U.K. intelligence missed chance to prevent deadly 2017 bombing at Ariana Grande concert, inquiry finds

Britain’s home intelligence company did not act swiftly sufficient on key info and missed a major alternative to prevent the suicide bombing that killed 22 individuals at a 2017 Ariana Grande live performance in northwest England, an inquiry discovered Thursday.

Retired choose John Saunders, who led the inquiry into the Manchester Enviornment assault, mentioned that one MI5 officer admitted they thought of intelligence about suicide bomber Salman Abedi to be a potential nationwide safety concern, however did not focus on it with colleagues shortly sufficient.

“I’ve discovered a major missed alternative to take motion that may have prevented the assault,” he mentioned.

In a uncommon televised assertion, MI5 director normal Ken McCallum mentioned he was “profoundly sorry that MI5 didn’t prevent the assault.”


“Gathering covert intelligence is tough, however had we managed to seize the slim chance we had, these impacted may not have skilled such appalling loss and trauma,” McCallum mentioned.

Police escort members of the general public from the Manchester Enviornment following an explosion at an Ariana Grande live performance in Could 2017. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Pictures)

Bomber was ‘topic of curiosity’

Abedi, 22, set off a knapsack bomb within the enviornment’s lobby at the top of the Could 22, 2017, live performance, as hundreds of younger followers, together with many kids, have been leaving the pop star’s present. Greater than 100 individuals have been injured. Abedi died within the explosion.

His brother, Hashem Abedi, was convicted in 2020 of serving to to plan and perform the assault. He was sentenced to life in jail.

Saunders mentioned had MI5 acted on the intelligence it obtained, it might have led to motion — together with doubtlessly stopping Abedi at Manchester Airport on his return from Libya simply 4 days earlier than the assault.

Caroline Curry, whose 19-year-old son Liam Curry was amongst these killed within the bombing, mentioned Thursday that she could not forgive intelligence officers for his or her failings.

“From high to backside, MI5 to the associates of the attacker, we are going to all the time imagine you all performed a component within the homicide of our youngsters,” she informed reporters.

A number of MI5 witnesses gave proof behind closed doorways to the inquiry and the intelligence wasn’t publicly disclosed.

WATCH | Folks describe what they heard and noticed when the bomb went off:

STILL WitnessClips.jpg?crop=1

Witness: ‘They have been strolling up and down the road on the lookout for their dad and mom’

Witnesses describe chaos in aftermath of Manchester live performance assault

Abedi had been a “topic of curiosity” to MI5 officers in 2014, however his case was closed shortly after as a result of he was deemed to be low-risk.


Saunders additionally mentioned that authorities failed to refer Abedi to the federal government’s counterterrorism program, often known as Prevent.

“I’ve concluded that there was at least a interval throughout Salman Abedi’s journey to violent extremism when he ought to have been referred,” he mentioned.

Thursday’s report was the third and remaining one into the assault.

Saunders beforehand criticized the sector’s safety employees and native police for failing to establish Abedi as a menace. He has additionally slammed delays and failings within the response of emergency companies on the night time of the bombing.

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