British intelligence agency MI5 was reportedly warned by the FBI that Salman Abedi was planning an attack on UK soil, three months before he blew himself up in Manchester killing 22 people and injuring over 60.
The Independent reports FBI agents are said to have informed British officials that the 22-year-old was part of a North African ISIS cell based in the north west of England that was plotting an attack in the UK.
Abedi was reportedly placed on a US terrorist watch list in 2016 after he came to the attention of intelligence agencies during an investigation into terrorist groups operating in Libya.
“In early 2017 the FBI told MI5 that Abedi belonged to a North African terror gang based in Manchester, which was looking for a political target in this country,” a security source told The Mail on Sunday.
“The information came from the interception of his communications by US federal agents, who had been investigating Abedi since the middle of 2016, and from information unearthed in Libya, where his family was linked to terrorist groups.
“Following this US tip-off, Abedi and other members of the gang were scrutinised by MI5. It was thought at the time that Abedi was planning to assassinate a political figure. But nothing came of this investigation and, tragically, he slipped down the pecking order of targets.”
The security services were also warned on three separate occasions by Muslims in Manchester about Abedi, according to media reports.
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Meanwhile, MI5 is to hold an inquiry into the way it dealt with warnings from the public that the Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was a potential threat.
The security service will examine how it dealt with the warnings.