U.S. military officials stationed in the Africa Command recently shared information with British intelligence regarding the previous whereabouts of Salman Abedi, the young man identified as the Manchester bomber responsible for carrying out Monday’s deadly attack at an Ariana Grande concert. Since described as a terrorist attack by British Prime Minister Theresa May, Abedi’s plot was reportedly preceded by a three-week trip to Libya and may have been aided by members of his family.
According to CNN, U.S. officials have “high confidence” in their intelligence, which may help investigators better determine what Abedi was doing during the weeks prior to Monday’s bombing:
All of this is raising questions about Abedi’s travel route and how aware British authorities were of him and his movements in recent weeks. The US officials say it’s possible Abedi could have traveled from the UK to a nearby country such as Tunisia, which perhaps would not have raised the same red flags as a direct route.
It’s relatively easy to cross the Libya-Tunisia border over land. It’s also possible to travel via commercial air routes into Libya from a UK departure point.
Considering that a full-scale analysis of this intelligence (and others) is underway, however, CNN’s sources note, “Any new information could change the current view.” Like a Reuters report that indicating Abedi’s younger brother was arrested by counter-terrorism police in Tripoli for suspected links to ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for Monday’s bombing. Libyan security forces also arrested the boys’ father and reportedly claimed the younger brother “was aware of all the details” pertaining to attack plans.