[Note: The article was updated with the latest information at 7:00 PM (IST)]
The city of Manchester, UK was hit by an explosion on Monday night, 22 May. Police are treating it as a terrorist incident. The attack claimed the lives of 19 people and injured 59 others. It seems to have targeted a concert by pop singer Ariana Grande.
Emergency services responding to serious incident at Manchester Arena. Avoid the area. More details will follow as soon as available
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 22, 2017
The arena has a capacity of 21,000 and many of the concert-goers were children. The attack was reportedly aimed at the young concertgoers, who were only beginning to leave the concert area when the explosion rocked the area. Confusion ensued as people fled in search of safety and the sound of wailing sirens soon cut through the smoky air outside the arena.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 23, 2017
A concert-goer was reported as saying “Quite a loud explosion heard from inside the Manchester arena and it shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out … As we got outside, lots of police came racing towards the area and the whole of the Victoria train station was surrounded by police … [People were] screaming and crying everywhere shouting that there’s a bomb and also people were saying there’s a shooter … [Police were] blocking off roads in the area. There are sirens zooming everywhere.”
A bomb disposal unit has just arrived outside the Manchester Arena. Can also hear sniffer dogs being brought out of the vans pic.twitter.com/SgTPZxMLyg
— Chris Slater (@chrisslaterMEN) May 22, 2017
Law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies have since suggested that the attack was a suicide bombing. Even American officials from Homeland Security have told reporters a suicide-bomber is suspected. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the most deadly attack in a decade. As per The Time, a statement made via ISIS channels on the messaging app Telegram said that “One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said, “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.” Meanwhile, major politicians including May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have announced that they will suspend their campaigns temporarily (the UK general election is on 8 June).
Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 22, 2017
The 2017 Manchester bombing is the most lethal attack on British soil since the London bombings of July 2005. World leaders were quick in condemning the attack and expressing solidarity with the British people.
Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 23, 2017