Explosions rocked an Ariana Grande concert in England late Monday night, causing a “number of confirmed fatalities and others injured,” according to Manchester police. At least 22 people have died, including children, while at least 59 people have been injured. Police believe that the attack may have been committed by a suicide bomber using a backpack bomb.
Prime Minister Theresa May said police believed they knew the identity of the bomber and police then said a 23-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the attack carried out late on Monday evening as people began leaving the concert. Grande had just finished her last song when the explosions happened.
A source told Reuters that said the bomber’s explosives were packed with metal and bolts. At least 19 of those wounded were in critical condition, the source said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but U.S. officials drew parallels to the coordinated attacks in November 2015 by Islamist militants on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites in Paris that killed 130 people.
Islamic State supporters took to social media to celebrate the blast and some encouraged similar attacks elsewhere. Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe”, meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely
British counter-terrorism police have said they are making on average an arrest every day in connection with suspected terrorism.
Concertgoer Sasina Akhtar told the Manchester Evening News that “there was an explosion behind us at the back of the arena. We saw young girls with blood on them, everyone was screaming and people were running. There was lots of smoke.”
The bombing at the Ariana Grande concert was the deadliest in England since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s train system in 2005.