The younger brother of Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi has been arrested in Libya, while his other brother Ismail was arrested in England on Tuesday morning.
Hashem Abedi, 20, has been detained by counter-terror officers from organisation Rada in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, for suspected links to ISIS.
Salman was responsible for the attack on an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night that left at least 22 people dead and another 119 injured.
A childhood friend of Hashem’s revealed that he travelled to Libya many times as an adolescent and moved there for at least two years after leaving school in 2013.
When he returned from Libya, he was dressed in religious clothing and had grown a beard, the friend said.
‘When he came back he looked completely different. He was taller with a beard and glasses and he was wearing a traditional Khameez,’ the friend said.
‘He seemed suddenly very religious, like a different person. He used to be a bit cheeky, a bit of a troublemaker. He seemed like he’d been brainwashed.’
Hashem had also become extremely devout, at one point breaking off a game of football so that he could say his prayers, his friend said.
Bomber Salman is also understood to have travelled to Libya on several occasions and reportedly returned from the country as recently as last week.
His trips to the country are being closely scrutinised by police and security services in the wake of the attack, it has been reported.
Growing up in a tightly knit Libyan community of anti-Gaddafi exiles, he worshipped at a local mosque that has been accused of fundraising for jihadi causes.
A local imam said that Salman had shown him a ‘face of hate’ when he gave a sermon criticising ISIS.
Friends of the two men expressed their surprise that Salman was the suicide bomber, as Hashem had always been perceived as the more devout of the two.
It comes as three men, thought to be connected to the bomber, were arrested in south Manchester in the early hours of the morning.
While Libya has lacked a national government since Gaddafi was killed in 2011, Tripoli is controlled by the UN-backed Government of National Accord and is committed to fighting terrorism.
Ramadan Abedi, the boys’ father, spoke out shortly before his younger son was arrested, to say Salman had seemed ‘normal’ when he spoke to him five days before his attack.
Abedi Sr said: ‘We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us.’
Salman was planning to head to Saudi Arabia later this week before going to Libya to spend the holy month of Ramadan with family, he added.
Abedi fled Tripoli in 1993 after Moammar Gadhafi’s security authorities issued an arrest warrant and eventually sought political asylum in Britain.
Now, he is the administrative manager of the Central Security force in Tripoli.
Source: Daily Mail