Toll rises to 22 in apparent attack in Manchester
The China Post with AP Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 10:05 am TWN
LONDON — An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert in northern England late Monday, killing at least 22 people and injuring dozens in what police say they are treating as a terrorist attack.
Greater Manchester Police said 19 people were confirmed dead and roughly 50 were injured by the explosion at Manchester Arena. Emergency vehicles were helping the injured and bomb disposal units were later seen outside the venue.
There was mass panic after the explosion at the end of the concert, which was part of Grande's The Dangerous Woman Tour. The singer was not injured, according to a representative.
Britain's terrorist threat level has been set at "severe" in recent years indicating an attack is highly likely. Police said the explosion is being judged a terrorist attack unless new information proves otherwise.
Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena's bars at about 10:35 p.m. but there were few further details.
"A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena," concertgoer Majid Khan, 22, 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."
Added Oliver Jones, 17: "The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run."
Video from inside the arena showed concertgoers screaming as they made their way out amid a sea of pink balloons.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the government is working to establish "the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack."
She said her thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected. The government is expected to call an emergency Cabinet meeting.
If the incident is confirmed as a terrorist attack it would be the most deadly in Britain since the London subway bombings in 2005.
Police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena, and the train station near the arena, Victoria Station, was evacuated and all trains canceled.
Here's what we know so far.
Where was it?
On Monday night, at least one huge explosion hit the U.K.'s Manchester Arena, where thousands of gig-goers had gone to see American singer Ariana Grande. The BBC reports that the concertgoers were mostly young people.
What's the toll?
Greater Manchester Police said that least 22 were killed and around 59 were injured, but the total number of casualties has yet to be confirmed.
Is this terrorism?
Police think so. The chief constable says they believe the attack was carried out by one person, who detonated a device at the scene and died there.
How bad is it?
If confirmed as a terror attack, it would be the worst to hit Britain since the 2005 London transit bombings.
What about the election?
In the wake of the attack, political parties have suspended campaigning for the June 8 general election. Among these campaigns is that of British Prime Minister Theresa May, though recent polls show that she remains on track to beat her main challenger, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn.
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