NEW: Death toll from attack rises to 22, police confirm children among the dead
Attacker, believed to have been carrying an improvised bomb, also died at the scene
Monday’s attack outside an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena killed at least 22 people, including children, and was carried out by a lone suspect carrying a bomb, Manchester Police said.
“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity,” said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.
While police believe the suspect was acting alone, investigations are ongoing to establish if he was part of a network.
As many as 400 police were deployed overnight, Hopkins said early Tuesday. He added that residents should expect to see more armed officers on the streets.
If confirmed as a terror incident, it would be the deadliest attack on British soil since the 2005 London bombings, which killed 52 people.
- Almost 60 people were also injured in the attack
- UK Prime Minister Theresa May: incident an “appalling terrorist attack”
- Government to hold emergency Cobra committee Tuesday
- Ariana Grande tweets that the incident left her “broken”
- Mancunians open their doors, offer rides, to those left stranded by area lockdown
- Emergency phone line set up: +44 (0)161 856 9400
How it happened
As concertgoers – many of them young fans of the singer – were beginning to leave the arena after Grande’s closing set, an explosion rocked the area. Confusion followed as people fled in search of safety, and the sound of wailing sirens soon cut through the smoky air outside the arena.
UK attack: More coverage
The incident happened shortly after Grande had left the stage, according to eyewitnesses. Coral Long, the mother of a 10-year-old concertgoer, told CNN’s Hala Gorani that they were getting ready to leave the arena when they heard a loud bang from the left side of the arena.
People started running following the explosion, she said. “How we weren’t crushed to death is a miracle.”
She said her daughter was “devastated – for her to be 10 years old and witness something like that is just horrific.”
Social media posts from the scene showed panicked concertgoers running down the arena’s stairs in an attempt to get away.
The city’s Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital was blocked off to all but essential staff due to what the facility called a major incident.
Grande, who had just finished the first of three scheduled UK performances when the blast hit, was not injured. She tweeted several hours later: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”
After the initial incident, police carried out a precautionary controlled explosion nearby but the item turned out to be discarded clothing, not a “suspicious item,” Greater Manchester Police said.
A US official said suicide bombing is now considered to be the “likely” reason for the blast and a male at the scene in Manchester has been identified as the probable bomber.
A US Department of Homeland Security statement said it was “closely monitoring” the situation and added that the department has “no information to indicate a ‘specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “This particular attack was aimed at the most vulnerable in our society, young people, children at a concert.” She added that Britons should “remain alert, not alarmed” in the wake of the apparent attack.
The crowd was made up of mainly younger people who had come to see Grande, who is on a European and Latin American tour.