The director of the British intelligence agencies stated on Thursday that he was deeply sorry that his agents had lost a “significant” chance to stop a deadly suicide bombing that occurred in 2017 in Manchester at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande performance.
At Manchester Arena in northern England when parents waited to pick up children after the American singer’s performance, a man exploded a homemade bomb, killing 22 people, the youngest of whom was eight, and injuring over 200 others.
While the bombing may not have been prevented in all cases, according to John Saunders, the head of a public inquiry into the incident, “there was a reasonable prospect that actionable intelligence may have been gained, which might have led to action stopping the attack.
He said that the domestic MI5 intelligence agency, whose agents he interrogated in secret hearings, had not acted quickly enough. After publishing his third and final report on the bombing, which was the deadliest in Britain since the 2005 London transport suicide attacks, Saunders gave a speech.
Director General of MI5, Ken McCallum, expressed his “deep regret” that his organization could not stop the attack.
Collecting covert intelligence is challenging, but if we had been able to take advantage of the small window of opportunity, individuals affected might not have gone through such horrifying loss and grief, he added in a statement.
A “major wasted chance to take measures that might have prevented the attack” had been missed, Saunders stated at a press conference. Because of concerns for national security, he claimed he was unable to provide specifics, acknowledging that this could leave the families of the victims wanting to know more.
Several people “failed in their duties,”
Saunders’ study, according to Richard Scorer, an attorney for 11 grieving families, revealed “terrible” shortcomings.
“At the absolute least, a chance to actually stop this attack was squandered. For us, this is a tragic result “said he.
According to Saunders, the bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, should have been transferred to a de-radicalization program because he had been known to the intelligence service since 2014 and had visited a powerful militant who was imprisoned.
Hashem, Abedi’s younger brother, was sentenced to 55 years in prison in 2020 for supporting and assisting him, while Ismail, Abedi’s older brother, was found guilty in his absence of failing to appear at the investigation and provide testimony in July after fleeing Britain.
The brothers were born in Britain to Libyan parents who had immigrated there under Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship.
Suella Braverman, the interior minister, pledged to “do everything possible to prevent a repeat of this horrible attack” in a statement with the agency and police.
Further flaws and errors in the venue’s security and the emergency services’ response were also noted in Saunders’ previous two assessments, which claimed that one victim would have likely survived if it hadn’t been so defective.
The relatives of several victims claimed they would never be able to pardon those who had let them down.
The mother of a teen boy who died beside his 17-year-old girlfriend said, “From top to bottom – MI5 to the associates of the perpetrator – we will always feel that you all played a part in the murder of our children.
“So many individuals were paid that night to watch over our children, but so many of them fell short of their responsibilities.”