 has concluded that opportunities to stop the Manchester Arena bombing were missed due to a catalogue of failings by the security services.
Salman Abedi, the man who launched the suicide attack which killed 22 people at the arena during an Ariana Grande concert in May of last year, first came to the attention of the MI5 in December 2010 and was even investigated briefly in 2014.
Abedi enrolled at the University of Salford in 2014, where he studied business administration before dropping out to work in a bakery.
A number of shortcomings were detailed by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), particularly with MI5’s tracking and assessment of Abedi before he had launched his suicide attack.
The ISC assessment highlighted these specific points:
• Abedi visited an extremist contact in prison on more than one occasion but no follow-up action was taken by either MI5 or police;
• MI5 decided not to place travel monitoring or restrictions on Abedi, meaning he was allowed to return undetected to the UK from WHERE in the days before he carried out the attack;
• MI5 systems moved too slowly after Abedi’s case had been flagged for review;
• Abedi was not at any point considered for a referral to the Prevent
ISC chairman Dominic Grieve commented on the findings, “What we can say is that there were a number of failures in the handling of Salman Abedi’s case and while it is impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed.”
He added that both MI5 and counter-terror police have been “thorough in their desire to learn from past mistakes.
“The lessons from last year’s tragic events must now result in real action.”
This wasn’t the only attack ISC reviewed, as they also looked over the five attacks in Britain last year.
Including the Manchester bombing, 36 people were killed in the UK in terrorist attacks last year: five victims died in the Westminster attack in March, eight at London Bridge in June, and one at Finsbury Park in the same month.