Manchester Bomber’s Refugee Friend ‘Accidentally’ Joined Islamic State

Police officers work at the scene near a property they entered in the Moss Side area of Manchester on May 27, 2017 during an operation. British police said they arrested two more people during raids Saturday in connection with the suicide bombing at a Manchester concert, with a 'large part' …
OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty

A Libyan who came to the UK as a ‘refugee’ has been linked to the Manchester bomber and convicted of being an Islamic State militant, despite arguing he “accidentally” joined the terrorist group.

Mohammed Abdallah, 26, travelled from Manchester to Syria in 2014 with assistance from his disabled brother Abdalraouf, 24, who came to Britain for NHS treatment before setting up a “communications hub” for Muslim extremists.

He was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday of possessing an AK-47 rifle, receiving £2,000 for terrorism, and membership of the Islamic State, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The brothers were friends with Salman Abedi, 22, the son of another Islamic extremist refugee, who massacred 22 men, women and children when he blew himself up in May of this year after a pop concert at the Manchester Arena.

The case highlighted how the close-knit terror cell from the south of Manchester operated, and exposed possible ways security forces could have acted.

A review by David Anderson QC reported this week said that the Manchester bombing might have been disrupted had intelligence agencies acted on two “highly relevant” pieces of information relating to Mr. Abedi earlier in 2017.

Mohammed Abdallah grew up in Manchester’s Libyan migrant community alongside Abedi, who went to the same school and was friends with his brother, Abdalraouf Abdallah.

After Abdalraouf Abdallah was convicted of terror offences last year, Abedi visited him in prison, just weeks before his murderous suicide bombing.

Mohammed Abdallah returned to Britain last year, claiming that he did not understand that he was about to join a terrorist group when he travelled to the Islamic State via Turkey.

The jury, who were shown Islamic State registration documents leaked to Sky News listing him as applying to be a “sniper specialist”, unanimously rejected the bizarre explanation.

The application to become a ‘mujahid’, or holy warrior, had Islamic State imagery in the corner. Under “any previous jihadi experience” he claimed to have fought “in Libya against Gaddafi.” He had been in the North African country in 2011.

The court also heard how the defendant arrived in Britain as a refugee after his family fled the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

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