Libyan authorities said Thursday they are processing a request from Britain to extradite the brother of the bomber who killed 22 people in Manchester in May, Reuters reported.
A government spokesman stressed, however, that no decision has been made yet.
Meanwhile, the armed group holding the brother said that if the attorney general’s office agreed to the request, the force would be “ready for the next step”.
Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton born to Libyan parents, blew himself up at the end of a show by U.S. singer Ariana Grande. More than 500 people were injured, in addition to the 22 who were killed.
On Wednesday, British police said they had issued an arrest warrant for his brother, Hashem Abedi, for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion, and prosecutors had asked Libya to extradite him.
“An official request has been received through the Libyan ministry of foreign affairs and the Libyan authorities are cooperating to process (the request) in accordance with Libyan legal procedures,” said Hassan al-Houni, a spokesman for the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, according to Reuters.
“No decision has been taken yet,” he added.
Days after the attack, the Special Deterrence Force (Rada), a counter-terrorism and anti-crime group aligned with the government, arrested Hashem Abedi and the brothers’ father Ramadan. The father was released in August.
Various armed factions in Tripoli have aligned themselves with the government, some with semi-official status for law enforcement. However, the government, which struggles to impose its authority, has limited power over them.
Rada initially said it would not extradite Hashem, but then said it was ready to cooperate.
“If there is agreement between the attorney general and the British authorities, we are ready for the next step,” spokesman Ahmad Ben Salim said, according to Reuters.
The two brothers had both flown from Britain to Libya in April and Hashem said he had helped buy the equipment necessary for the attack although he had not known that Salman was planning a bombing, Rada said shortly after Hashem's arrest.
The Abedi family had emigrated to Britain during the rule of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, moving from London to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they lived for more than a decade. The brothers’ parents returned to Libya during the country’s 2011 revolution.