- 22 confirmed fatalities in Manchester terror attack, 59 people injured
- The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility
- A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack
- Attacker named as Salman Abedi
ISIS claimed responsibility Tuesday for the apparent suicide-bombing attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Monday evening. The terrorist group released a statement in Arabic on its central news channel, praising the event.
The attacker, named by Sky News as Salman Abedi, died at the scene, though it remains unclear whether he was working alone. Manchester police confirmed Tuesday that a 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack.
The news came just hours after Manchester police confirmed that children are among the 22 people known to have died in the bombing at the 20,000-seat Manchester Arena. Three victims have already been named. They are Georgina Callander, 18, John Atkinson, 26, and Saffie Rose Roussos, 8. Twelve children under the age of 16 are among the injured, according to local hospital staff.
The bomb was detonated at 10:30 p.m local time Monday, just minutes after Grande had finished her performance. Along with those confirmed dead, police say 59 people were injured. This is the single biggest terror attack on British soil since the 7/7 bombings in London more than a decade ago, when 52 people died.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack “an appalling terrorist attack,” while U.S. President Donald Trump – speaking in Israel – called those who carried out the bombing “evil losers.” London Mayor Sadiq Khan also spoke out, saying the Metropolitan Police were “reviewing security arrangements” in the city.
“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said at a briefing Tuesday morning. “Our priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.” Hopkins called the attack the “most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester.”
The bomb was detonated outside the arena itself, as concertgoers made their way to a nearby train station. The ensuing chaos was captured on video, and NBC reports that some of the casualties and injuries may have been caused by the stampede that followed the initial blast.
A second explosion occurred at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, but police said this was a controlled explosion of a suspicious item, which turned out to be abandoned clothing.
Over 400 officers were deployed by the Greater Manchester Police, with 60 ambulances ferrying victims to eight different hospitals in the Manchester area. Thousands of people have turned to social media seeking info on missing friends and relatives using the hashtag #MissingInManchester.
One of those was Charlotte Campbell, whose 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, was at the concert but is now missing. “I last had contact with her at half past eight last night. She was at the concert, she’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time and thanking me for letting her go,” she told the BBC.
May chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee meeting at Downing Street on Tuesday morning, saying, “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.” After the security briefing, May gave a statement outside Downing Street where she insisted that the British way of life will always prevail. The attack comes just weeks before the U.K. holds a general election on June 8, and all parties have suspended campaigning following the tragedy.
Speaking after a meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump said the U.S. stood “in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.” He called those behind the attack “evil losers,” saying he would not refer to them as monsters “because they would like that term.”
He added: “The terrorists and extremists and those who give the comfort must be driven out from our society forever. This wicked ideology must be obliterated and innocent life must be protected.”
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, echoed Trump in calling the attack an “evil act” and recalled being a minister in the Home Office during the 7/7 bombings in 2005:
“I remember how London felt on that day. I remember it vividly. Manchester will pull together; that’s what we are, that’s what we do. They won’t win. This city has dealt with difficult things in the past, and we will do so now.”
Khan called the attack “barbaric and sickening,” adding: “This was a cowardly act of terrorism that targeted a concert attended by thousands of children and young people.”
He added: “Londoners will see more police on our streets today. Manchester and the rest of Britain will never be cowed by terrorism. Those who want to destroy our way of life and divide us will never succeed.” Scotland’s chief constable has also confirmed people there will see more armed police on patrol at “transport hubs and crowded places.”
Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This is horrific, this is criminal. May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next. I urge all those in the region and around the country to pool together to support those affected.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack a “cynical, inhumane crime,” and confirmed that he had spoken to the British prime minister to express his condolences. The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping had sent a message of condolence to the queen, while Canadaian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tragedy a “horrific attack.”
American singer Grande was uninjured in the attack, but she tweeted her sympathies for the victims:
This is a developing news story and will be updated throughout the day.