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Ramadan Abedi, also known by Abu Ismail, is claiming his son is innocent in the May 22 bombing of Manchester Arena that left 22 people dead and hundreds more injured.
The 51-year-old father from Libya has gone on record saying that his son, Salman Abedi, would never do such a thing and was prepping for a Muslim pilgrimage in recent weeks. His other son, Ismail, was arrested May 23 by British authorities as they continued their investigation into the terrorist attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ramadan Has Reportedly Been Detained In Libya
Reports that surfaced May 24 said that Abedi’s father was “detained by masked gunmen” while giving a live TV interview in Libya. The report said that he had been taken to an “unknown location.”
Special Deterrent force spokesman Ahmed bin Salem later confirmed to The Associated Press that the father was detained in Tripoli for “interrogations.”
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2. The Father Has Reportedly Claimed His Son is Innocent
In a report by Maggie Michael of the Associated Press, Ramadan claimed that his son is innocent in the investigation. He told the news outlet that his son was in the middle of “preparing to go on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia” around the time of the attack.
“We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us,” he said to the AP via phone. “We aren’t the ones who blow up ourselves among innocents. We go to mosques. We recite Quran, but not that.”
“Last time I spoke to (Salman), he sounded normal. There was nothing worrying at all until two days ago (when) I heard the news that they suspect he was the bomber.”
Salman was reportedly “getting ready for a trip” to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca performed by Muslims.
3. His Family Sought Asylum In Britain
In the 1990s, the father worked as a security officer in Libya under Moammar Gadhafi’s dictatorship. But he was accused of tipping off Islamists before police raise and fled to Saudi Arabia in 1993. He spent less than one year there before fleeing to the United Kingdom. He sought political asylum and resided there for about 25 years.
In 2011, the father returned to Libya after the uprising, overthrow and death of Gadhafi.
4. He’s Denied Any Ties to Militant Groups
The father heavily denied any ties to militant groups in Libya. That includes the Libya Islamic Fighting Group, which has direct links to al-Qaida. The group participated in the country’s civil war in 2011 and continue to be involved in the Civil War of 2014 as members of the Libya Shield Force.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, the group was banned worldwide by the United Nations and it’s listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It’s since disbanded.
Despite the denial that the Abedi family has ties to the Libyan Islamic Fighting group, a former security official told the AP in its report that the father was in fact a member of the group during the 1990s. Abdel-Basit Haroun told the news outlet that Abedi’s father now belongs to the Salafi Jihadi movement. It’s considered the “most extreme sect of Salafism” and has direct links to terrorism and the Islamic State.
5. He Works for the Central Security Force In Tripoli
Nowadays, the elder Abedi resides back in Libya and is continuing his past work as a security officer. He was appointed to work as an administrative manager for the Tripoli Central Security forces.
The group helps patrol Tripoli and ensure safety to its residents.