Day has broken over the stunned English city of Manchester after a suicide bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead, including children, and saw about 59 taken to hospital. Many more injured were treated at the scene.
Greater Manchester Police said they received reports of explosions during the concert at the Manchester Arena just before 10:35 p.m. local time on Monday night. Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told media that a lone individual carried out the attack with an IED, and that the attacker died at the scene. He said that police were “working closely” with the U.K.’s national counter-terrorism network.
One of the victims has been named as 18-year-old health and social care student Georgina Callander. Her school released a statement saying: “It is with enormous sadness that it appears that one of the people who lost their lives in Monday’s Manchester attack was one of our students here at Runshaw College.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement, saying “We are working to establish the full details … All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.” She later added that the police think they know the identity of the perpetrator, but are not at this point revealing his name. “They now need to know whether he was acting alone or as part of a wider group,” she said, during a speech on Downing Street.
A 23-year-old man in South Manchester has been arrested in connection with the attack, Greater Manchester Police confirmed in a tweet. There have also been reports of an evacuation at Manchester’s Arndale Centre, although it is not thought that the two incidents are connected.
Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the blast.
Reuters reports that campaigning for the U.K. general election in June has been suspended in the wake of the attack and says that May will be leading a meeting of the British government’s emergency COBRA committee Tuesday morning local time, to coordinate a response to the incident. The committee is convened during terrorist attacks.
Facebook has activated its safety check for the attack. Police have given this U.K. number for those with fears for loved ones: 0161 856 9400.
The concert had just ended when witnesses heard two “huge bangs,” according to the Manchester Evening News. Witnesses told CNN that the explosions took place in a box office area outside the main performance venue.
Videos posted on social media depicted a chaotic scene as concert-goers fled the arena, screaming. Around 60 ambulances were dispatched to the scene, according to local hospital authorities.
Just after 1:30 a.m. local time, police carried out a controlled explosion in the Cathedral Gardens area.
Police blocked off roads around Manchester Arena, as helicopters circled the area, according to reporters from BuzzFeed and The Guardian who were at the scene. British Transport Police said all trains from Manchester Victoria station had stopped running, but buses were laid on to transport the many concert-goers out of the area.
Karen Ford told BBC News that she had been at the concert with her daughter. “Ariana Grande had left, the lights had come up, everyone was just getting out of their seats and walking toward the stairs when all of a sudden this huge sound, which sounded like an explosion, went off,” Ford said.
“A lot of children were there without parents. There was no one to calm them down, so everyone was screaming, crying, pushing,” she added.
On Tuesday morning, the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said that the city was “hurt but we are strong” and vowed that Manchester would stand together “in it’s own unique way.”
Police have asked anyone with information about the incident to call the U.K.’s anti-terrorism hotline, 0800 789 321.
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