Manchester Arena suicide blast 'timed to maximise casualties, area may have been analysed in advance' - security expert
Lone male attacker detonated explosive device, killing at least 22 people including children
The attack at Manchester Arena which killed at least 22 people, including children, was timed to "maximise casualties" and may have been observed in advance, according to a security analyst.
Lee Doddridge, a former member of the UK’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and now a security analyst, said he believes the attack was made at the entrance to the arena at the time people were leaving in order to maximum casualties.
Interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said this so-called ‘soft target’ attack was made worse by the fact that it targeted very young children at a pop concert.
“If you want to target people then somewhere near a merchandising stand as people are leaving will achieve that,” he said.
He said there are four entrances and exits to the venue but people can be "more dispersed" as they arrive to a concert.
However, at the end people are in concentrated numbers when leaving and often stop at merchandising stands which can then mean a lot of people in one concentrated area, he said.
“There was probably reconnaissance done in the past and it wouldn’t surprise me if there are recordings of that,” he added.
“Investigators will be looking at the type of device used, forensic evidence, who the bomber was, and what was their network.
“Unfortunately it is easy to obtain the information on how to put a device together on the internet. It is feasible that this is a lone wolf but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were part of a network.
Mr Doddridge speculated that the improvised explosives used explosives were HMTD (Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine) based - a deadly mix of household and commercial chemicals including hydrogen peroxide, more commonly known as bleach.
The death toll currently stands at 22 people. There are nine people in critical condition, eight adults and one child. Three of those are in surgery this morning.
More to follow