British authorities are “likely” during the 2011 Libyan civil war to have contacted a banned Islamist militant group said to have links to Manchester terror attacker Salman Abedi.
The communication with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), as well as the 17 February Martyrs’ Brigade, was “part of our broad engagement” as the UK joined a Nato bombing campaign supporting rebels fighting to oust Muammar Gaddafi, Foreign Minister Alistair Burt said.
Shadow Foreign Minister and Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton said: “These revelations show that the British Government must look more closely at who it supports and has communications with, not only in Libya, but across the world.”
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who uncovered the information in a written parliamentary question, highlighted claims that suicide bomber Abedi had links to the LIFG.
He said: “The public needs to know what support Britain provided to these Islamist militias, which radicalised a Briton who went on to kill 23 and maim hundreds of his fellow citizens.”