The final report from the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing will be published

The third and final report from a public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing will be published later today.

Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured in a suicide attack at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017.

Details of the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the atrocity were heard in the city between 7 September 2020 and 15 February 2022.

On Thursday, the chairman of the Manchester Arena inquiry, Sir John Saunders, will publish his findings on whether the terror attack by Salman Abedi could have been prevented by MI5 and counter-terrorism police.

The report will also focus on the radicalization of Manchester-born Abedi, 22, of Libyan descent, and the planning and preparation of the attack.

In March 2014, Abedi became a Subject of Interest (SOI) to MI5 through a telephone conversation with another SOI, but his case was closed four months later when he was deemed “low risk”.

The inquest was told that between December 2013 and January 2017 Abedi was found to be in direct contact with three SOIs – one suspected of planning travel to Syria, another with links to al-Qaeda and the third with Libyan extremists .

And between April 2016 and April 2017, he was identified as a second-level contact (a contact contact) with three more SOIs, all with suspected links to the so-called Islamic State terror group.

In the months before the attack, two pieces of intelligence were received by MI5 about Abedi but were assessed at the time as relating to possible non-terrorist crime.

Both pieces of information were not passed on to the police and a later review found in hindsight they could be seen to have had much to do with the planned attack.

Abedi’s name also hit a “priority indicator” during a separate “data-washing exercise” as he fell among a small number of former SOIs who deserved further consideration.

A meeting to review the results was scheduled for May 31, 2017, nine days after the bombing.

During the inquest, a number of MI5 witnesses – including a senior officer known as Witness J – and detectives from the North West Police’s Counter-Terrorism Squad gave evidence behind closed doors.

The secret meetings were held to avoid compromising national security and the internal workings of MI5 and the counter-terrorism police.

A summary of some of the evidence was later released, but the “substance” did not reveal more details about the information M15 received in the months before the attack.

The first inquiry report by retired High Court judge Sir John, issued in June 2021, focused on security arrangements at the site. He highlighted a series of “missed opportunities” to identify Abedi as a threat before he crossed the City Room foyer and detonated his shrapnel device.

Sir John’s second report last November was heavily critical of the emergency services’ response to the bombing.

It ruled that care worker John Atkinson, 28, would probably have survived but for the failures on the night, while there was a “remote possibility” the youngest victim, eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos, could have lived with different treatment. and care.

Sir John’s findings and recommendations on radicalization and prevention will be published at 2pm on the inquiry’s website.

The report will be sent to Interior Minister Suella Braverman.

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