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Manchester bomber's brother 'just as guilty', UK court told

Hashem Abedi is accused of playing a key role in the 2017 attack that killed 22 people, including seven children
Hashem Abedi, the brother of a suicide bomber who attacked a concert in Manchester in 2017, is seen after being arrested (Reuters)
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London

The brother of a suicide bomber who targeted a pop concert in Manchester, England, in 2017 has gone on trial over his alleged role in the attack.

Hashem Abedi is accused of the murder of the 22 people who died in the blast at the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.

The jury at the Old Bailey court in London was told that Abedi was equally guilty as his older brother, Salman Abedi, who was carrying the bomb in a rucksack.

"This defendant is just as guilty of the murder of the 22 people killed," said Duncan Penny, prosecuting.

Together, the two brothers acquired the chemicals used to make the bomb, the casing and shrapnel, and secured a location where they were assembled, Penny said.

'This defendant is just as guilty of the murder of the 22 people killed'

- Duncan Penny, prosecuting

"The defendant through his conduct encouraged and assisted his brother to carry out this attack. The bomb which was detonated was self-evidently designed to kill and maim as many people as possible,” Penny said.

"It was packed with lethal shrapnel and it was detonated in the middle of a crowd in a very public area - the intention being to kill and inflict maximum damage."

Seven of the victims were children, the youngest aged eight.

Manchester-raised Abedi denies 22 counts of murder. He has also pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted murder, encompassing the 237 people who were injured, and denies conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.

The court heard that the brothers’ parents had returned to Libya in 2016. “In the years leading up to the bombing, the brothers had begun to display some signs of radicalisation - Salman more so than Hashem,” said Penny.

The bomb was made from three readily-available chemicals, combined to form an explosive known as triacetone triperoxide, said Penny.

The brothers purchased the chemicals online, using the internet accounts of others, he said. “Such was the ferocity of the explosion that Salman Abedi was dismembered in the process.”

Now aged 22, Abedi was extradited from Libya after being detained there on 23 May 2017, the day after the bomb attack. His trial is expected to continue for around eight weeks.