(AP) – A former Libyan security official says the father of the alleged Manchester arena bomber was allegedly member of a former al-Qaida-backed group in Libya.
Former Libyan security official Abdel-Basit Haroun said Wednesday he personally knew Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman Abedi, and that the elder Abedi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting group in the 1990s. The group had links to al-Qaida.
Although the LIFG disbanded, Haroun says the father belongs to the Salafi Jihadi movement, the most extreme sect of Salafism and from which al-Qaida and the Islamic State group hail.
Haroun says Abedi, also known as Abu Ismail, had returned to the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Ramadan Abedi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Tripoli that his family “aren’t the ones who blow up ourselves among innocents.”
The father of the alleged Manchester arena attacker denies his son is linked to militants or the suicide bombing that killed 22 people.
Ramadan Abedi says he spoke to his 22-year-old son, Salman Abedi, five days ago and he was getting ready to visit Saudi Arabia and sounded “normal.”
He said that his son visited Libya a month-and-a -half ago.
The elder Abedi told The Associated Press by telephone from Tripoli: “We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us.”
He said his other son, Ismail, was arrested in England on Tuesday morning.
He said Salman was planning to head from Saudi Arabia to Libya to spend the holy month of Ramadan with family.
Abedi fled Tripoli in 1993 after Moammar Gadhafi’s security authorities issued an arrest warrant and eventually sought political asylum in Britain.
Now, he is the administrative manager of the Central Security force in Tripoli.