Salman Abedi, the 22-year-old ‘mule’ who blew himself up in Manchester Arena on Monday night, had direct links to an ISIS cell operating in Manchester City Centre.
Not only did Abedi work within the ISIS cell but he was also in contact with a prolific recruiter for the Islamist terror group by the name of Raphael Hostey who was based in Moss Side.
According to a year long investigation carried out by Sky News, Abedi, who spent his days smoking weed, drinking alcohol, and rarely going to the mosque (essentially the poster boy for everything ISIS is supposed to hate), grew up on a housing estate in South Manchester where numerous young Islamic radicals lived side by side radicalising each other.
Some members of the estate even went to Syria and Iraq to fight for the so called Islamic State.
Abedi and Hostey, who is thought to have been killed in Syria last year, both grew up together and attended the same mosque before they became compelled by a hatred of the west. Now, counter-terrorism sources are claiming they have a ‘significant’ connection between the two.
Interestingly Moss Side, which was once dubbed Gunchester famed for its gang wars and violence, has turned itself around massively in the past few years.
However now – the threat of drug violence has changed to a threat of terrorism with at least 16 individuals from the militant hotbed signing up to fight abroad.
While the police continue to make arrests with any assailants of Salman Abedi they won’t be arresting any of his ISIS cell mates – because they’re either dead, in prison, or fighting abroad.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.