LONDON – An attack A suicide at a concert by pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester in May could have been thwarted if researchers had grasped the importance of "highly relevant" intelligence passing through their desks, according to a report commissioned by the British government on Tuesday.
"It is conceivable that the Manchester attack in particular could have been avoided if the cards fell differently," concluded the test, noting that the attacker, Salman Abedi, 22, had been a "subject". of interest "but had not been under active investigation at the time of the attack.
Abedi was born and raised in Manchester. He had traveled to and from Libya in the days before his arrival at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and wounding more than 100.
The suicide bombing was one of four terrorist attacks in Britain this year that David Anderson studied , a former independent reviewer of anti-terrorist legislation. He was allowed to examine nine classified internal reviews, 1,150 pages, which were conducted by the anti-terrorist police and the MI5 domestic intelligence service.
Anderson said authorities may have omitted some important information in the Manchester case, but also noted: "Attacks continue to be successfully interrupted, often after intense and thorough work, with continuous prosecutions and lengthy prison sentences. , a regular occurrence. "
He said he was informed of 20 recently frustrated plots. The MI5 director told the British cabinet on Tuesday that police and intelligence services had foiled nine terrorist plots last year.
British Secretary of the Interior, Amber Rudd, said the Manchester terrorist had been "a closed issue of interest at the time of the attack" and, therefore, not under active investigation.
"In early 2017, MI5, however, received information about it, which was classified as unrelated to terrorism.In retrospect, intelligence can be seen as highly relevant.If an investigation had been reopened at that time it is not known if Abedi's plans could have been stopped, MI5 says it would have been unlikely, "Rudd said in a statement.
The Interior Minister added that the anti-terrorist forces were executing "more than 500 live operations, a third more since the beginning of the year," involving approximately 3,000 subjects of interest. In addition, there are more than 20,000 more individuals or closed interest subjects who have been previously investigated and may re-present a threat. "
Three of the six attackers involved in the four incidents of 2017 studied by Anderson were on the MI5 radar , including Khuram Butt, who led a car and knife attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, which killed eight, and Khalid Masood, who crashed his car against pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge and killed five people, including an officer police The parliament.
In his report, Anderson said that the authorities had "gotten a big deal" and that their classified reviews of their own work were honest and aimed at improving their chances of thwarting parcels.
"In a Increasingly high level "In the volume business, where success and failure depend on small margins, it is almost certain that there will be future cases in which these recommend will tip the balance in favor of the security forces, "he concluded. d.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, told the BBC on Tuesday: "It is clear that things could, and perhaps should, have been done differently and that wrong judgments have been made."
But, he said, he should reassure the public to know that Abedi had been on the radar.