Updated: Wednesday, 13th December 2017 @ 6:54pm

Manchester Arena attack 'could have been stopped' says new report by top QC

Manchester Arena attack 'could have been stopped' says new report by top QC

| By Fraser Smith

A new report into the Manchester Arena suicide attack claims that it could have been stopped had security services acted on intelligence it had received.

The review, undertaken by David Anderson QC, said that the bomber Salman Abedi was a “subject of interest” and that the terrorist attack, which killed 22 people, could have been avoided.

Following the Manchester bombing and two other terrorist acts – the attacks on Westminster and London Bridge – MI5 and counter-terror police led a series of internal reviews. 

Despite the reviews remaining largely a secret, Mr Anderson led an investigation and summarised their findings. 

The report concluded that Abedi was identified as one of "a few dozen" people who needed further consideration. 

It also highlighted that there was no security service port alert against Abedi, so he was not questioned upon returning to the UK from Libya four days before the attack, which took place at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. 

Following the publication of the independent report, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “It is conceivable that the attack might have been averted had the cards fallen differently.” 

Outlining the findings, Ms Rudd said to the House of Commons that blame for the “cowardly” attacks “lies squarely” with the terrorists and those who both encouraged and paid them.

She also pointed out that since the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013, MI5 have disrupted 22 terrorist attacks.

It was later revealed that a plot to attack Downing Street and kill Prime Minister Theresa May had also been foiled.

Two arrests were made last week in London and Birmingham. Both men are due to appear in court today.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham also said there were lessons to be learned.

He said: “It is clear that things could – and perhaps should – have been done differently and wrong judgements made. 

“There are lessons to be learned and I think the people of Greater Manchester will appreciate the honesty in which they are being acknowledged.

“But clearly systems can be improved further still and I know that people affected by the Manchester attack will want to know that changes are being made to prevent others going through what they are going through.”