IS claims responsibility; Polls campaign suspended; Salman Abedi named as attacker
Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, that killed at least 22 people and injuring over 120, after a suicidal terrorist attack at Manchester Arena, police official said.
Thousands of gig-goers were packed into the venue, that can host twenty one thousands people at the City’s busiest Town Centre.
Witnesses reported hearing “huge bangs” at the venue shortly after US singer’s gig finished at around 10.30 pm on Monday evening.
Counter-terrorism officials were assessing what caused the explosion. Investigators from the police and the domestic security service MI5 were part of the investigation.
Greater Manchester Police Chief constable Ian Hopkins said that the lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was carrying an improvised explosive. Multiple houses in different localities of Manchester were raided in connection with the deadliest bomb attack that killed 22 and wounded many others with life threatening injuries who were at the venue to see American singer Ariana Grande. Salman Abidi is being named as the prime suspect being killed in his suicidal mission.
Political parties had geared up their election campaign, has suspended it, following this tragic incident. British Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the victims and families of those affected and has condemned “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack”.
British media reported that minutes after blast, eyewitnesses described seeing people “running and screaming” from the arena.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: “My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.”
Manchester Fire and Rescue tweeted a statement to say crews were helping police and paramedics at “the scene of this horrific incident”.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected and especially the families who lost their loved ones tonight – utterly heartbreaking,” they said.
The incident comes at a time when Britain has been on a severe terrorist alert, meaning an attack is highly likely.
Witnesses said the concert had finished, the house lights came up and then a loud bang was heard. Majid Khan, 22, said: “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.
Islamic State supporters celebrated on social media. Twitter accounts affiliated to the militant Islamist group have used hashtags referring to the blast to post celebratory messages, with some users encouraging similar attacks elsewhere.
British police on Tuesday named the suspected attacker behind the Manchester concert bombing that killed 22 people as Salman Abedi, but declined to give any further details.
The 22-year-old “has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further”, said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police force. Manchester terror attack: What we know
“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” he added.
INP from Islamabad adds: Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the blast which hit a concert at Manchester Arena, in what British police suspect as a terrorist attack.
“We strongly condemn terrorist incident in Manchester that caused loss of precious human lives and injured scores,” Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in a Twitter post.
“Pakistan expresses solidarity with Govt and people of UK and offers condolences to the bereaved families and pray for recovery of injured,” he tweeted.
Nafees Zakaria tweeted, “PM Nawaz Sharif has strongly condemned the explosion that occurred in Manchester, resulting in death of 22 persons and injuring many others.”
“PM stated that elimination of terrorism requires concerted efforts and such acts targeted towards innocent people is highly condemnable,” he continued.
“Pakistan stands in solidarity with the Govt and people of UK against all forms of terrorism – PM Nawaz” “We deeply sympathize with the families of the deceased – PM Nawaz,” the spokesperson’s post added.