Manchester Concert Bombing: What We Know Tuesday

May 22, 2017
A woman speaks with police officers after bringing flowers close to the area where a bombing struck outside the Manchester Arena Monday night.

A woman speaks with police officers after bringing flowers close to the area where a bombing struck outside the Manchester Arena Monday night.

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

A bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, has killed 22 people and injured 59 more, police say. Monday night's concert had drawn thousands of children and young people — many of whom were trying to leave when the blast hit. Authorities say it was a terrorist attack, carried out by a man who died at Manchester Arena.

Into Tuesday morning, parents were still trying to determine the status of their loved ones who were at the show. From Manchester, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports, "There's still a lot of chaos here, because some of the concert-goers haven't been found."

Police have learned the name of the man they believe detonated the explosive, but they're not yet releasing it. They say they're working on whether he had help or support in carrying out the attack.

At least one arrest has been made: Around noon local time Tuesday, the Greater Manchester Police said, "With regards to last night's incident at the Manchester arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester."

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, via a statement issued Tuesday that also promises more bloodshed, according to the SITE extremist monitor. It's not yet known what kind of ties the bomber may have had with the group.

Here's a roundup of the latest information and the facts that have been gathered so far:

The Attack

A terrorist bomber struck in the center of Manchester, police say, in the area between the exits of Manchester Arena and the Victoria transit station.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

The explosion struck the area between Manchester Arena and the adjacent Victoria Train Station; police say the first report came in at 10:33 p.m. — a time that seems to have been chosen because it meant crowds of concert-goers were starting to head home from the arena, which seats around 21,000.

After the large blast struck, chaos took over at the arena (see last night's story).

"A bang went off and everyone stopped and screamed. ... We basically hit the deck," witness Josh Elliott told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It was bedlam ... it was horrific. We got up when we thought it was safe and got out as quickly as possible. People were just crying and in tears. ... Police cars were everywhere."

The Investigation

More than 240 calls were made to police immediately after the blast, and now investigators are asking people who were at the concert to share images and footage from the scene, if they believe it can help their investigation.

"The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena," Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said at a news conference. "We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity."

Emergency response personnel were still working in the area of the attack as of Tuesday morning, the police say. More than 400 officers are working on the investigation, Manchester police say.

The Victims

Police say 22 people died, and 59 were injured. The wounded were taken to eight different hospitals in the Manchester area. Prime Minister Theresa May said, "we know that among those killed and injured were many children and young people."

The concert had drawn Ariana Grande fans from a wide area across Northern England and Scotland, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports. He says parents who had dropped teenagers off at the show have been scrambling for information; police have posted a phone number for people to check on the status of their loved ones.

"It would appear that this was targeting kids," Frank says, "and I cannot remember something recently like that actually happening." He added, "It feels different."

The attack is the deadliest terrorist strike in the U.K. since suicide bombings hit London's Underground train stations in July of 2005. More than 50 people died in that coordinated assault.

The Response

"All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people," Prime Minister Theresa May said, "but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice – deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives."

"The threat level remains at severe," May said after holding an emergency Cabinet meeting Tuesday. She added that she will be visiting Manchester today.

U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, "This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert."

Ariana Grande tweeted: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."

President Donald Trump, speaking during his trip to Bethlehem, offered prayers for Manchester, saying, "We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom."

The president added:

"So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that's what they are. They're losers. And we'll have more of them. But they're losers. Just remember that."

Reactions In Manchester

"We are grieving today, but we are strong," Mayor Andy Burnham said Tuesday morning. The city will host a vigil in its Albert Square at 6 p.m. (local time).

British education officials say that because the attacks could have wide effects at schools, teachers should take the trauma and reaction into account when they decide whether to hold exams.

The attack sparked a "high response" from people wanting to donate blood, prompting the National Health Service to say, "We have all the blood required at the present time." The agency had initially asked for potential donors to register — but it then cut off new registrations, again citing an overwhelming response.

Story source: NPR