Manchester Arena terror attack: At least 19 people were killed and over 50 injured after explosion took place at the arena where US singer Ariana Grande were performing. Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the appalling terrorist attack. It has been learned that police responded to reports of an explosion shortly after 2135 GMT at the arena. Pop star Grande’s spokesperson said she was safe. PM May will hold security meet today to review the situation.
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The terror attack is one of the deadliest militant assault in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.
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British Transport Police said the explosion occurred in the foyer area of Manchester Arena that has a capacity of 21,000. “Police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. So far 19 people have been confirmed dead with around 50 others injured. This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condemned the blast in Manchester. The Prime Minister said, “Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured,” he tweeted.
Singer Ariana Grande tweeted saying she is broken. “from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words,” she tweeted.
Greater Manchester Police also carried out a “controlled explosion” in the Cathedral Gardens area near the Manchester Arena, but have since confirmed the item they found was abandoned clothing and not dangerous. Armed police lined the streets outside the arena with officers moving members of the public away and bomb disposal units at the site of the blast.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said, “My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.”
Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud “bang” from inside the venue, which was playing host to the concert by Grande. Video footage from the scene showed bloodied victims being helped by emergency services. “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,” an eyewitness said. “Some people were screaming they’d seen blood but other people were saying it was balloons busting or a speaker had been popped,” said another eyewitness, according to agency reports.
According to reports, the UK’s Network Rail said train lines out of Manchester Victoria station, which is close to the concert venue, were blocked.
Manchester Arena is the biggest indoor venue in the city. The arena foyer connects with Victoria train and tram station, a major hub on the northern edge of the city centre. The arena regularly hosts concerts by major stars like Grande — a 23-year-old American TV teen actress-turned-pop star.
Grande is currently on a European tour — she has already played in Birmingham and Dublin and is due to be at the O2 Arena in London tomorrow and Thursday. Last night’s blast came two months after a careening driver left four people dead on London’s Westminster Bridge, then stabbed to death a police officer at the gates of Parliament.