Manchester Arena bomber's friend found guilty of being Islamic State sniper

7 December 2017, 14:12

A close friend of the Manchester bomber has been found guilty of being an Islamic State sniper after he was identified in official IS documents obtained by Sky News.

Mohammed Abdallah, 26, from Manchester, travelled to Syria with three friends in July 2014.

His wheelchair-bound brother Abdalraouf, 24, stayed in the UK and directed them from the family home in Moss Side, south Manchester.

Abdallah spent two years fighting for the terror group in the Middle East before returning to the UK in September 2016 and being arrested at Heathrow Airport.

The Old Bailey heard that Abdallah was known to the authorities after Sky News obtained thousands of documents containing names, addresses and contact details of registered IS fighters.

Abdallah's form was one of thousands of files passed on to counter-terrorism officers at Scotland Yard, and was the primary evidence used to convict him. It was the first prosecution of its kind.

Speaking after the conviction, head of North West Counter Terrorism Dominic Scally said: "The file itself and being able to attribute that to Mohammed Abdallah was a really important piece of evidence for us."

The trial heard that the Abdallah brothers learned their fighting skills when they fought for anti-Gaddafi forces in the 2011 Libyan uprising.

The younger of the Abdallahs - Abdalraouf - was shot and paralysed fighting in the conflict.

The battle-hardened brothers hatched a plan with their friends upon their return to Manchester to join IS.

Abdallah travelled from Manchester to the Middle East in the summer of 2014 with three other men from south Manchester - Nezar Khalifa, 27, Raymond Matimba, 28, and Stephen Gray, 34, who previously served with the RAF in Iraq.

Gray, who was stopped and arrested at a Turkish border in 2014, and Abdalraouf Abdallah, both from Moss Side, were jailed in 2016 after being convicted of terror offences.

During Mohammed Abdallah's three-week trial, jurors were shown an IS registration form containing his name, nickname, date of birth and nationality and previous experience which all matched.

The file showed that he was listed as a "fighter" and specialised as a "sniper".

The supermarket worker-turned-jihadist was found guilty of being member of a proscribed organisation, receiving £2,000 for terrorism and possessing a firearm.