Published: Wed, May 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Manchester bombing: City in grief after children killed

At least 22 people, including some children, were killed and 59 wounded when a suicide bomber struck as thousands of fans streamed out of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Tuesday that she is raising the nation's terror threat level to critical, the highest level, based on the early investigation into Monday's suicide bombing in Manchester. The decision means security officers at the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre believe further attacks may be imminent.

May said critical status means armed soldiers may be deployed instead of police at public events such as sports matches. She said those personnel will take the place of armed police officers, who will be deployed elsewhere.

Police have named the suspected bomber as 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi.

May will chair another meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to reassess the security situation at 9.30am tomorrow.

The move - following an emergency meeting of Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) - takes the United Kingdom to its highest terror threat level for the first time in a decade.

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena last night in which 22 people were killed and at least 59 were wounded.

"A single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately", she said outside her official residence at 10 Downing St, London.

At least 20 heavily armed, helmeted police surrounded a modest red brick house listed as Abedi's address in a mixed Manchester suburb at midday on Tuesday and blasted down the door.

The prime minister also said that Abadi may have been part of a bigger network.

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Islamic State has repeatedly called for attacks as retaliation for Western involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

President Trump, who is now on a trip to Israel, condemned the "evil losers" responsible for the attack, which he said preyed on "innocent children". "It was just after she finished her final song". "It was utter chaos".

The first victim was named as 18-year-old college student Georgina Callander from Lancashire.

Eight-year-old Saffie Roussos, the youngest victim identified, was described as "simply a handsome little girl in every aspect of the word".

According to TMZ, witnesses said Joan was already on her way backstage to see her daughter when the explosion occurred. "She's just absolutely beside herself", the source said to EW. Friends of John Atkinson from Radcliffe called him a "beautiful soul".

The attack sparked a nightlong search for loved ones - parents for the children they had accompanied or agreed to pick up, and friends for each other after groups were scattered by the blast.

Around 21,000 people were thought to be inside the venue at the sold-out gig.

The bombing also came in the lead-up to the June 8 general election in the UK. "That is why the terrorists will never win and we will prevail", May said.

In honour of those killed during the incident, the pop star's fans have been sharing videos online of her singing One Last Time with concertgoers last night, who are now feeling overwhelmed by its poignant relevance today.

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