Highlights: Islamic State claims Manchester attack, bomber identified as Salman Abedi

In one of the worst terror attacks in the UK, at least 22 people died after an explosion at the end of a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester in northwest England.
Armed police officers stand next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain.(Reuters)
Armed police officers stand next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain.(Reuters)
Updated on May 24, 2017 12:03 AM IST
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Manchester, United Kingdom | ByAgencies

At least 22 people were killed in an explosion at the end of a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester in northwest England, police said.

Eyewitnesses described a “huge bomb-like bang” and scenes of panic as young fans fled the venue.A fleet of ambulances was seen rushing to the venue and bomb disposal teams were dispatched soon after.

In pics | Panic grips Manchester after terror blast at Ariana Grande concert

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” police said in a statement.

Here are the highlights:

10.10pm: France ordered heightened security at sports and cultural events on Tuesday and President Emmanuel Macron said he would set up a new counter-terrorism coordinating body

10.05pm: The chiefs of Italy’s police and intelligence forces, along with a British security official, have met to review anti-terrorism measures in light of the Manchester bomb blast, which occurred four days ahead of a G-7 summit in Sicily.

10pm: “I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity is 22-year-old Salman Abedi,” Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters, adding that he would not make any further comments about Abedi at this stage.

9.40pm: British police identify Manchester attacker as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.

9.30pm: London stocks dipped on Tuesday, with sentiment dented by a deadly terror attack in Manchester, while eurozone equities climbed on upbeat data.

The British capital’s FTSE 100 index of leading blue-chip companies wobbled between gains and losses during the day, closing down 0.2%.

9.10pm: Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday condemned the terrorist attack in Manchester as an act of “barbarity”.

The 91-year-old monarch offered her “deepest sympathy” to the families and friends of the 22 victims of the attack and the 59 injured in the suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena.

She led a one-minute silence on the grounds of Buckingham Palace during one of her pre-planned Garden Parties.

8:45pm: British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman says she has visited the Greater Manchester Police headquarters and the Manchester Children’s Hospital.

8:40pm: British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman says she has had calls with US President Trump, French President Macron, Italy’s Gentiloni and Australia’s Turnbull after the Manchester attack.

8:35pm: US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says America is “deeply saddened” to hear of the “senseless attack” on concert-goers in Manchester. “We stand with our British friends as they heal from this cowardly act of terror. Our prayers are with the innocent victims of this attack and their families,” she says.

8:30pm: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemns terror attack, and hopes those responsible for the “unjustifiable violence” will be brought to justice.

7.30pm: Pop group Take That says it is canceling its show in Liverpool, northern England a day after the deadly bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The band says it is postponing the performance “out of respect to all of the people and their families that were affected by the horrific incident last night.”

7.25pm: Jose Mourinho, manager of the football club Manchester United, said the victims of a deadly bomb attack in Manchester were in the “minds and hearts” of his squad as Man United prepared for Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm.

7.15pm: The US president Donald Trump has condemned the “evil losers” behind Monday night’s attack on a pop concert in Manchester that claimed the lives of at least 22 people and injured scores more.

Trump used the Manchester attack to echo a message he has delivered in Saudi Arabia and Israel on his first overseas tour as US president, calling on countries to root out terrorism.

7.05pm: Greater Manchester Police gave no further details about the arrest but said they had executed warrants in the districts of Whalley Range and Fallowfield, where a controlled explosion took place.

6.40pm: Manchester police say a controlled explosion took place in Fallowfield as part of investigation into last night’s attack.

6pm: British authorities say an 8-year-old girl, Saffie Roussos, was among the 22 who died in the Manchester bombing

Medical officials say 12 children under the age of 16 were among those injured in the suicide bombing attack at a pop concert in Manchester, England.

5:18pm: Islamic State says one of its members carried out the Manchester attack.

“One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester,” the statement said.

5:10pm: Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham asks people to attend a vigil at 6 pm.

5pm: Manchester Police appeals to people to avoid the city centre to allow emergency service to work at the scene of the incident.

4:45pm: Indian High Commission in the UK says all special helplines active. More helplines will be activated shortly.

4:40pm: India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj says no reports of any Indian casualty in the Manchester attack so far.

4:34pm: The Arndale shopping centre that was temporarily evacuated was being reopened, says a Reuters witness. Police have begun removing the cordon and workers were slowly being allowed back into the site.

4:27pm: UK police arrest 23-year-old man in Manchester in relation to concert attack.

4:12pm: Police say they are investigating an incident at the Arndale shopping centre : Reuters

4:05pm: Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre evacuated, reports a Reuters photographer. Witnesses said they heard a ‘big bang’ at the shopping centre.

3:46pm: While we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best: Theresa May

3:45pm: UK PM Theresa May says not known if Manchester attacker was acting alone or as part of group

2:05pm: US President Donald Trump expressed solidarity with the United Kingdom, condemns the “evil losers” behind the blast. “I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed and the families, so many families of the victims,” Trump said. “So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life.”

1:30pm: Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Britain in a condolence message to Prime Minister Theresa May over the “inhuman” attack in Manchester, the Kremlin said.

1:15pm: London mayor Sadiq Khan said there will be more police on the streets after the Manchester attack.

1pm: The Indian high commission in London set up a response unit and activated more helplines to assist any Indian nationals caught up in the Manchester terror attack that claimed 22 lives.

12:45pm: German Chancellor Angela Merkel voices “sorrow and horror” over Manchester terror attack.

“This suspected terrorist attack will only strengthen our resolve to work with our British friends against those who plan and execute such inhuman acts. I assure the people in Britain: Germany stands by your side,” Merkel said in a statement.

12:15pm: British police closed London’s Victoria Coach Station and the surrounding streets, the BBC reported, after finding a suspect package.

“A suspect package is being checked out,” a Metropolitan police spokesperson said.

Buckingham Palace Road and other streets in the area are closed: Reuters quotes BBC

11:50am: French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a telephone call with British Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of the Manchester attack, Macron’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The most cowardly form of terrorism has struck once again, targeting - as in Paris more than a year ago - a concert venue,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a statement in a reference to a similar attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in November 2015.

“I call on my fellow citizens to observe the utmost vigilance, confronted as we are with a threat which is more present than ever before,” Philippe said

11:35am: Police say the attacker died when he detonated his device, killing 22 others including children and injuring 59 people.

11:25am: Manchester police say they believe one man carried out attack on Ariana Grande concert; not sure if he acted alone.

“We believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man,” Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins said.

“The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

10:35am: After Conservative Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn will also suspend campaign for the June 8 general election in Britain.

May succeeded David Cameron as the Britain PM after he resigned following the EU referendum.

10am: Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed shock and sadness at the ghastly terror attack in Manchester. Expressing solidarity and offering condolences to families of those who lost loved ones, she said that the world must come together as one to fight the scourge of terrorism cutting across boundaries and religion.

8:45am: Twitter accounts affiliated to Islamic State have used hashtags referring to the blast to post celebratory messages, with some users encouraging similar attacks elsewhere.

“It seems that bombs of the British airforce over children of Mosul and Raqqa has just came back to #Manchester,” one user named Abdul Haqq said on Twitter, in reference to the Iraqi and Syrian cities held by the militants where a US-led coalition is conducting air strikes.

8:30am: Ariana Grande, the American singer who was performing at the Manchester venue shortly before the blast, reacts on Twitter:

8:10am: Devastating to learn of news in UK. My thoughts are with all those affected by the explosion in Manchester tonight, says Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly.

7:50am: Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party tweeted: “Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.”

The Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, says his citizens were “shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight”.

7:45am: Manchester launches emergency number: 0161 856 9400

7:40am: Manchester police say they are working with national police, intelligence agencies to investigate concert explosion.

Read | Timeline of major terror attacks in Europe

7:35am: US Department of Homeland and Security closely monitoring situation in Manchester, England: Reuters

The department said in a statement it had “no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States”.

“However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions,” the statement said.

Armed police officers stand near the Manchester Arena. (Reuters Photo)
Armed police officers stand near the Manchester Arena. (Reuters Photo)

7:15am: Theresa May’s Conservatives will suspend campaigning for a national election on June 8 after the suspected terror attack, broadcaster Sky News reports.

7am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacts to the Manchester blast, says: “Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.”

6:55am: Emergency services still working at the scene of last nights incident at Manchester Arena and continue to ask public to avoid the area, tweets Britain police.

6:50am: Britain PM Theresa May condemns the “appalling terrorist attack” at a pop concert in Manchester. “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack,” says May.

“All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

6:30am: Unconfirmed reports say a suicide bomber had detonated a nail-filled explosive device.

6:25am: British police carried out a controlled explosion near the Manchester Arena venue after a suspected blast killed 19.

Emergency services personnel speak to people outside Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on May 22. (AP)
Emergency services personnel speak to people outside Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on May 22. (AP)

“There will be a controlled explosion in Cathedral Gardens shortly if you hearing anything don’t be concerned,” police said on Twitter, referring to a small park opposite the concert venue.

But a second tweet said: “Officers carrying out a precautionary controlled explosion in Cathedral Garden confirm that it was abandoned clothing, not a suspicious item”.

6: 20am: The first unconfirmed reports of an explosion emerged shortly after 2145 GMT on Monday. “We heard the last song go and then suddenly there was a massive flash and then a bang and smoke,” said Gary Walker from Leeds who was with his wife waiting for their daughters to come out told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Walker said he was hit by shrapnel in his foot while his wife sustained a stomach wound.

6:15am Isabel Hodgins, who had been attending the concert, told Sky News: “Everybody was panicking, there was pushing up the stairs. The corridor was full, it smelled of burning, there was quite a lot of smoke as we were leaving. It’s just shocking and we just feel very shaken up. We’re just lucky to have gotten away safely.”

Majid Khan, 22, who was attending the concert with his sister, said: “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena”.

Calvin Welsford, 18, from Bristol told the BBC: “It almost sounded like a gunshot. I looked around and people were just spilling down, heading out of the building. I was actually having an asthma attack. It was sheer panic,” he said.

Manchester residents opened up their homes to people left stranded by the incident, sending messages with the hashtag #RoomforManchester.

Lucky to have gotten away

Several media outlets reported that there had been two explosions from within the 21,000 capacity venue.

Robert Tempkin, 22, from Middlesbrough, told the BBC: “Everyone was screaming and running, there were coats and people’s phones on the floor. People just dropped everything. Some people were screaming they’d seen blood but other people were saying it was balloons busting or a speaker had been popped. There were lots of ambulances. I saw somebody being treated. I couldn’t tell what had happened to him.”

The Manchester ambulance service warned people only to call “for life threatening emergencies” as it had “a large number of resources at the incident”.

People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23. (REUTERS)
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23. (REUTERS)

Suzy Mitchell, whose flat is opposite the venue said she heard “a huge bang” and came out of her flat to see “everyone was running away in big crowds”.

Train services to and from Manchester Victoria Station -- located under the Arena -- had been cancelled.

“Disruption is expected to continue until the end of the day,” National Rail said in a statement.

British Transport Police said in a statement: “Officers are at Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the stadium at 10.30pm this evening.

The incident caused transport chaos, with traffic jams outside the venue.

Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England. (AP)
Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England. (AP)

“Emergency services are dealing with an incident near Manchester Victoria, resulting in all lines being closed,” operator Northern Railway wrote on its website.

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