9:52 am: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K., that killed 22 and injured 59 more. Various media outlets are reporting that ISIS’s statement calls the attacker a “soldier of the caliphate” who targeted a “gathering of crusaders.”
The Independent newspaper in the U.K. speculated that the quickly released statement may indicate that ISIS had foreknowledge of the attack, but Time magazine also points out that the bombing went unmentioned in their Tuesday rundown of military activities. It remains unclear whether the terrorist group was involved in the planning or execution of the attack.
President Trump spoke about the attack from Bethlehem:
I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed and the families, so many families, of the victims. 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. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are. . . .
Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people. And in today’s attack it was mostly innocent children. The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever.
Believing that the suicide bomber carried out the attack alone, U.K. authorities are nevertheless investigating whether he had help orchestrating it, and they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection to the events. Investigators reportedly know the identity of the bomber but have not released his name.
Calling the terror attack one of the worst the nation has faced, U.K. prime minister Theresa May said:
It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack — an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation. . . .
All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice — deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
U.K. authorities are keeping the terror-threat level at “severe.”
9:30 pm: Police are confirming at least 19 dead and about 50 injured in the aftermath of the explosion at a concert in Manchester in the U.K. The bomb inflicted “shrapnel-like injuries” according to paramedics who spoke to a BBC reporter, which is consistent with witnesses on Twitter.
A bomb-disposal team set off a controlled explosion in nearby Cathedral Gardens, an open space in the city center. The suspect device turned out not to be an additional explosive, but abandoned clothing.
Many of those killed and injured were young women, which would not be an unforeseen accident by the bomber because of Ariana Grande’s appeal among girls and teens. It is being treated as a terrorist attack.
8:23 pm: Per NBC News, officials suspect the work of a suicide bomber: “U.K. authorities suspect the incident was conducted by a suicide bomber, according to multiple U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.”
Law enforcement are also considering the possibility of two explosions, which some witnesses reported. Reports seem to indicate that the second followed almost immediately.
One witness also told the BBC about a “horrific stampede of people coming down the steps, people falling on floor,” and that “There were people being crushed on the floor.” If any sort of human crush occurred, that is likely to increase injuries and fatalities.
7:43 pm: An explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. has killed at least 20, according to NBC News, while many more have been hurt. Police have only confirmed “a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured.”
Video and reports from the area show a great deal of chaos, as the mostly teenager crowd scattered. A bomb disposal team has also appeared at the stadium:
Bomb disposal units have arrived at the 'active crime scene' at Manchester Arena. Latest update on the reported 'explosion' pic.twitter.com/yVqIT69TZz
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 22, 2017
We will update the Corner with more information as it arrives.