Manchester concert arena bombing kills 22

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Manchester concert arena bombing kills 22 NewslineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

Posted By : NewslineToday Bureau
Date  22/05/2017

The attack left at least 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl, shattering the revelry at the close of a show by American singer Ariana Grande, where strains of electric pop and the sways of innocent young fans quickly gave way to an explosion, a flood of screams and a stampede of panicked concert-goers, many clutching pink balloons and wearing the kitten-ear headbands popularized by Grande.

Touching on that disconnect, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage."

May said Britain`s terror threat level had been raised to critical - meaning another attack may be imminent. The status means armed soldiers could be deployed instead of police at public events including sports matches. The threat level had been at the second-highest run of "severe" for several years.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the horror, which also wounded 59 people, though a top American intelligence official said the assertion could not be verified. Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who authorities said died in the attack. Police raided two sites in the northern English city, setting off a controlled explosion in one, and arresting a 23-year-old man in a third location.

 

May said Abedi was born and raised in Britain. A European security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on ongoing investigations, said Abedi was of Libyan descent. There was no information released on the man who was arrested.

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.

"It was so quick. These cars just pulled up and all these police with guns, dogs, jumped out of the car and said to us: `Get in the house now,`" said Simon Turner, 46, who lives nearby. Later, forensic officers in white coveralls were seen going in and out of the property.

Details on Abedi were slow to trickle out. He was described by neighbors as a tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress, but few said they knew him well.

Alan Kinsey, 52, who lives across the street, said his neighbor would often get picked up by another young man in a Toyota and often returned late at night. "I thought he worked in a takeaway or something" because of his late hours, Kinsey said.

Police also searched an apartment in a nearby area that British media reported belonged to Abedi`s brother, Ismail.

Late Tuesday, thousands of people, some holding up signs proclaiming "I Love MCR" - an abbreviation for Manchester - held a moment of silence at a vigil for the victims. Lord Mayor Eddy Newman and the city`s police chief were among the speakers in front of City Hall in Albert Square. A banner with a website for a Muslim group said "Love for all, Hatred for None."

Monday`s bombing made Manchester Arena, one of the largest indoor concert venues in Europe, the latest apparent target of Islamic extremists striking at the heart of Western culture, an ideology baffling to the panicked young faces emerging from the concert.

Among those confirmed killed was Georgina Callander, whose death was reported by her former school, which posted a photo of her in her school uniform on its website and described her as a "lovely" and "very popular" young woman. Also killed was 8-year-old Saffie Roussos, who a teacher called "simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word" who was warm, kind, "and unassuming, with a creative flair."

Besides the dead, the wounded included at least 12 children under the age of 16, hospital officials said.

Grande, who was not injured in the blast, tweeted: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don`t have words."

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