PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
MANCHESTER, England – Nineteen people are dead while 59 others were wounded after a probable suicide bomber detonated himself outside the Manchester Arena just after a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in the stadium late Monday night.
On Twitter, Manchester police said: “This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”
“We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night. The incident took place outside the venue in a public space. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims,” the police also said.
The Manchester Arena had a capacity of 21,000 people and those who watched the concert were mostly girls in their teens and pre-teens. The Manchester concert was the first of three shows that are part of Grande’s Dangerous Woman Tour in England.
Witnesses told CNN they heard an explosion as the concert was ending and then smoke filled the main corridor outside the arena seating and stage area. A video taken after the blast showed panicked concert goers running and leaving the arena.
Ambulances were seen heading the arena.
Manchester hospitals said they have treated 59 people injured in the incident.
The Telegraph quoted a representative of Grande as telling Variety that the singer is “okay” following the bombing. On Twitter, Grande said: “broken…From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry…..I have no words.”
Police told CNN that the blast was caused by a male suicide bomber.
According to a report by the UK’s The Guardian, buses have been deployed to ferry people out of the area and that taxi companies are also offering free rides for those affected. Rail services have been stopped.
The hashtag #RoomForManchester appeared on social media as it called on people in Manchester and other areas to offer a place for those who were at the concert but could not go home.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”
On the other hand, British Security Minister Ben Wallace called for vigilance and advised people who see anything suspicious to call the anti-terrorist hotline. “My thoughts are with all the victims of the incident tonight and our emergency services who are out there tending wounded and keeping us safe,” Wallace added.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burham tweeted his condolences to the victims and their families. “A terrible night for our city,” he said,
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also expressed his support to the victims.
Singers Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj tweeted their support and sympathy to the victims. GAC/Expat Media
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