UK terror attack updates: 22 dead at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

Stay with us throughout the day for live updates and reaction to the incident in which 22 were confirmed dead and about 59 injured.
Georgina Callander, 18, pictured with US popstar Ariana Grande two years ago was the first victim named in the Manchester Arena terror attack..
Georgina Callander, 18, pictured with US popstar Ariana Grande two years ago was the first victim named in the Manchester Arena terror attack..

Rolling updates now closed

Full story: 22 dead and 59 injured in Manchester concert attack

UAE leaders condemn terror attack

Editorial: Dealers in terror know no borders

Analysis: Manchester bombing shows the odds stacked against Britain’s security services

Panic and desperate searches for parents and children at UK concert attack

5.52pm: The National Editorial: Dealers in terror know no borders

The attack will be felt particularly in the UAE, given our strong links with the city through Manchester City Football Club and its related investments. Many in the UAE will have links of family and friendship to the city. But more than that, it will resonate across the region because it is just one more in a continuum of cities that were once thought safe, before terrorism came calling.

Vigil in Manchester

UK PM arrives in Manchester

5.25pm: France’s Macron pledges improved intelligence cooperation

French President Emmanuel Macron walked to the British Embassy in Paris to offer support to its ambassador, and pledged to improve intelligence coordination in Europe.

“It’s all of free Europe that was attacked, all of Europe’s youth that was attacked,” Mr Macron said. He said his government will hold a Cabinet-level defence meeting on Wednesday to address intelligence cooperation and a task force against ISIL extremists.

The Eiffel Tower’s lights will be turned off at midnight in homage to the victims.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel postponed a pre-election function in Munich out of “respect for the victims”.

US president Donald Trump telephoned Britain’s premier Theresa May Tuesday to assure her of America’s “unbreakable commitment to the United Kingdom”.

“The two leaders agreed that this attack — which targeted teenage children and their friends at a joyous event — was particularly wanton and depraved,” the White House said.

“The president reassured the prime minister that Americans stand with the people of the United Kingdom and that our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism.”

5.02pm: Police carry out controlled explosion

Greater Manchester Police say they have carried out a ‘controlled explosion’ in an area south of the City as part of their investigation into a bomb attack.

4.40pm: Second victim named

An eight-year-old girl is the second of the 22 dead to be named. Lancashire County Council, the local authority north of Greater Manchester, named her as Saffie Rose Roussos from Leyland, near Preston.

The headteacher of Tarleton Community Primary School said their pupil Saffie’s death “has come as a tremendous shock to all of us”.

“Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word,” Chris Upton said, adding her “warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly”.

Meanwhile, David Ratcliffe, the medical director of North West Ambulance Service, said 12 children - under the age of 16 - were among the 59 injured in the concert attack.

3.57pm: ISIL claims responsibility

According to Agence France-Presse and Reuters, ISIL said in a statement published on its social media channels that one of it’s militants placed bombs among the crowds. It threatened more attacks.

3.55pm: First named victim

Georgina Callander, 18, was the first victim to be named after her school, the Runshaw College Sixth Form Center in Lancashire, confirmed the news on its Facebook Page.

“It is with enormous sadness that it appears that one of the people who lost their lives in Monday’s Manchester attack was one of our students here,” it said, adding that she was studying health and social care.

3.20pm: Manchester bombing shows the odds stacked against Britain’s security services

After British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and members of her cabinet narrowly escaped death at the hands of an IRA bomb in Brighton in October 1984, the IRA issued a chilling statement, the grim truth of which will be echoing loudly today through the ranks of the British security services, writes Jonathan Gornall for The National.

“Today we were unlucky,” said the Northern Ireland terror group. “But remember, we only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always.”

Last night in Manchester, the luck of Britain’s vaunted and vigilant security services finally ran out.

Today, two decades on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement which saw a negotiated end to the Troubles and the IRA, Britain, along with the rest of the world, is facing a different form of terrorism, with which no negotiation is possible.

As the landscape of terror has shifted, so MI5, Britain’s domestic security service, has adapted and changed almost beyond recognition, pursuing an aggressive recruitment policy that has seen its ranks swollen by bright young school leavers and graduates from minority communities.

Current job vacancies tell the story. MI5 is currently looking for Arabic-speaking foreign language analysts “whose roles go well beyond translation and transcription … to provide intelligence insights to deliver clear analysis which will assist your colleagues in driving forward investigations”.

Anyone aged 18 or over, born in Britain and with at least one parent with “substantial ties to the UK”, can apply for the job which, with a starting salary of £28,335 (Dh135,000), is highly competitive for graduates and non-graduates alike.

Click here for the full story

3.02pm: Man arrested in Manchester

Greater Manchester Police have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack. It added that the arrest of a man at the Arndale Shopping Centre, which was evacuated, was not believed to be connected to last night’s attacks.

2.50pm: Etihad stadium used as support centre

Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium is being used as a support centre for those affected by last night’s terror attack, the club has confirmed. It issued the following statement on its website:

The thoughts and prayers of our ownership, Board and everyone at Manchester City are with the people of Manchester and all those affected following the horrifying events of last night’s Manchester Arena attack. We have offered our full support throughout the night and this morning to the leaders of the City of Manchester itself and to the Emergency Services who are doing so much to support our city in these most challenging of circumstances. The Etihad Stadium is being used as a support centre following the tragic events and Greater Manchester Police have advised that anyone needing assistance relating to the attack can access that help at the Etihad Stadium via Gate 11.

2.43pm: Bomber’s identity known

Theresa May says police and security staff in Manchester believe they know identity of the apparent suicide bomber, but they are not revealing the name for the time being. She said: “This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice” and added it “was one of the worst the nation had suffered”.

2.10pm: British prime minster addresses the nation

Theresa May has just come out of a security meeting and it speaking on live UK television. We will update you shortly on what she has to say.

2.02pm: Evacuated plane at Dubai International Airport

Virgin Atlantic and Dubai Airports have confirmed that a flight was evacuated today due to a “non-credible security threat”. You can read more on that story here.

1.25pm: Security questions

A lack of security has been highlighted by some of the concert-goers. AP reported that a Czech woman who was at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester said that “there was almost no security check, rather zero. They let us get in without any check if we have anything with us”.

Nikola Trochtova told the Czech public radio that “the only thing they were interested in was if we had any bottles of water with us. They almost didn’t check our bags, they didn’t take a look.”

She says she was leaving the venue when she heard an explosion at the entrance, but learned the details only after returning to her hotel.

1.15pm: University of Manchester to offer support

The University of Manchester said it would be open on Tuesday and would come together to offer support to the community.

It would not comment on whether any Emirati students were studying there.

“The thoughts of everyone at our University are with those affected by the shocking events which unfolded at the Manchester Arena last night. Our University will come together to offer support during this difficult time to our students, staff and others in the Manchester community,” it said in a statement.

“We will endeavour to carry on business as usual today. For staff and students travelling to the University, please be aware that there is significant disruption to public transport with Victoria Station remaining closed.”

Since roads around Manchester Arena were closed, the university directed students to check for latest travel updates from www.tfgm.com or @OfficialTfGM.

Those concerned about the whereabouts of a loved one, can contact the emergency police phone line on 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.

To sign the book of condolence: www.manchester.gov.uk

Information for students can be found on My Manchester.

1pm: UAE President, VP and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed offer condolences to Queen Elizabeth II

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed sent a cable of condolences to Queen Elizabeth II following the terrorist attack, according to state news agency Wam.

In the cable, Sheikh Khalifa expressed his sincere condolences to the Queen, her government, and families of the victims of the attack.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also sent cables of condolences to Queen Elizabeth.

12.55pm: Donald Trump statement

US president Donald Trump condemned the “evil losers” behind the bomb attack. “So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers,” Trump said after meeting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank.

“I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name.”

12.35pm: UAE issues statement

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation emphasised the UAE’s unwavering stance that rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, state news agency Wam reported.

The statement called for intensified and concerted efforts of the international community to ensure the eradication of the serious scourge of terrorism that is contrary to all moral and humanitarian values.

At the end of its statement, the ministry stressed the UAE’s support for the British Government in the face of terrorism, and expressed its sincere condolences and solace to the British Government, people, and families of the victims of the criminal incident. The ministry also wished for a quick recovery for the injured.

12.30pm: Social media search goes on

From the Associated Press: The city’s regional government and its mayor, Andy Burnham, were among scores of Twitter users that circulated the hashtag to help people seeking missing family members and friends. Those named as missing included Olivia Campbell. Her mother, Charlotte Campbell, said the 15-year-old attended the Ariana Grande concert with a friend from school who has since been found and is being treated in a hospital. But Olivia is missing, having last called home just before the concert, the mother told ITV television’s Good Morning Britain breakfast show.

She says: “I’ve called the hospitals. I’ve called all the places, the hotels where people said that children have been taken and I’ve called the police. If anyone sees Olivia, lend her your phone, she knows my number.”

12.10pm: Grande suspends tour - reports

Ariana Grande has put the whole of the European leg of the tour on hold, following a terror attack on her Manchester arena concert which killed 22 and left 59 injured.

Entertainment news website TMZ reported the hiatus, which means cancellations in England, Belgium, Poland, Germany and Switzerland.

The 23-year old actress turned singer is a Florida native, of Italian descent. Grande’s career began on Broadway where she performed in the musical 13, and then continued in a starring role on Nickelodeon’s 2009 series, Victorius.

With a singing style that has been compared to Mariah Carey, Grande burst on to the music scene in 2013, when her first album Yours Truly debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.

Grande’s success continued with her second album, My Everything, which also debuted at number one in the US, with the singles Problem and Love Me Harder ensuring the pop-star’s continuous rise.

Grande was to perform in Abu Dhabi in 2015, but the concert was cancelled just two days prior with promoters Flash Entertainment saying the singer was “unable to travel”.

11.48am: Angela Merkel issues a statement

German chancellor Angela Merkel says it’s “incomprehensible” that someone would target a pop concert to kill and wound peopl, the Associated Press reported.

Merkel said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester “will only strengthen our determination to keep acting together with our British friends against those who plan and carry out such inhuman deeds”.

She added: “I assure people in Britain that Germany stands beside you.”

11.36am: ‘Pure evil’ Manchester attack will not deter people, say British expats in the UAE

British expatriates in the UAE described the bombing in Manchester as “evil” but said it would not dent the spirit of the people who call the city home.

Read the full story from Ramola Talwar Badam here

10.40am: Here’s the statement in full from Greater Manchester Police:

10.38am: Police say some 400 officers were deployed overnight to help with the investigation.

10.32am: US president Donald Trump, who has been in the Middle East on his first foreign trip since taking office, is being kept updated on the situation in Manchester. Today, he’s meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and speaking at Yad Veshem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

10.30am: Security stepped up around the world

Reuters reports that countries from the United States to Japan and Singapore are considering tightening security ahead of major theatre and sports events following the Manchester attack.

Britain was on its second-highest alert level of “severe”, meaning an attack by extremists is considered highly likely.

Japan said it had started gathering information. “We have strengthened our position by establishing an information-gathering unit dedicated to international terrorism,” chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

In Singapore, the organiser of Britney Spears’ concerts in June said they were considering new measures. “We are definitely looking at tightening security,” Yogesh Mehta, project manager at IME Entertainment Group, said.

“All our events are licensed by the police. It is normally advised by the licensing department on what precautions to take, how many armed guards we need. So we work closely with them.”

Singapore, which hosts a security summit between June 2-4 bringing together Asia-Pacific defence and military chiefs, made amendments to the Public Order Act last month.

It requires event organisers to notify the police a month beforehand if they expect more than 5,000 people to attend. And police may refuse to allow a public gathering if it has a direct political end or involves foreigners.

Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld Expo, where Ariana Grande is due to hold a concert in September, said it would enhance security measures for all concerts and events. Besides baggage inspection, there will be metal detectors, it said in a statement, adding it was also planning to introduce search dogs for any suspicious items.

Hong Kong is already on high alert ahead of an expected visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping to mark the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover to Beijing on July 1 when the former British colony’s new leader will also be sworn in.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia’s biggest sports arena, said it was reviewing procedures. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government was working closely with other countries on strategy.

10.10am: A police press conference has just been held with Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, confirming that a single attacker “was carrying an IED which was detonated”. He said police are trying to establish whether the attacker, who died at the scene, was part of a wider network. He added that children were among the deceased. The death toll has now risen to 22 and number injured to 59.

Location of the attack:

10.05am: As yet there is no word from the police on a suspect, or any details beyond there being a “terror-related” explosion in which many were killed and injured.

World leaders meanwhile are condemning the attack and sent their condolences, the Associated Press reports:

Australia’s prime minister has told the Australian Parliament that the deadly explosion at Manchester Arena appeared to be a “brutal attack on young people everywhere”.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday the British were treating the blast that killed at least 19 people and injured more than 50 as a terrorist attack, although its cause was unknown.

Turnbull says: “This incident, this attack, is especially vile, especially criminal, especially horrific because it appears to have been deliberately directed at teenagers.”

He added: “This is an attack on innocents. Surely there is no crime more reprehensible than the murder of children. This is a direct and brutal attack on young people everywhere, on freedom everywhere.”

He says Australian diplomats were working to discover if any victim was Australian.

In Tokyo, a spokesman for the Japanese government condemned the attack.

Yoshihide Suga, the government’s chief cabinet secretary, says: “If this is a terrorist attack, such abhorrent acts of terrorism cannot be justified for any reason, and Japan firmly condemns such an act of terrorism. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims and families of the deceased and my prayers to a swift recovery for the wounded. Japan stands in solidarity with the people of the UK”

9.45am: We have a picture gallery up and running, so click here to take a look at the scenes overnight in Manchester.

9.20am: This video posted on social media shows the panic which ensued after the explosion rang out around the Manchester Arena.

8.55am: Eyewitness accounts tell of a huge bang, the smell of burning and “bodies everywhere”. Parents turned to social media to try to locate family members and friends. Read the full story here.

8.45am: The attack is being condemned around the world, with a host of celebrities and politicians speaking out on Twitter:

US rapper Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ), who collaborated on the hit “Bang Bang” with Grande tweeted: “My heart hurts for my sister, Ariana & every family affected by this tragic event in the UK. Innocent lives lost. I’m so sorry to hear this”

Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13), a friend of Grande, tweeted: “My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I’m sending all my love.”

Katy Perry (@katyperry), also a friend of Grande, tweeted: “Broken hearted for the families tonight. Broken hearted for Ari. Broken hearted for the state of this world.”

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

8.38am: Campaigning has been suspended in Britain’s national election after a deadly explosion at Manchester Arena, the Associated Press reports.

Prime minister Theresa May cancelled campaign events Tuesday after the blast, which killed at least 19 people and injured more than 50. She is due to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, COBRA, later.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron cancelled a campaign tour to Gibraltar after the explosion, which police say they are treating as a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security says there is no evidence of credible threats against music venues in the US.

The department says the US public may experience increased security in and around public places and events.

DHS says it is closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena and working with UK officials to obtain additional information about the cause of the explosion.

The government is urging US citizens in Manchester to heed directions from local authorities and be vigilant about their security.

8.32am: British Transport Police said the blast occurred at “within the foyer area of the stadium” and the venue said it was “outside the venue in a public space”.

The arena foyer connects the 21,000-capacity auditorium with Victoria train and tram station, a major hub on the northern edge of the city centre.

Eyewitnesses described a “huge bomb-like bang” and scenes of panic as young fans rushed out and parents waiting outside looked for their children.

8.30am: Ariana Grande has tweeted:

8.25am (UAE time): Morning all. The extremely disturbing news broke last night of an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Stay with us throughout the day for live updates and reaction to the incident. Police said the incident is being treated as a terrorist attack.

You can read the full breaking story here

Published: May 23, 2017 04:00 AM

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