TWENTY-TWO people are dead and dozens injured after a terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Children are feared to be among those killed and wounded in the explosion on Monday night at the Manchester Arena which police are treating as a “terrorist incident”.
The first victim has been confirmed as 18-year-old Georgina Callander, who had been studying health and social care at Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire.
Saffie Rose Roussos, eight and a pupil at Tarleton Primary School in Lancashire, also died in the attack.
The Arndale Centre in Manchester was evacuated after an arrest was made at 11:30am on Tuesday morning, the day after the attack, though it appears this was unrelated to the explosion at the Arena.
Condemning the atrocity, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.”
She added: “The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.
“This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society – its intention was to sow fear – its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.”
Police have not said what caused or who was behind the atrocity, although unconfirmed reports have suggested it was carried out by a suspected suicide bomber.
Witnesses reported hearing a “huge bomb-like bang” at around 10.30pm on Monday, as fans were leaving the arena shortly after a show by US singer Ariana Grande finished, and described glass and metal nuts on the floor.
Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the “appalling” incident and General Election campaigning has been suspended.
Downing Street said a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee was expected to take place on Tuesday morning chaired by Mrs May.
Grande, the US singer who finished performing minutes before the blast, said she had been left “broken” by the events.
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said they were treating the blast as a “terrorist incident until we have further information”.
If confirmed as terrorism, it would be the worst attack in the UK since 56 people were killed in the 7/7 London bombings in 2005.