The suicide bomber of a pop concert in Manchester was rescued by the Royal Navy from the civil war in Libya three years before he killed 22 people in the British city, the Press Association reported.
Salman Abedi was 19 when he boarded the HMS Enterprise in Tripoli in August 2014 with his younger brother Hashem and more than 100 other British citizens.
The vessel took them to Malta where they caught a flight back to the UK, the news agency said.
A government spokesman said: “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.”
Abedi was being monitored by security services when he traveled to Libya, but his case was closed a month before his rescue.
Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994, to parents who had been granted asylum after fleeing the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
In May last year, he killed 22 people, including seven children, at an Ariana Grande concert with a homemade suicide vest.
His brother is in jail in Libya. British government requests for his extradition to face trial have been refused.
"For this man to have committed such an atrocity on UK soil after we rescued him from Libya was an act of utter betrayal," a government source told Britain's Daily Mail about the bomber.