Bombing At Ariana Grande Concert In Manchester, England Kills 22, Wounds Dozens
At least 22 people have been killed and dozens injured, many of them children, by what appears to have been a suicide bombing outside an arena in Manchester in the United Kingdom during a concert by American singer Ariana Grande:
MANCHESTER, England — The death toll from the attack on a Manchester concert venue rose to 22 people on Tuesday, as the authorities blamed a bomber, who died in the blast, for Britain’s deadliest case of terrorism since 2005.
The police did not identify the bomber and said that they were canvassing leads and poring through surveillance footage to determine if he had any accomplices. Shortly before noon on Tuesday, the police announced that they had arrested a 23-year-old man in the south of Manchester “with regards to last night’s incident,” but did not provide additional details.
The bomb tore through the entrance hall of the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday, as a concert by the American pop star Ariana Grande was ending.
As condolences poured in from around the world, the British authorities reacted with horror and anger at an attack that appeared to have targeted adolescents and their families.
“We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvized explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a televised statement.
“The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert which was attended by many young families and groups of children,” Mrs. May added. “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.”
The terrorist attack was the worst in the history of Manchester and northern England, and the worst in Britain since 2005, when 52 people died, along with four attackers, in coordinated attacks on London’s transit system.
“After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns,” Mayor Andy Burnham told reporters. “These were children, young people, and their families. Those responsible chose to terrorize and kill. This was an evil act.”
President Trump, speaking at a news conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, was among the global leaders to condemn the attack, and he castigated what he called the “evil losers” responsible.
The attack came in the final stretch of campaigning before a general election in Britain on June 8, and the country’s political parties agreed to suspend campaigning on Tuesday. Opposition politicians — Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats and Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party — joined Mrs. May in expressing their grief and condolences.
It was unclear what effect the attack might have on the election. But difficult questions are already being asked about what security gaps might have abetted the assault, and what could have been done to prevent it. Mrs. May led a meeting of the government’s crisis response committee Tuesday morning.
Britain is no stranger to terrorism. It suffered an attack in London in March, and the authorities say they have broken up terrorist cells lately. Britain’s threat level for international terrorism has for some time been at its second-highest level, indicating that an attack had been considered highly likely.
Manchester was the site of an Irish Republican Army bombing in 1996 that devastated the city center but caused no fatalities, and Europe as a whole has become all too familiar with the human toll of terrorism in recent years. But the Manchester attack on Monday caused particular anger and pain: It targeted a concert spilling over with girls in their teens or younger, with their lives ahead of them, out for a fun night.
Flags were at half-staff in Downing Street in London, where the prime minister works and lives, and at Manchester Town Hall.
Two sisters, Elizabeth Hardy, 13, and Amanda Hardy, 15, were singing their favorite Ariana Grande song, “Break Free,” when a huge explosion ripped through the foyer of the Manchester Arena, sending both of them to the ground.
“I didn’t know what to do, I just ran and left my sister,” Amanda Hardy recalled hours later, as she sat huddled on a chair at the nearby Park Inn Hotel, still clutching a pink balloon she had caught during the concert. “It was my birthday, and the last thing I told Liz before the bang was that I had the best night of my life. Then I lost her.”
Their mother, Charlotte, followed the girls from a distance as they tried to get out of the arena. “There was a huge bang, followed by a stampede and then a burning smell,” she said, hugging her youngest daughter. “I tried to stay calm so I could find my daughters.”
“I finally found Amanda lying on the floor,” she said, “her tights were ripped and blood was coming out of her legs. I thought she was dying.”
At that point, she said, everything was a blur, as she tried but failed to reach her husband because her phone was not working.
“There was no one to help,” she said. “I tried to put pressure on my daughter’s leg to stop the bleeding, but she screamed out in pain. Her dad, who is in the hospital with her now, says she has shrapnel wounds.
Ms. Hardy brought her youngest daughter to the hotel so she could get some sleep. “When the police brought her to me she was terrified, shaking and didn’t understand what was going on. I couldn’t take her to the hospital. I thought the bang was special effects and Ari would come back onto the stage.”
Elsewhere at the hotel, Lisa Conway, 49, watched as her 14-year-old daughter swirled her breakfast around her plate while a group of teenage girls lay huddled under several duvets on the hotel floor, silently staring into space, in a state of shock.
When Ms. Conway booked a room at the hotel over a month ago, she had imagined a jovial family breakfast after surprising her daughter with the chance to see Ms. Grande, her favorite artist.
“We came from Glasgow for this show. It was meant to be a dream, not a nightmare,” Ms. Conway said, her lower lip quivering as she tried to contain her tears. “There were children, blood, shoes, phones splattered all over the floor.”
“We got lucky,” she added. “We ran and came straight to the hotel. How can I explain any of this to a 14-year-old? She hasn’t said a word since she woke up from two hours’ sleep.”
Ariana Grande, who was apparently still performing when the explosion took place, took to Twitter early this morning:
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
And the Manchester Police Department released its latest statement on the attack several hours ago:
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 23, 2017
While authorities have apparently taken a man into custody, they are saying on their Twitter account this morning that this arrest isn’t believed to be connected to the attack, although that isn’t entirely clear. Additionally, as reports started coming in last night it appeared that there might have been more than one attacker due to the fact that some concertgoers reported hearing two explosions. At this point, though, that appears to have been an error that is likely explained either by the heat of the moment or by the mass confusion that occurred inside the arena after the explosion, which occurred neared the end of the concert, which took place in a 21,000 seat arena that was sold out for this concert. Not surprisingly, many of the victims appear to be young girls and their parents. The attack itself was apparently carried out by a suicide bomber who exploded what some reports indicate was a bomb whose deadliness was enhanced using nails and other shrapnel-like material intended to cause the maximum injury, and that it was set off near an area that was outside the arena but near the box office area adjacent to a major train station. Police are said to have identified the individual who carried out the attack but they are withholding his name at this point as they continue to investigate the attack.
Whoever it turns out to be, though, it is clear that this was an act of terror for which ISIS has now claimed responsibility according to multiple news reports:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 23, 2017
As noted above, British Prime Minister Teresa May spoke from outside 10 Downing Street this morning:
Speaking in Downing Street on Tuesday morning the Prime Minister said: “I have just chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra where we discussed the details of and the response to the appalling events in Manchester last night.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families and friends of all those affected.
“It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack, an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.
“This was among the worst terrorist terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom and although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way it is the worst attack the city has experienced and the worse ever to hit the north of England.
“The police and security services are working at speed to establish the complete picture but I want to tell you what I can at this stage.
“At 10.33pm last night the police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester arena in Manchester city centre near Victoria train station.
“We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately.
“The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert which was attended by many young families and groups of children.
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
“As things stand I can tell you that in addition to the attacker 22 people have died and 59 people have been injured.
“Those who were injured are being treated in eight different hospitals across Greater Manchester, many are being treated for life threatening conditions and we know that among those killed and injured were many children and young people.
May also stated that campaigning for the June 8th General Election has been suspended for the time being as the nation mourns and the investigation into the incident unfolds. It is unclear from May’s statement when campaigning may resume, but the heads of all of Great Britain’s major parties have apparently issued similar statements. Notwithstanding that, this attack is obviously going to have some impact on the direction of the campaign. This could be especially true depending on the identity of the bomber and the question of whether he was a citizen of the United Kingdom, someone who had come into the country from elsewhere in Europe, or a refuge from Syria or some other location that has been a breeding ground for ISIS attackers. That, however, is a question for the future.
“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.
“I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.
“I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care.
“And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.”
President Trump also spoke about the attacks from Bethlehem in the West Bank, where he is meeting today with Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority as part of his two-day visit to Israel:
President Trump on Tuesday condemned the concert bombing in Manchester, England, as a “very horrible morning of death,” and called on nations around the world to join together to act against those who commit acts of terror.
“The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever,” Mr. Trump said after a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. “This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated,” Mr. Trump added.
Mr. Trump said that he would not call people like the assailant “monsters” because they would “think that’s a great name.” Instead, he said that people who conducted attacks like the one at the concert were “evil losers.”
“I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re losers. And we’ll have more of them. But they’re losers. Just remember that.”
Speaking in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, while on his first foreign trip as president, Mr. Trump pledged “absolute solidarity” with Britain and said the bombing underscored the message that he had delivered over the past several days about the need to confront the threat of terrorism.
“This is what I’ve spent these last few days talking about in our trip overseas,” Mr. Trump said. “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people, and in today’s attack it was mostly innocent children.”
Mr. Trump will head to Europe for the second half of his trip, and he had been planning to focus on a meeting with the pope and on issues including trade, Afghanistan, the Syrian civil war and the future of NATO.
Now, his interactions with European leaders are almost certain to be dominated by an urgent discussion about the Manchester attack and the world’s response to extremism.
British officials have said they are treating the Manchester bombing as a terrorist attack, carried out by a man who used “an improvised explosive device” and who was killed in the blast. But they have not identified the bomber or said if an extremist group had claimed responsibility.
While visiting Saudi Arabia over the weekend, Mr. Trump urged the leaders of more than 50 Arab and predominantly Muslim nations to take responsibility for purging their lands of “Islamic extremism” and of those who would kill in the name of religion.
“Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship,” Mr. Trump said in a speech at a summit meeting in Riyadh. “Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land. And drive them out of this earth.”
There really isn’t anything more to say about the attack at this point, of course. As with any such attack, the level of carnage and death is appalling and we’re likely to hear many heartbreaking stories of children who have lost a parent who was either attending the concert with them or waiting for them outside the arena, and of children who were killed or injured after what was supposed to be a fun night watching a favorite pop singer. The act itself is barbarous, horrific, and monstrous and if there are any other individuals responsible for the attack or who may have assisted in carrying it out they need to be brought to justice as quickly as possible. These attack are all horrible, of course, but that brutality seems even more enhanced in a case such as this since the perpetrator appears to have picked a venue that would result in the deaths of children, something that always makes such attacks seem worse, Additionally, there remain many questions yet to be answered, such as the identity of the attacker, and the question of how he or she obtained and assembled the explosive device that was used in the attack. It’s also unclear if there may have been others involved in the attack who may have also intended to engage in a suicide attack but were prevented from carrying it out for some reasons. All of these questions will likely be answered in due time. In the meantime, authorities in Manchester are now left with the grim task of accounting for the dead, injured, and unaccounted for, and families will be grieving.
In any event, there will no doubt be more updates on this story as the day and the week unfolds. Until then, we can only send our condolences to the people of the United Kingdom.
Update: NBC News is reporting that the attacker has been identified.
BREAKING: Suspected Manchester bomber identified as 22-year-old Salmon Ramadan Abedi, according to official, @PeteWilliamsNBC reports
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 23, 2017
It is unclear if Ramadan is a British national, an immigrant or a refugee. Also unclear at this time is whether he had received direct training from ISIS, had visited Iraq or Syria recently, or was a “lone wolf” who assembled the explosive device on his own or with the assistance of others.
he suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.
Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.
His parents were both born in Libya but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least ten years.
They had three sons in total and a daughter, who is now 18-years-old.
Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area, just yards from the local girl’s high school, which hit the headlines in 2015 when twins and grade A pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, who were both aspiring medical students, left their homes and moved to Isil controlled Syria.
There were unconfirmed reports in Manchester that the whole family apart from the two elder sons recently returned to Libya.
Abedi was named by Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins on Tuesday.
It has not been revealed whether Abedi had been on any terror watch lists, or whether he had traveled outside the country, specifically to any areas where he could have received terrorist training or indoctrination of some kind. .0…………….00000