Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

United Kingdom review: Manchester concert attack might have been stopped

United Kingdom review: Manchester concert attack might have been stopped

The report by David Anderson QC, Britain's former independent reviewer of terror legislation, reviews a series of terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom this year and stops short of apportioning blame on MI5 and counter terror police for failing to stop four attacks since March.

Anderson oversaw reviews of four terrorist attacks carried out in the United Kingdom between March and June 2017, to determine whether the internal reviews by the police and MI5 were thorough enough.

It emerged that perpetrators of the Westminster and Manchester atrocities, as well as one of the London Bridge attackers, had at some point been on the radar of authorities - although none was considered high risk at the time of the attacks.

Abedi, a 22-year-old terrorist, detonated a suicide device outside an Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena concert, killing 22 people.

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He claims that MI5 would have launched an investigation had the "true significance" of the intelligence received in the months before the attack been known. But he was a closed subject of interest at the time of the atrocity in March, and intelligence officers and police had no reason to anticipate his murderous actions.

"MI5 and counter-terrorism policing got a great deal right (but) particularly in the case of Manchester, they could have succeeded had the cards fallen differently", the report found.

Khuram Butt, who led the three-strong gang behind the London Bridge van and knife attack in June, which left two young Australian women dead, was the principal subject of an MI5 investigation from mid-2015 until the deadly assault.

The review by lawyer David Anderson, ordered by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, said the May 22 attack that killed 22 people might have been thwarted "had the cards fallen differently".

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