At least 22 people were killed and 59 injured after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive near the exit of Manchester Arena as fans were exiting an Ariana Grande concert in England on Monday, May 22. Here’s everything we know so far about the bombing:
Around 10:33 p.m. local time, concertgoers heard a loud bang and thousands of people tried to flee the 21,000-seat arena. U.S. officials told NBC News that forensic evidence shows that it was likely a backpack bomb. The BBC reports that at least 12 of the injured are under the age of 16, and several people are suffering from life-threatening injuries. It is the deadliest terror attack in the U.K. since the July, 7, 2005, London subway bombings.
A concertgoer told Us Weekly that the explosion happened at the very end of the show. “Everyone immediately started running out and screaming. It’s absolute chaos,” the eyewitness said. “There’s a helicopter circling the area and armed police officers everywhere.”
Grande Confirmed to be Safe
Shortly after the incident, Grande’s rep confirmed that the singer is “OK.” The 23-year-old singer tweeted a few hours later that she felt “broken,” adding, “from the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”
The following morning, Manchester police identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. According to the Telegraph, he was born in Manchester, and his parents were Libyan refugees. A 23-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, was also arrested in connection with the incident. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials have yet to verify the claims.
Thus far, only three victims have been identified: Georgina Bethany Callander, 18, Saffie-Rose Roussos, 8, and John Atkinson, 26. As of Tuesday, many families are still searching for missing loved ones and have taken to social media to spread the word.
World Leaders React
In the aftermath, dozens of world leaders have spoken out about the attack. Prince William issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of himself, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry, saying that they were “shocked and saddened” by the incident and thanked the people of Manchester “for their display of strength, decency and community that is an example to the world.” Queen Elizabeth II called the bombing an “act of barbarity” and expressed her “deepest sympathies to all those who have been affected by this dreadful event.”
President Donald Trump also condemned the suicide bomb attack while speaking in Bethlehem, Israel. “I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed, and to the families — so many families — of the victims,” he said on Tuesday. “We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom. So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term.”
After the horrible tragedy, Grande is still figuring out how to continue. As of Tuesday afternoon, she and her team had not yet made a final decision on whether her Dangerous Woman world tour will resume. “Right now, the tour and whether to postpone isn’t even on their mind. The only thing Ariana and her team are focused on now is the victims,” a source told Us on Tuesday afternoon. “A decision has not been made about Thursday’s show [at London’s O2 Arena] either.”
Although the “Into You” singer” was physically unharmed, she’s “inconsolable,” another source told Us. “She’s absolutely heartbroken,” the insider said. “She can’t believe this happened. She spent the night crying with her backup dancers and saying how much she adores her fans.”
Grande Returns Home to Florida, Cancels Upcoming Tour Dates
The “Side to Side” singer was spotted arriving back in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, May 23. Grande’s family and her boyfriend, Mac Miller, were at the airport to greet her. “Mac ran up to give her a hug and kiss right after her plane landed,” an onlooker told Us.
The pop star’s management team announced to Us Weekly on Wednesday, May 24, that her Dangerous Woman tour dates through June 5 are cancelled in wake of the Manchester terror attack. “Due to the tragic events in Manchester the Dangerous Woman tour with Ariana Grande has been suspended until we can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost,” the statement read. “The London O2 shows this week have been cancelled as well as all shows through June 5 in Switzerland. We ask at this time that we all continue to support the city of Manchester and all those families affected by this cowardice and senseless act of violence. Our way of life has once again been threatened but we will overcome this together. Thank you.”
More Arrests Made
Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins announced in a press conference on Wednesday that law enforcement are investigating a “network” of people, and “extensive investigations” were taking place throughout the city.
Hopkins also confirmed on Wednesday that four suspects have been arrested in connection with the bombing. The New York Times later reported that the suspected bomber’s father, Ramadan Abedi, and brother Hashem Abedi, 20, were arrested in Tripoli, Libya. Another one of Salman’s brothers, Ismail, was arrested in England, bringing the total to seven people arrested in connection with the bombing.
Two U.S. defense officials confirmed to Fox News that Salman spent three weeks in Libya prior to the bombing.
The U.K. Adds New Security Measures
Following the bombing, the U.K. raised the country’s security level to the highest possible state of “critical,” meaning another attack could be imminent. According to the AP, they also cancelled the changing of the guards ceremony at London’s Buckingham Palace and closed the Palace of Westminster to visitors. Military personnel were deployed to major sites across London in order to free up police officers to offer support elsewhere.
Scooter Speaks Out
Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, wrote a moving message on Twitter on Thursday, May 25, after the Manchester suicide bombing. “I will honor those that r lost by living each day full,” he wrote. “Full of fun, full of laughter, full of joy. I welcome the differences of my neighbor, the wish of terrorism is to take away that feeling of freedom and joy. No. That is my answer. No. We cant allow it. Fear cannot rule the day.”
Many Remain Hospitalized
Britain’s National Health Service announced on Thursday that 23 people remain in critical condition after the attack, according to CNN. In total, 75 people are still hospitalized at several locations across the city.
On the same day, Queen Elizabeth II made a visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to visit young people injured in the horrible incident. According to CNN, the Queen revealed to a 14-year-old patient that she’s a fan of Grande, saying that she’s ”very good singer.”
All 22 Victims Identified
Police said on Thursday that they were confident that they had identified all 22 people who died in the terror attack, according to The New York Times. However, authorities will not be releasing the official list of names until post-mortems are completed. Many family members and friends have already confirmed the deaths of their loved ones independently.
Police Make More Arrests
Police made another arrest on Friday, May 26, bringing the total to eight men in custody in the U.K. on suspicion of terror offenses, BBC reports. The men are between ages 18 and 38, and one of the men is bomber Salman Abedi’s 24-year-old brother, Ismail Abedi.
Two others, a 16-year-old boy and a 34-year-old woman, were released without charges.
Grande Announces Manchester Benefit Concert
The “Break Free” singer shared a lengthy statement via Twitter announcing that she will be hosting a concert to raise money for victims of the terror attack. “I’ll be returning to the incredibly brave city of Manchester to spend time with my fans and to have a benefit concert in honor of and to raise money for the victims and their families,” she wrote on Friday, May 26. “I want to thank my fellow musicians and friends for reaching out to be a part of our expression of love for Manchester.”
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 26, 2017
Grande’s “One Love Manchester” concert will take place on Sunday, June 4, at the city’s Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground, organizers announced on Tuesday, May 30. Some of the musicians taking part in the event include Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Usher, Take That and Niall Horan. Grande is offering free tickets to fans who attended the May 22 Manchester show, which they can claim by registering with Ticketmaster by Wednesday, May 31, at 4 p.m. BST. Tickets go on sale Thursday, June 1, at 10 a.m. BST.
Grande’s Manchester Charity Concert Sells Out
The official “One Love Manchester” Twitter account announced that the 45,000 tickets, which cost $52 (£40) each, went very quickly. “One Love Manchester is now completely sold out-and in under 6 minutes!” the tweet read.
Ticketmaster said it “was unsurprisingly met with remarkable demand for One Love Manchester tickets we had on sale this morning — 140,000 fans were on the website and our call center was buzzing. With over 450,000 searches on our site for One Love Manchester over the last 24 hours, demand was always going to be extremely high.”
Check back for updates as more details emerge.
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