What happened in Manchester? What we know so far about the attack

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “What happened in Manchester? What we know so far about the attack” was written by Kevin Rawlinson and Alice Ross, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 23.22 UTC

A terrorist attack hit a concert in Manchester on Monday evening. Here is what we know so far:

What has happened?

  • Police have confirmed that at least 22 people were killed in the explosion at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. Some of them were children.
  • Theresa May, the prime minister, declared that the threat level has been raised from “severe” to “critical”, meaning authorities believe a further attack is imminent.
  • Police named the suspect as Salman Ramadan Abedi, 22, who they said was born in Britain and was from a Libyan background. He has not been formally identified by the coroner.
  • Officers said 59 people were hospitalised and 60 treated by paramedics at the scene following the explosion, which hit the venue shortly after the concert finished. Twelve of those taken to hospital were aged under 16, North West ambulance service said.
  • May confirmed the incident was a terrorist attack as she addressed the media outside Downing Street.
  • It is the deadliest terror attack to hit the UK since the 7/7 London bombings in July 2005.

Who were the victims?

Saffie Rousos and Georgina Callander
Saffie Rousos and Georgina Callander Composite: PA/Instagram
  • Around 21,000 people are reported to have been at the concert at the time of the explosion.
  • Three victims have been named: 18-year-old Georgina Callander, eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos and John Atkinson, 26.

Who was responsible?

  • Police say their priority is to establish whether the killer, named as Salman Abedi, 22, was acting alone or part of a network. The Guardian earlier established that the explosion was being investigated as a suspected suicide bombing.
  • In messages posted online, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • The police say they believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated.
  • Multiple witnesses said they heard an explosion, with one telling the Guardian the blast shook the building, before “everyone screamed and tried to get out”.
  • A 23-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday morning in south Manchester, the police said. The Arndale shopping centre was evacuated and a man was arrested there but this was unconnected to the attacks, the police said.
  • Armed police carried out a controlled explosion at a house in Fallowfield and raided a block of flats in Whalley Range, both in south Manchester, on Tuesday morning as part of the investigation into the attacks.
Map of the Manchester attack

Where did it happen?

  • Manchester Arena said the incident took place “outside the venue in a public space”.
  • The blast was reported to have hit the foyer of the building at about 10.30pm, British Transport police said.
  • Victims have been taken to eight hospitals across the Manchester area.
  • Large parts of the city around the arena have been sealed off. Victoria station has been closed and is expected to be closed throughout Tuesday.
  • Police have asked the public to avoid Manchester city centre on Tuesday as they continued to work in the area. Some roads in the city centre have been closed for much of the day and public transport has faced disruption.
  • Police carried out a controlled explosion in the Cathedral Gardens area but the item destroyed was not suspicious.

Where it happened

How did Theresa May react?

  • Theresa May has said her thoughts were with the victims and families of those affected in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack”. In a televised appearance outside 10 Downing Street, she attacked the “appalling, sickening cowardice” of the bombing.
Theresa May decries ‘warped and twisted mind’ of Manchester attacker

Other reactions

  • The home secretary, Amber Rudd, described the bombing as a “barbaric attack” that targeted “young people, children out at a pop concert”.
  • May chaired a meeting of the Cobra government emergency committee at 9am and will attend another later on Tuesday. She travelled to Manchester to meet the chief constable, mayor and emergency services, she said, and visited Manchester children’s hospital.
  • Manchester’s new mayor, Andy Burnham, who attended the Cobra meeting via video-link, said there would be a vigil in Albert Square at 6pm on Tuesday evening.
  • The Queen issued a statement condemning the “act of barbarity”, offering her sympathies to those affected and thanking the emergency services. “The whole nation has been shocked” by the attacks, she said.
  • The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, have expressed their sympathies for the victims.
  • General election campaigning has been suspended.
  • The US president, Donald Trump, gave a statement from his trip to Israel in which he called the attackers “evil losers”. Trump spoke to the prime minister to offer US assistance in the investigation into the attack and assuring her that “Americans stand with the people of the United Kingdom”, according to a read-out of the call.
  • The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, condemned “barbaric acts of terrorism”.

Police reaction

  • The Metropolitan police said it asked for soldiers to be sent on to the streets in order to free up armed officers currently deployed on guard duties.
  • The force’s commissioner, Cressida Dick, said additional police would be on duty in London throughout the weekend.
  • Police urged those who are concerned about loved ones who were in the area to call the National Casualty Bureau on 0800 096 0095 (+448000960095).
  • Police have issued an urgent appeal for anyone who was in the city centre between 8pm and 11pm on Monday night and has dashcam footage to submit it to the National Police Chiefs’ Council image appeal site.

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