A new report by British security service MI5 found that U.K. police had misinterpreted intelligence about suicide bomber Salman Abedi that could have prevented the attack on May 22nd, CNN reports. Abedi, a 22-year-old terrorist, detonated a suicide device outside an Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena concert, killing 22 people.
“On two separate occasions in the months prior to the attack, intelligence was received by MI5 whose significance was not fully appreciated at the time,” the report said. Abedi was a “subject of interest” to British police months prior to the attack.
The report did not specify what the intelligence was, but included details about Abedi’s past that were overlooked and misinterpreted including: theft, receiving stolen goods, assault and indirect communication with a member of the Islamic State. “It was assessed at the time to relate not to terrorism but to possible non-nefarious activity or to criminality,” the report said. “In retrospect, the intelligence can be seen to have been highly relevant to the planned attack.”
“It is unknowable whether such an investigation would have allowed Abedi’s plans to be pre-empted and thwarted: MI5 assesses that it would not,” the report stated. “It is conceivable that the Manchester attack in particular might have been averted had the cards fallen differently.”
In its recommendations for improving anti-terror measures, the report suggested U.K. police work closely with tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon to monitor suspicious browsing and purchases.