According to unnamed government sources cited by the Daily Mail, Abedi and his younger brother Hashem boarded the HMS Enterprise in Tripoli in August 2014, which initially took the brothers to Malta where they were boarded on a flight bound for the UK.
It is unclear whether the UK government paid for the flights.
“During the deteriorating security situation in Libya in 2014, Border Force officials were deployed to assist with the evacuation of British nationals and their dependants,” a government spokesperson said.
British security services had been monitoring Abedi when he initially travelled to Libya, though they stopped doing so a month before he was rescued. A review into the attack concluded that the intelligence services’ decision to stop monitoring Abedi was correct, based on the information available at the time.
In May 2017, Abedi killed 22 people – seven of whom were children – when he detonated a homemade bomb that was strapped to his body.
A government source told the Daily Mail: “For this man to commit such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal.”
Hashem Abedi is reportedly being held in Libya’s Mitiga airport by the militia group ‘Special Deterrence Force,’ also known as Rada. The British government has requested his extradition to face trial for his involvement in the Manchester attack. The request has so far been refused.