JAILED terrorist Hashem Abedi has admitted his involvement in planning the Manchester Arena bombing, a public inquiry has heard.
The 23-year-old helped his brother Salman carry out the suicide attack in 2017 which killed 22 people.
The 23-year-old admitted to plotting the terror attack for the first timeCredit: Reuters
The Manchester bomber’s brother Hashem pictured with heavy artilleryCredit: PA:Press Association
The brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, had pleaded not guilty earlier this year to 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
He did not give evidence at the Old Bailey but provided a pre-prepared defence statement in which he denied involvement, claimed to have been “shocked” by what his brother had done and did not hold extremist views.
He went on to be convicted by a jury of all the offences and was handed 24 life sentences in August with a minimum term of 55 years before he can be considered for parole.
Families of the victims wept as jurors took less than five hours of deliberation to convict him on all counts back in March.
They heard how Hashem was “every bit as responsible” as his older brother – and may have been the ringleader in the murderous plot.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Barraclough said: “If you look at these two brothers, they are not kids caught in the headlights of something they don’t understand.
“These two men are the real deal, these are proper jihadis – you do not walk into a space like the Manchester Arena and kill yourself with an enormous bomb like that, taking 22 innocent lives with you, if you are not a proper jihadist.
“He was with his brother throughout the entire process of making this explosive and building this bomb, I believe he provided encouragement right up to the end.
‘SPENT MONTHS HATCHING BLOODBATH’
“This was all about the sick ideology of Islamic State and this desire for martyrdom.”
During his trial, the Old Bailey heard how the sadistic brothers spent months hatching the bloodbath – using bank accounts of pals to buy chemicals online.
The pair used their mum’s £550-a-week benefit payments, which she continued to receive after she left the UK for Libya, to buy tools.
They flew back to Libya when friends noticed signs they had been radicalised but just days before the attack, Salman Abedi returned to Manchester.
Haunting CCTV caught him skulking around the arena at a Take That gig on a practice run.
And Hashem Abedi, a former electronics student, continued advising him by phone — and is believed to have been the last person he spoke to when he stopped at a bench on his way to the gig.
Salman later left for the nearby Arndale shopping centre where he bought batteries and a blue Kangol suitcase so he could move his bomb-making equipment to the flat he rented in Manchester city centre.
He was then caught in chilling CCTV images with a rucksack packed with thousands of nuts just 19 seconds before the deadly blast.
Salman Abedi waited for around an hour in the Manchester Arena foyer before parents and children left the gig at 10.30pm.
One minute later, he detonated the bomb as 359 people stood in the City Room – with 19 declared dead at the scene.
Among debris found after the blast were 1,675 nyloc nuts, 156 flanged nuts, 663 plain nuts and 11 fragments from Salman Abedi and his victims.
The brothers were born in Manchester to Libyan parents and booked one-way tickets the country in April 2017 after stockpiling chemicals used to make the homemade explosive.
Salman Abedi then returned to his native Manchester on May 18 to carry out the atrocity.
Hashem repeatedly denied any knowledge of his brother’s plot and suggested he had been conned into believing the bomb parts were for household use.
He was arrested by Libyan authorities soon after the attack but an extradition bid proved difficult because of the civil war raging in the North African country.
More to follow…
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