British police say they have arrested the brother of a suspected suicide bomber following his extradition to London from Libya on suspicion of helping plan the deadly 2017 Manchester Arena attack.
Hashem Abedi, 22, was arrested after he landed at a London airport on Wednesday and will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court, though police did not specify when.
“He has today been successfully extradited, for offences relating to the Manchester Arena attack,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said in a statement.
“He was handed over by Libyan authorities to British police officers this morning. They escorted him on the flight back and he landed in the UK a short while ago.”
Salman Abedi had allegedly blown himself up at the end of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and injuring more than 500.
London had requested the extradition of his brother Hashem after police issued an arrest warrant for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause the explosion.
Libya had long stalled on the request. The Tripoli-based Special Deterrence Force (Rada), the group that was holding Abedi, earlier confirmed the extradition.
“I confirm to you that Hashem is now in the air on his way to the UK … he is extradited in accordance with a court verdict,” said a spokesperson for Rada, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.
The spokesperson said the order came from the attorney general’s office based on a verdict by the court of appeals. A Justice Ministry source in Tripoli confirmed the extradition.
The arrest warrant for Hashem was issued by a Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge and approved by the home secretary.
Rada, a counterterrorism and anti-crime group aligned with the internationally recognised government in Tripoli, had arrested Hashem shortly after the Manchester bombing on suspicion he had helped plan the attack.
Rada said at the time that Salman and Hashem flew together to Libya in April 2017, before Salman returned to Britain to carry out the attack.
In the aftermath of the bombing, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) said it was responsible but security services have always treated the claim with scepticism.
The Abedi family emigrated to Britain during the rule of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, moving from London to the Fallowfield area in Manchester.
The brothers’ parents returned to Libya after Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.