UK:Terror Attack at Manchester Arena Kills 22, Injures 59

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Twenty-two people are dead, at least 59 injured, and a dozen still missing, after a suicide bomber detonated inside the Manchester Arena, just as the Ariana Grande concert had ended and concert goers were exiting the main floor leaving the venue.

The lights had just come up at the second largest music venue in the United Kingdom, where 21,000 people, many young girls in their 'tweens and early teens with their parents, had just enjoyed their first live music experience when what has been described as one large explosion echoed throughout the arena.

Authorities have confirmed the suicide bomber responsible detonated the blast inside the exit tunnel, bringing down a wall and ripping through an foyer filled with people. The lone wolf responsible for the insidious evil act died at the scene.

It was a tsunami wave of panic as cell phone video shows the mood still light with music playing and the muffled blast, with the cell phone owner, a girl still filming, asking what just happened, did it go off and then "Oh my God," as the screams and sounds of panic began to escalate.

Manchester Chief Constables Ian Hopkins said "I can confirm the details of the events tonight that we currently know. At around 10:30pm last night we received reports of an explosion at the Manchester arena in the City Centre. It was at the conclusion of the Ariana Grande Concert. We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise. We are working closely with the national counter terrorism policing network and the UK Intelligence partners."

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 An unknown concert goer described the scene as it looked like "A two or three story brick building wall separated itself and fell flat onto the ground. A really loud shout bang."

Teen Kiera Dawber also attended the concert and was closer to the foyer where the initial blast went off killing up to 22 people.

She said, "The concert just started letting everyone out and there was a smoke coming up through the steps, people were shouting to their kids. Smoke and bodies were scattered about everywhere; people were lying on the floor; traffic was at a stand-still in the tunnels and you could see about 20 or 30 bodies straight off were dead, some were injured, a husband was holding his wife. There was blood everywhere."

With the structural damage and the exits compromised widespread panic quickly consumed the crowd. Cell phone video show stampeding chaos from all levels as fear and panic set in. Concert goers were jumping barricades to get to safety.

World Reactions

Ariana Grande tweeted "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry, I don't have words."

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd says the public should remain "alert but not alarmed" following the explosion at the Manchester Arena.

Her full statement reads "This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view. I'd like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night; they have done an excellent job. The public should remain alert but not alarmed. But I have two further things to add. The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued. This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society. Its intention was to sow fear; its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed."

U.K. Prime Minister May issued a statement that read they "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," she said.

President Donald Trump, who is in Israel meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was informed of the situation by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

The State Department issued this statement, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those killed and injured in the incident. "The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities. The U.S. Embassy in London is monitoring the situation closely."

President Xi Jinping of China sent condolences to Queen Elizabeth stating, "At this difficult moment, the Chinese people firmly stand by the British people."

It has been twenty years since Manchester has seen a terrorist attack. The last June 15, 1996, a 3,300lb truck bomb, obliterated the City Centre.  The IRA, Irish Republic Army, sent a warning 90 minutes before the blast was set to detonate and 75,000 people were evacuated. The bomb, the largest since World War II injured 212. No deaths were reported.

Dawn of a New Day

Morning is breaking in the United Kingdom, Manchester stands eerily quiet as the day breaks over what is usually a bustling early morning metropolitan city with commuters hitting the rails. Today, Victoria Station, the largest in Manchester is closed. Piccadilly is open with heavy police presence.

It's been eight hours since the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena. The very fluid investigation has answered some questions, raised others, and broken our hearts again as the death toll has risen.

Loved ones are still searching for missing sons, daughters, friends, and parents. Social Media, Twitter and local authorities are working to assist every person find their loved ones.

The world mourns again as senseless violence as those who seek to control our minds, to break our spirits to incapacitate us as a people and destroy these fun, memories and punctuate them with evil,  violence or hurt so that the good, the beauty, the fun of the evenings, days, times are erased and replaced with only fear, terror, and horror. To allow them to rob us of the good gives them control. When they control; they win.  

Sources: Various

 

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