An inquiry into the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017 has found that MI5 missed a key piece of intelligence, which could have prevented the attack from happening.
The third section of the inquiry, which was set up to investigate whether the attack could have been avoided, was released on Thursday.
Salman Abedi detonated a bomb outside an Ariana Grande concert, killing 23 people including himself. The inquiry has found that there were a number of factors that contributed to Abedi’s radicalisation, including his family background and his parents’ extremist views.
Abedi and his brother Hashem had also spent time in Libya, where they were likely to have come into contact with members of the Islamic State who could have provided them with expertise in bomb-making and counter-surveillance measures.
However, the inquiry was unable to obtain a complete picture of the Abedi family’s role in the radicalisation of Salman and Hashem.
The family members were not willing to give evidence to the inquiry, and Ismail Abedi, the elder brother, left the country to avoid providing information that he was in a position to give.
The inquiry also found that there was a failure to properly assess key intelligence about Salman Abedi, a failure to put it into proper context, and a delay in acting on it. As a result of these failures, there was a real possibility of preventing the attack from happening, which was lost.
Richard Scorer, principal lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represented 11 of the families at the inquiry, said that the failures exposed in the report were unacceptable.
The public expects information of national security importance to be acted on speedily and efficiently, and the system must ensure that this happens in the future.
The report has been deeply painful for the families of the victims, who are still coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones.
The inquiry has brought to light the shortcomings of the system and has raised questions about how such an attack could have been prevented. It is hoped that the findings of the inquiry will lead to improvements in the system, so that such a tragedy never happens again.