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Father of Manchester bomb suspect ‘was in militant group’

Published: Updated:

The father of suspected Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi was once part of a Libyan militant group with alleged ties to Al-Qaeda, a Libyan security source said Thursday.

Abedi’s father Ramadan “was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG),” said Ahmed bin Salem, spokesman for Libya’s Deterrence Force, which acts as the police for Libya’s unity government.

The Tripoli-based force arrested Abedi’s father and brother after Monday’s attack at a pop concert which killed 22 people and was claimed by the ISIS group.

Ramadan Abedi was hunted by the regime of Moamer Kadhafi for his ties to the group, finding refuge in Britain before returning to Libya in 2011 to join the NATO-backed uprising that finally overthrew the dictator, British media have reported.

The now-disbanded LIFG was founded in 1995 by Libyans who had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan and stayed on after their withdrawal. The group’s sole aim was to topple Kadhafi.

After thwarting an attempt to assassinate the Libyan strongman, Kadhafi’s security services launched a merciless pursuit of the group’s members, most of whom had fled the country.

After the dictator’s ouster and death, Abedi served in the Tripoli police department, Bin Salem said, without providing further information.

“The investigation is ongoing and he is still being questioned by the relevant services. I cannot give more details,” Bin Salem said.

LIFG members have allegedly maintained murky links with Al-Qaeda.

Some of its members joined the international jihadist network.