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Libya halts extradition of Manchester Arena bomber's brother amid Tripoli fighting

Libya's interior minister says extradition of Hashem Abedi to Britain is on hold until 'conflict is finished'
Libyan authorities have 21-year-old Hashem Abedi in custody (AFP)

Clashes in Libya's capital Tripoli have halted the extradition of the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber.

The bomber's brother, 21-year-old Hashem Abedi, remains in the custody of the Libyan authorities.

A Libyan court in 2017 had agreed to extradite Abedi because he is a British citizen, but the country's interior minister, Fathi Bashagha, said on Friday that those plans have been placed on hold as a result of the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Hafta and their military offensive against Tripoli.

"Now they are waiting. Now the war, everything is stopped. We have to wait until the conflict is finished," Bashagha told the BBC.

"All our attention we are paying is towards how to push back the Haftar militia attacking Tripoli. This is important for us," he said.

Abedi's brother, Salman, used a suicide vest in May 2017 to kill 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at the arena.

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British police aim to prosecute Abedi "for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion," the Guardian reported.

Heavy fighting has been raging on Tripoli's outskirts as the UN-backed Tripoli-based government battles the LNA.

Western powers and Gulf states have been divided over a push by Haftar's forces to seize Tripoli, undermining calls by the United Nations for a ceasefire.

Despite the offensive, the LNA has not been able to breach the southern defences of forces allied to the internationally recognised administration based in the city.

Large parts of Libya have been lawless since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and the country has become the main transit point for hundreds of thousands of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East attempting the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.