‘We lost our sons to the SAME monster’: Mothers of man killed in Manchester terror attack and man who died fighting for ISIS forge unlikely bond

  • Figan Murray’s son Martyn Hett died during the attack on the Manchester Arena
  • Nicola Benyahia’s son was killed by shrapnel while he fought for ISIS in Iraq
  • ‘They can murder our sons. They can never kill our spirit,’ said defiant Ms Murray

The mothers of a man killed in the Manchester bombing and another who died fighting for ISIS in Iraq have forged the unlikeliest of bonds.

Figan Murray’s son Martyn Hett died during the terrorist attack of the Manchester Arena last year while Nicola Benyahia’s son was killed fighting for ISIS in 2015.

In the wake of both deaths the pair bonded over their shared trauma, they revealed today in an interview on the Victoria Derbyshire Show.

Figan Murray and Nicola Benyahia appeared together to discuss how they became friends in the wake of their respective tragedies

Figan said that both their boys had been taken by the ‘same organisation’, the ‘same monster’

Creating an unexpected friendship, they spoke of how both their sons had been ‘lost to the same monster’.

‘They can kill our sons. They can murder our sons. They can never kill our spirit,’ said a defiant Ms Murray.

‘We lost our sons to the same monster. It doesn’t matter in which way. It’s the same organisation. The same ideals that both our sons died from.’

Murray, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, has been a fierce advocate for peace in the wake of the attack that that killed 22 adults and children outside an Ariana Grande concert.

Her son, PR manager Martyn Hett 29, who was hailed as ‘inspirational’, died after a bomb exploded at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22.

Adding that both her son and Ms Benyahia’s had been ‘groomed’, she said: ‘I can’t be cross with the guy who killed Martyn or be upset with your son.


Martyn Hett (pictured left) was killed in the terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena while Rasheed Benyahia (pictured right) died while fighting for ISIS in Iraq

Martyn Hett’s family described him as ‘the icon of all our lives’, who ‘just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time’

‘They are children, young men, who have been groomed into ideals that are not really savoury.’

Conversation turned to how the pair first overcame their apparently conflicting experiences.

‘I think we pushed aside the difference and it was what was uniting us. We were two grieving mothers,’ said Ms Benyahia.

‘That was what we were talking about. Our experience. Although there are parts of it that are very different, there are a huge amount of similarities between us.’

Rasheed Benyahia, 19, was killed while fighting for ISIS in Iraq after vanishing from his mother’s house in 2015

Hett, from Stockport, was due to fly to America for a two-month holiday the day after the concert. Family revealed he had spent the last few days saying goodbye to friends

Terrorist Salman Abedi killed 22 adults and children outside an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena (pictured)

Rasheed Benyahia, 19, an engineering apprentice from Birmingham, arrived in Syria in May 2015 and was killed by shrapnel from a missile in Iraq in November last year.

Speaking on ITV later that year, his mother said: ‘At the time I did confront it. But at the time radicalisation was not something that was really in the limelight, people were beginning to talk about it but not as much as it is today.’

Her computer enthusiast son, who loved free running and playing football in his spare time, had done his GCSEs and A-Levels before starting work at an engineering firm.

In early 2015 he suddenly bought his mother a blue diamond necklace and months later he had vanished.

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