Manchester bomber’s brother ‘just as guilty’: Prosecutor

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The brother of Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi went on trial in London on Tuesday, accused of helping him plot the attack that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert.

The blast on May 22, 2017 happened in a busy foyer of the venue in northwest England packed with men, women and children, and also injured more than 200 others.

Opening the case at the Old Bailey in London, England’s central criminal court, prosecutor Duncan Penny said Hashem Abedi was equally as responsible for the attack as his brother who carried it out.

“The prosecution’s case is that this defendant is just as guilty of the murder of the 22 people killed as was his brother,” he told the jury.

“He is equally guilty of the attempted murder of many others and in doing so he was guilty of agreeing with his brother to cause an explosion or explosions of a nature likely to endanger life.”

The court heard the attack was the result of months of planning, experimentation and preparation by the brothers.

Hashem Abedi, now 22, allegedly obtained chemicals for a home-made bomb and got metal containers in order to construct it.

He also found an address in Manchester to manufacture the explosive and store it and to have bought screws and nails for shrapnel, the court was told.

He also purchased a car to store bomb-making equipment, it was alleged.

“The bomb which was detonated was self-evidently designed to kill and maim as many people as possible,” said Penny.

“It was packed with lethal shrapnel and it was detonated in the middle of a crowd in a very public area -- the intention being to kill and to inflict maximum damage.”

The lawyer added: “Such was the ferocity of this explosion that Salman Abedi was dismembered in the process.

“The scene that met the survivors and those that attended thereafter was one of destruction and chaos.”

The court heard the Abedi family lived in south Manchester but the brothers’ parents returned to their native Libya in 2016.

Hashem Abedi denies 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and conspiring to cause explosions. The case is expected to last for up to eight weeks.