Ismail Abedi, the older brother of Hashem and Salman Abedi, the men who murdered 22 people during the Manchester Arena attack, has apologised to the victims’ families, saying his life has changed ever since his brother decided to pursue an evil path and commit terrorism.
According to Ismail, he had ‘no idea they had taken this path’.
His apology comes as UK born jihadi Hashem Salman, 23, was imprisoned this week for at least 55 years for helping his other brother Salman commit the horrific terror attack.
According to court documents, Hashem played an “integral part” in helping his brother Salman source shrapnel used in making the bomb that killed people including children at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena in 2017.
The blast killed 22 people (pictured below) including an eight-year-old girl and left hundreds of others injured.
Salman Abedi (pictured below as he was going to the arena) was killed in the terror attack, while Hashem was 2,000 miles away in Libya coordinating the attacks.
After the blast, Hashem Abedi denied he was an extremist but the court heard his DNA was discovered in a Nissan Micra used to store packs of nails for the bomb.
The brothers were born in Manchester to Libyan parents and booked one-way tickets to 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 initially 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 and then extradited to the UK for a cost of £123,000. Hashem was in March convicted of 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder encompassing the injured survivors, and conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.
The 55 year prison sentence means Abedi could likely die behind bars, as he was not over the age of 21 at the time the atrocity took place.
Older brother Ismail speaking to Sky News said: “I want to apologise on behalf of my family to the victims, for all the pain Hashem and Salman caused.”
Responding to Hashem’s life sentence, Ismail Abedi said: “I’m glad this has happened because I can put it all behind me, get on with my life and look after my family.”
Ismail grew up in Manchester with his siblings. He left the family home to live alone in 2013.
Since then he has got married and had a child. According to him, he was still in contact with his brothers at the time of the massacre.
“Salman had changed over time, he’d become more religious, would spend more time in the mosque… but that was just normal,” he said.
“I spoke to him the night before the attack, he seemed calm, quite normal, there was no indication he’d do anything like this.”
Mr Abedi was arrested by counter terrorism police in Manchester but was released after two weeks of questioning without any charge.
“The past three years have been hell,” he said.
“I’ve lost two brothers and my family is ripped apart because of it.
“What’s happened has happened.
“I can’t stop it now, I can’t go back.
“It’s done and dusted. He died, they died.”
After the court judgement, a joint statement was read out from the family of 14-year-old victim Nell Jones who was killed during the attack.
It read: “The grief of losing a child is like no other – it is all consuming.
“The pain is with us every day, it wraps around us until it suffocates us.”
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, said: “For the families and friends of those 22 souls whose lives were brutally cut short that night in May 2017, the pain will never fully diminish.
“I know that no sentence will ever make amends for their loss, nor the suffering of the more than 1,000 people injured – many seriously or left with deep psychological wounds – who continue to live with the effect of this cowardly attack.
“I can only hope it brings some small measure of comfort to them that Abedi will spend the vast majority of the rest of his life behind bars – where he belongs.”