Report: German intelligence says Manchester bomber flew from Turkey before attack

Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old suicide bomber who killed 22 in the Manchester terrorist attack, travelled to Britain from Turkey just four days before the bombing, wrote the Financial Times by basing on information received from German intelligence.

“Abedi, who was born in Manchester of Libyan parents, flew from İstanbul to the UK via Dusseldorf’s international airport, a German intelligence official said. A senior Turkish official said the Turkish government sent a file on Abedi to British authorities on Wednesday morning, but declined to discuss the details of the communication,” reported the FT

Turkey has regularly been used as a transit point for European militants traveling to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria’s civil war. However, Turkish security officials said Turkey had no prior intelligence on Salman Abedi before he traveled from İstanbul to the UK. According to a story by Reuters, a Turkish security official said there were no records concerning Abedi entering Syria during his travels.

“There is flight traffic before his arrival to Europe. He travels first to Europe, then to a third country and then to İstanbul and back to Europe,” the official told Reuters. ISIL has claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Previously, it was reported that the suspects of the terrorist attacks in Stockholm, capital city of Sweden and in Russia’s popular city St. Petersburg were deported by Turkey in 2015. According to the media reports, the Uzbek national suspected of mowing down pedestrians in Stockholm on April 7 was deported from Turkey two years ago while he tried to join the ranks of the ISIL in Syria.

According to an Uzbek source, the 39-year-old suspect, Rakhmat Akilov, attempted to cross Turkey’s border with Syria in 2015 but was ultimately detained by authorities. “Given his refugee status he was deported back to Sweden,” an unnamed law enforcement source in the Central Asian state said.

Also, a senior Turkish official had said that Akbarzhon Jalilov, the man Russian police suspect of blowing up a St. Petersburg metro car, entered Turkey in late 2015 and was deported to Russia about a year later because of migration violations.

Speaking with Reuters on condition of anonymity, the Turkish official said that while in Turkey Jalilov “was deemed suspicious due to some connections he had, but no action was taken as he had not done anything illegal and there was no evidence of wrongdoing.”

“However, the issue was not dropped and this person was sent out of Turkey in December 2016 for violating their visa and residency. In the end, a fine was given and they were deported with an entry ban,” the official said.

The terrorist attack on the St. Petersburg metro took place while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting the city on April 3, killing 14 people, including the bomber himself, and injuring dozens.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the attackers in the Brussels suicide bombings last year, was also deported from Turkey in 2015 while attempting to cross the border into Syria.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threatening statement on March 21, 2017 had drew reactions from European capitals. President Erdoğan had stated that “Europeans will not be able to safely walk on the streets if they persist in their attitude against Turkey.” Speaking during a meeting of the Anatolian Publishers Association in Ankara, Erdoğan had said, “Turkey is not a country you can push around, not a country whose citizens you can drag on the ground.”

He was referring to Dutch police who forcefully dispersed Turkish demonstrators in Rotterdam on March 11 following the expulsion from the country of Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya after she was prevented from holding a campaign rally at the Turkish Consulate General residence in Rotterdam.

“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can safely walk on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy,” he had said.

The European Commission had summoned Turkish ambassador to the European Union (EU) following remarks made by Erdoğan that Europeans will not be able to safely walk on the streets if they persist in their attitude against Turkey. The commission reportedly expected an explanation of Erdoğan’s sharp remarks against the West.

May 25, 2017

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!