Posted on May 23, 2017

Manchester Terror Attack: Everything We Know So Far (Photos)

Chris Palazzo and Emily Allen, Telegraph, May 23, 2017

Terrorism Victims in Manchester

Credit Image: © Joel Goodman/London News Pictures via ZUMA Wire

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the Manchester suicide bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night which left 22 people dead, including an eight-year-old girl.

It is the worst terrorist attack in the UK since the deaths of 56 people in the 7/7 London bombings of 2005.

So far, one person has been arrested and police believe they know the identity of the dead bomber.

Here’s everything we know so far.

What happened?

A lone male attacker detonated a homemade explosive device packed with nuts and bolts at about 10:30pm, near the foyer of the Manchester Arena, shortly after Miss Grande, the US singer, had finished her performance.

Ariana Grande Concert

Ariana Grande (Credit Image: © Yui Mok/PA Wire via ZUMA Press)

Thousands of young fans and their families were filing out of Europe’s largest indoor arena when the explosion ripped through the crowds, sparking panic and confusion. Screams rang out through the venue and victims described seeing smoke and being thrown across the floor by the blast.

The attacker, whose identity is known by police, died at the scene.

Officers have confirmed they’re treating it as an act of terrorism, and on Tuesday afternoon the Islamic State group claimed responsibility. Supporters of the terror group had been celebrating the bombing on social media.

Counter-terrorism agencies have mounted a massive inquiry into the attack.

Singer Grande, 23, who was led to safety, said on Twitter: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, [I] am so so sorry. [I] don’t have words.

Has anyone been arrested?

Plain clothes police officers arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack in south Manchester on Tuesday morning, minutes after a street close to the Arndale Shopping Centre in the city centre was evacuated with people seen running from it screaming.

Who are the dead?

Many children and young people are among the dead and missing. Desperate parents spent the night searching for missing loved ones, flooding social media with images as they tried to trace them.

The first victim was named as college student Georgina Callander. The 18-year-old, from Whittle-le-Woods in Lancashire, had met her idol Miss Grande in 2015 and had posted excitedly about the moment on Instagram.

What about the injured?

Multiple Fatalities After Explosion At Manchester Arena

Credit Image: © Joel Goodman/London News Pictures via ZUMA Wire

Many of the 59 people injured are being treated for life-threatening conditions in eight hospitals across Manchester. Twelve are under the age of 16, according to David Ratcliffe, medical director of North West Ambulance Service.

What do we know about the attacker?

Security services know his identity, although it’s not been made public yet. They are investigating whether he acted alone or was part of a network.

Police said the investigation is “complex and wide-ranging” and cautioned against speculating on his identity.

What has been the community response?

Multiple Fatalities After Explosion At Manchester Arena

Credit Image: © Peter Byrne/PA Wire via ZUMA Press

Devastated locals have opened up their homes and given help to concert-goers affected, using the hashtag #RoomForManchester. There are also reports that a hotel near the venue has taken in dozens of children to keep them safe.

Taxi drivers have been offering people free rides home, and volunteers were arranging to give blood at donor banks to help those injured.

Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens was on Tuesday afternoon packed with workers on their lunch break listening to a busker singing songs of defiance including as All You Need Is Love by the Beatles.

Blood donor centres have also experienced an “incredible” response from the public with queues forming outside Blood and Transplant buildings.

The service usually operates via an appointment system, but with about 100 people outside one building on Brown Street in the city centre, just a 10-minute walk from the site of the attack, staff have been trying to accommodate as many walk-ins as possible.

What’s the situation now?

A cordon remains in place around the arena and nearby Manchester Victoria Station, which was evacuated during the incident and remains closed.

British Transport Police said officers would be on patrol at key railway stations, as well as on trains around the country.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has announced that extra police officers have been put on duty in London in the wake of the “utterly  appalling” attack.

How will police be investigating?

Cops on the Scene After Manchester Attack

Credit Image: © Peter Byrne/PA Wire via ZUMA Press

They will be looking to build a picture of the attacker’s movements both in recent weeks and months as well as immediately before the strike. Another priority will be to establish whether any further linked attacks or copycat incidents are planned.

It is likely that the bomber’s communications will form a significant part of the inquiry, while investigators will also be checking if he was known to authorities in any way.

One area of focus will be examining the remnants of the device used in the attack as officers work to establish whether the perpetrator built it himself or had help.

As well as seeking to identify any potential accomplices in Britain, authorities will also be looking into the possibility of any link to international groups.

Police have appealed for concert-goers and witnesses to provide them with any footage they have from the scene if they believe it can assist the probe.

What has the Prime Minister said about it?

Speaking outside Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee, Prime Minister Theresa May said the bomber had chosen the time and place of his attack deliberately to cause “maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately”.

Prime Minister Theresa May

May 23, 2017 – Prime Minister Theresa May Delivers Speech in Wake of Manchester Terror Attack (Credit Image: © Pete Maclaine/i-Images via ZUMA Press)

Mrs May, who was later travelling to Manchester to speak to police chiefs, paid tributes to emergency workers and members of the public who rushed to help.

She said they had shown: “The spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain – a spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.”

What has Donald Trump said about it?

US President Donald Trump told Mrs May that “Americans stand with the people of the United Kingdom” in a phone call in which he offered US assistance for the investigation.

The call came shortly after Mr Trump denounced those responsible for the atrocity as “evil losers” and called for the ideology behind the outrage to be “completely obliterated”.

Is the timing relevant?

The blast occurred on the anniversary of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death on a London street on May 22, 2013.

Rigby’s gruesome murder gained international notoriety when Michael Adebolajo was filmed by passers-by standing in the street with blood-soaked hands trying to justify the attack.

Chris Phillips, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “That may be significant as well.”

What about the June 8 election?

Campaigning for the June 8 General Election has been suspended following the attack, which is the worst terrorist atrocity ever to take place during a UK election period.

Mrs May spoke with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hours after the attack and agreed to put the contest on hold until further notice.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called off a campaign trip to Gibraltar, while the Scottish National Party postponed the planned launch of its manifesto.

Leaders of all main parties sent messages of support and sympathy for those caught up in the horrific incident and said they would be halting election activities temporarily.

What is the UK threat level?

The official threat level from international terrorism stands at severe in the UK – indicating that an attack is “highly likely”. It has stood at this level – the second highest of five – since August 2014.

There has so far been no indication that this will change in the wake of the events in Manchester.