The older brother of Hashem and Salman Abedi, who were responsible for the Manchester Arena attack, has apologised to the victims’ families for the pain they caused.
Speaking out for the first time since the tragedy three years ago, which killed 22 people and injured dozens more, Ismail Abedi told Sky News he had “no idea his brothers had taken this path”.
“I want to apologise on behalf of my family to the victims, for all the pain Hashem and Salman caused,” he said.
Responding to his brother Hashem’s life sentence this week, Mr 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.”
On Thursday, Hashem, 23, was ordered to serve a minimum of 55 years in prison after being found guilty of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
He helped source, stockpile and transport components for the bomb his brother used to blow himself up at the Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017, his trial was told.
Hashem, who sacked his legal team, refused to appear in court for much for the trial, leading to accusations of “contempt” for the families of his victims.
His brother Ismail was born in London but, like his siblings, grew up in Manchester.
He left the family home to live alone in 2013. Since then he has got married and had a child, but said he would still be in contact with his brothers.
“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.”
In the hours after the attack, 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. I’ve lost two brothers and my family is ripped apart because of it,” he added.
“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.”