Monday 25 September 2017

'Lone male attacker' was carrying improvised explosive device - police confirm

Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
An armoured police Land Rover drives away from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

Andrew Buncombe

A lone male attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated at the Ariana Grande concert, killing at least 22 people, including himself.

There are children among the fatalities in the Manchester attack, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins confirmed in a press conference on Tuesday morning.

He also confirmed that 59 people were injured in the attack.

Earlier, US officials said they believed a suicide bomber may have been behind the attack.

An injured woman is helped out of the Manchester Arena after last night’s blast at a gig by Ariana Grande, which left 19 dead
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena. Photo: Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena after the explosion.
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester
A tweet from U.S. singer Ariana Grande is seen as she makes her first comment since a bombing at her concert in Manchester
Armed police man roadblocks outside the arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig. Photo: PA
A police officer escorts people near the Manchester Arena
Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast
Police corden off an area close to the Box Office entrance to the Manchester Arena. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
Emergency services at the scene. Photo: PA
A police officer talks to locals outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Armed police officers stand outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
An armoured police Land Rover drives away from the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena. Photo: Reuters
Still image taken from video shows a street scene near Manchester Arena after the blast
Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena

Police carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect device several hours after the blast but subsequently revealed it had been a harmless bag.

British Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to the victims and families of those involved in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack”.

If confirmed as a terrorism incident, it would be the deadliest attack in Britain by militants since four young British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London's transport system in July 2005.

Police said they responded to reports of an explosion shortly after 10.35pm at the arena, which has a capacity for 21,000 people, and where the US singer had been performing to an audience that included many children.

A witness who attended the concert said she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush by thousands of people trying to escape the building. A video posted on Twitter showed fans, many of them young, running from the venue.

“We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming,” concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters.

“It was a huge explosion - you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.”

This footage shows the chaos that ensued as the thousands of people in the crowd ran to safety.

Witness Louise Murphy said: "We heard a loud bang to the left of us, and there was silence and then screaming and complete panic.

"Screaming, shouting, just panic."

A spokesman for Ariana Grande, 23, said the singer was “okay”.

Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, opened in 1995 and is a popular concert and sporting venue.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe” meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Independent News Service

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