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Hashem Abedi: Manchester bomber's brother found guilty over 2017 attack

Abedi, who was extradited to UK from Libya to stand trial, was convicted on 22 charges of murder over bombing of music venue
People place flowers and candles at a tribute to victims of the bombing in Manchester city centre on 23 May 2017 (AFP)
By Ian Cobain in London

The brother of a suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester has been found guilty of murder after a jury concluded that he had helped to plan the attack.

Hashem Abedi, 22, was convicted at the Old Bailey court in London for his role in the May 2017 attack.

Abedi grew up in Manchester but had been in the Libyan capital Tripoli with his father when his older brother Salman Abedi detonated his rucksack bomb at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.

However, the prosecution presented evidence from witnesses, mobile phone usage and internet shopping records that showed he had bought some of the chemicals used to make the explosives.

Hashem Abedi
A photo of Hashem Abedi, released on the Facebook page of the Libyan Special Deterrence Force in 2017 (AFP)

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He had also been present in the early stages of the production of the bomb and had acquired a car and rented property used to store the device.

Investigators believe the two brothers had developed a fascination with the Islamic State militant group.

More than 250 people were injured in the blast. Abedi was convicted also of their attempted murder, and on one count of conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

Towards the end of his six-week trial, Abedi declined to come into court, and sacked members of his defence team.

The Manchester-born brothers "stood shoulder to shoulder" in the plot, the jury was told, with the younger one "just as guilty of murder" as the bomber himself.

Prosecutors said they had spent months planning the attack and had a shared goal: to “kill, maim and injure as many people as possible".

The brothers used 11 mobile phones in five months - some for as little as two hours - and used a variety of vehicles to transport components around the city.

After the blast, Hashem Abedi’s fingerprints were found at a number of address and inside a car which all contained traces of explosives.

Some relatives of the victims burst into tears in court as the verdicts were announced.

A Manchester police spokesman later said: “This was all about the sick ideology of Islamic State and this desire for martyrdom."

Abedi will be sentenced at a later date and is facing a mandatory life sentence.

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