Father and Brother of Manchester Bomber Arrested in Libya

(Bloomberg) -- The father and a brother of suspected Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi have been detained by security personnel in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, according to witnesses and officials.

Father and Brother of Manchester Bomber Arrested in Libya

Ramadan Abedi, at his home before being detained in Tripoli, Libya, on May 24.

Photographer: Ghaith Shennib/Bloomberg

Three vehicles drove up to the Abedi home Wednesday evening and several men wearing uniform, some of them masked, detained Ramadan Abedi, the alleged attacker’s father, and two other unidentified men in the street. It wasn’t immediately possible to reach a spokesman for the United-Nations backed government in Tripoli for comment.

Separately, security forces announced they had Salman Abedi’s younger brother, Hesham, in custody. In a statement, the Special Deterrence Force said he had admitted to having links with Islamic State and being in the U.K. at the time the Manchester attack was being planned. The statement said Hesham had received money from his elder sibling. The force couldn’t immediately be contacted for comment.

The 22 people killed in the Manchester bombing included elementary school students, with the youngest just eight years old. Of the 59 wounded, many were children under 16. The U.K.’s terrorism threat has been raised from “severe” to “critical” -- the highest level -- for the first time since 2007, meaning another attack may be imminent. The army will be deployed to guard national sites under police review as campaigning for the June 8 general election resumes on Thursday. Authorities fear Abedi wasn’t working alone.

Ramadan Abedi was detained hours after he described in an interview with Bloomberg his disbelief over news his 22-year-old son had carried out the U.K.’s deadliest act of terrorism in more than a decade. He said the two had last week spoke about meeting in Tripoli during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

When asked if he had been contacted by British authorities about his son, who was reportedly known to the security services before Monday’s bombing of a pop concert in Manchester, northwest England, Ramadan Abedi answered “No.”

The fasting month starts this weekend. “I was really shocked when I saw the news, I still don’t believe it,” he said in Libya’s capital.