It was a terrific evening at the Manchester Arena, with many people present to watch American singer, Ariana Grande perform at her concert on Monday night, May 22, 2017. Thousands of concert goers were packed into the venue when suddenly, an explosion shook the arena.
A suicide bomber was said to have detonated the bomb that exploded at the Manchester arena leaving 22 people – including children – dead and about 60 others injured. The police and other security services believe they now know the identity of the suicide bomber.
According to the Police, they received reports of the explosion at 10.33pm, shortly after Grande had finished her performance as thousands of people streamed out of the Arena. More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with 60 ambulances flooding the area and more than 400 police officers deployed as part of the operation.
The Manchester Arena attack is the worst terror attack to hit Britain since the July 2005 suicide bomb attacks in central London in which 52 people were killed. It also marks four years to the day Lee Rigby was murdered by Islamist extremists.
Relatives of at least 13 people missing – including an eight-year-old girl – have launched frantic searches for their loved ones. More so, twelve children under the age of 16 were among about 60 casualties taken to the hospital after the attack, according to David Ratcliffe, the medical director of North West ambulance service.
Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the Manchester arena attack, according to an unverified report by Reuters whereas the Greater Manchester police said the perpetrator, who died at the scene after detonating an improvised explosive device, was a man acting alone.
BBC Tom Symonds also tweeted:
“IS has claimed responsibility for the Manchester Arena blast. The claim was made via IS channels on the messaging app Telegram.”
IS has claimed responsibility for the Manchester Arena blast. The claim was made via IS channels on the messaging app Telegram.
— Tom Symonds (@BBCTomSymonds) May 23, 2017
UK prime minister, Theresa May called the attack “sickening” when she spoke outside 10 Downing Street after chairing an emergency Cobra meeting. She said:
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
Mrs. May is scheduled to visit Manchester later on Tuesday. The Queen has also expressed her “deepest sympathy” to all those affected. She added that “the whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury”.
Pope Francis saddened by ‘barbaric’ Manchester arena attack
Pope Francis was deeply saddened by the “barbaric” attack in Manchester, the Vatican said in a message of condolence. A telegram sent in his name reads:
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester arena and he expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.”
“He commends the generous efforts of the emergency and security personnel and offers the assurance of his prayers for the injured, and for all who have died.”
“Mindful of a particular way of those children and young people who have lost their lives, and of their grieving families, Pope Francis invokes God’s blessings of peace, healing, and strength upon the nation.”
American President, Donald Trump who is away on a visit to Israel tweeted after he received the news of the deadly explosion.
We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom. pic.twitter.com/X6fUUxxYXE
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2017
So far, Manchester police have confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old in connection with last night’s attack. Officers in riot gear with guns have also raided a flat on the Whalley Range/Chorlton border. Investigators are trying to establish whether the bomber was part of a wider network.
Some of the first victims have been named. Runshaw College, where 18-year-old Georgina Callander was a student, 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.”
It was also confirmed that eight-year-old Saffie Roussos was killed in that attack.
About the Manchester Arena suicide bomber, Salman Abedi
An investigation revealed that the suicide bombing could have been stopped by the MI5. According to the latest report, the UK security agency missed two clues that 22-year-old Salman Abedi was planning the attack when a “data-washing exercise” identified the attacker as meriting further investigation. It was also reported that Abedi should have been stopped upon his return from Libya shortly before the arena attack, however, the MI5 missed the opportunity to set ports alert so he could be thoroughly questioned and searched.
Furthermore, NBC News reported that a US intelligence official had said members of the bomber’s family warned security officials about Abedi in the past, saying that he was “dangerous”.
Salma Abedi was born and raised in Manchester in 1994 by Libyan parents who were refugees in the UK. As one described as a normal and friendly young man, his father said “we don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us.” Then Abedi’s sister, Jomana suggested he may have carried out the attack out of revenge after seeing how children are dying due to war in Syria.
After Salma Abedi blew himself and 22 others in the attack, authorities were able to identify him as the bomber by a bank card in his pocket, according to a US media report.