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The Report By The Manchester Arena Inquiry Reveals That British Security Services Missed Opportunities To Prevent The 2017 Bombing

The Report By The Manchester Arena Inquiry Reveals That British Security Services Missed Opportunities To Prevent The 2017 Bombing

Memorial erected in St. Ann's Square, Manchester, to honor the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing. Credit: Ardfern [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — The failure of British security service MI5 to act on intelligence, may have failed to prevent the deadly bombing of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017.

That was one of the conclusions reached in the far-ranging Manchester Arena Inquiry, which published the third volume of its findings on March 2nd, covering the radicalization of the attacker and examining the preventability of the attack.

The attack, which occurred on May 22nd, 2017, targeted the entrance to Manchester Arena after the conclusion of a concert by pop artist Ariana Grande. In the attack, a terrorist with links to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, detonated a homemade bomb, killing 23 (including the attacker) and leaving more than 1,000 injured.

In the report, inquiry chair Sir John Saunders stated that there was a “significant missed opportunity” to thwart the attack that the British security service MI5 failed to take advantage of. However, he went on to note that it is impossible to say for certain if any action by security officials could have prevented the tragedy.

Specific findings include delays in reporting potentially actionable intelligence about the attacker, and MI5’s failure to share key pieces of intelligence with police assigned to counterterrorism duties, which Saunders characterized as a communications breakdown between governmental agencies.

According to the report, analysts within MI5 raised concerns about the attacker that they believed to be of national security interest but may have failed to report their concerns in a timely fashion.

“The delay in providing the report led to the missing of an opportunity to take a potentially important investigative action,” the inquiry report said.

In the report, Saunders also noted that MI5’s failure to properly surveil the attacker following his return from Libya, where he was believed to have been fighting with alongside Islamists against dictator Muammar Gaddafi, just four days before the attack.

“Having considered the CCTV evidence showing how [the attacker] behaved around the Nissan Micra on 18 May 2017, I find that, in the event that Security Service officers had successfully followed [Abedi] to the Nissan Micra, the attack might have been prevented,” Saunders wrote in the inquiry report.

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