What we know about the Manchester Arena attack

What we know about the Manchester Arena attack

UPDATED (06:30am, May 24): Vigils have been held and another terrorist attack could be imminent after police confirmed 22 people died and around 59 others were injured following an explosion at around 22:35 BST on Monday, May 22, after an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins has confirmed that children are among the 22 fatalities. The first of the victims to be named was 18-year-old Georgina Callander, while eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos and 28-year-old John Atkinson have since been confirmed among the fatalities. Two more victims, 15-year-old Olivia Campbell and Kelly Brewster, 32, were named in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Of the 59 injured, 12 are under 16.

The threat level in the UK has been raised from 'severe' to 'critical', meaning that "a further attack may be imminent". Military personnel can now be deployed to assist police and extra police can be drafted in to assist police forces in cities such as Manchester and London. A further Cobra meeting is scheduled for 9:30am today (May 24).

The BBC is reporting that the so-called Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place outside the venue in a public space, shortly after Grande's show ended. The police have since named 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the suspected suicide bomber who died at the scene after detonating the explosive device.

The venue posted the following message on Twitter: "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."

A statement from Greater Manchester Police shortly after the explosion said: "Emergency services are currently responding to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured. Please avoid the area as first responders work tirelessly at the scene."

One eyewitness report given to the BBC from Andy Holey - who was picking up his wife and daughter - said: "It was definitely an explosion and it was some force. It happened near the box office at the entrance to the arena."

An emergency telephone number in response to the attack has been established by the Greater Manchester Police: 0161 856 9400. Additionally, a help centre for those affected by the tragedy has also been established by Greater Manchester Police at the Etihad Stadium access Gate 11.

A spokesman for Grande, whose UK tour was due to visit The O2 in London on Thursday, said the singer was not injured. In the early hours of May 23, Grande tweeted:

Prime minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of Cobra, the government's emergency committee, on Tuesday morning. The Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrats and UKIP confirmed that all general election campaiging will be suspended throughout Tuesday.

May said: "We are working to establish the full details of what happened in Manchester. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected."

Subsequently, May issued a statement after the second Cobra meeting of the day. The prime minister confirmed that the bomber was a 22-year-old man born and raised in the UK, praised the emergency services’ response and said that “evil can be overcome by good”. May said it is possible that others were linked with Abedi and confirmed the threat level should be increased to 'critical' for the time being. 

Manchester Arena typically holds around 15,000 people for concerts.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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