Friday, May 26, 2017

Rebels 'Went to Libya With MI5 Blessing' Amid Abedi Probe

By Gareth Davies - May 26, 2017 at 01:18AM

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Rebels living in England have claimed the UK Government waived travel bans to let them fight Colonel Gaddafi in Libya as investigators probe the Manchester bomber's visits to Tripoli. 

Fighters which included Libyan exiles and British-Libyan residents have described how MI5 operated an open door policy for those willing to travel to North Africa to topple the dictator. 

It comes as Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted Salman Abedi, who killed 22 and injured at least 119 people when he blew himself up at Manchester Arena, was known to counter-terror authorities. 

Those who travelled to Libya to fight alongside Islamic rebel groups have described how, even though they were subject to counter-terror orders banning them from leaving their homes because they posed a security threat, they were allowed to travel to the hostile warzone.

When they returned to the UK, having spent months alongside groups thought by British intelligence to have links with Al-Qaeda, rebels were said to have been allowed back into the country without hesitation. 

Libyan officials have backed up the claims, saying the British government were "fully aware" of young men being sent to fight, turning the North African country into an "exporter of terror."

Abedi's father Ramadan and younger brother Hashem were in custody in Libya last night after being arrested by counter-terror police a day after elder brother Ismail, 23, was detained in Manchester. 

Detectives said Hashem had links to ISIS and was planning to carry out a terror attack in Tripoli.

Hashem was accused of having known about his brother's murderous plans for more than a month, while it emerged his father had been a revolutionary fighter against Gaddafi who publicly voiced support for an Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria.

In the wake of Monday night's atrocity, former rebel fighters have talked of how easily they were able to slip free from their travel bans and leap into battle.

Sources, some of whom met Abedi and described him as a hothead, told the Middle Eastern Eye claim these trips were facilitated by the British government, something the Home Office said it could not comment on when contacted by MailOnline.

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