Update (8:30 a.m.): The death toll from the terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in England on Monday night has now reached 22, according to CNN. Law-enforcement officials believe a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device as the concert ended, and they think they know his identity. CNN is also reporting that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A suspected terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, has left at least 19 people dead and 50 more injured, according to local police.
Officers responded to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena just before 10:35 p.m. on Monday night. Greater Manchester Police immediately asked people to avoid the area “as first responders work tirelessly at the scene.” In a statement, the police said the incident “is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”
CNN later reported that British law-enforcement officials say a suicide bombing is the likely explanation for the blast, and that “a male at the scene has been identified as the probable attacker.”
At 8:08 p.m. EST, the official Twitter account of the Manchester Arena stated that “the incident took place outside the venue in a public space.” Another person on that chain tweeted “My son was there tonight and luckily un injured—he was horrified by the lack of security people available – they ran for the hills!!!”
Eyewitness videos of a chaotic scene inside the arena began appearing on social media as the concert was nearing its end. Concertgoers can be seen screaming and running from the scene. CBS News later reported that a U.S. law-enforcement source said two explosions rocked the arena, and that the casualties included “a large number of young girls.” The CBS source said that one person was detained, but it was unclear what role, if any, that person played in the attack.
“A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” one concertgoer told Britain’s Press Association. “It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”
Later in the evening, British prime minister Theresa May issued a statement in which she confirmed the bombing is being treated as a terrorist attack.”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.”