Death toll in Manchester terror attack now 22

Death toll in Manchester terror attack now 22
At least 22 people people have been killed in a suspected terrorist attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in the northwest English city of Manchester , police said Tuesday .
There was panic as Grande ’ s audience of youthful fans fled the 21 , 000 -capacity venue late Monday after what eyewitnesses described as an explosion in the foyer area at the end of the concert .
At least two parents waiting for their children outside were injured by the explosion , with one saying he had been hit by shrapnel in his leg and another feeling “ heat on my neck ” .
Ambulances and bomb disposal teams rushed to the venue , as worried family members searched for their loved ones and residents opened their doors to stranded concert – goers after trains were cancelled .
“ So far 22 people have been confirmed dead , with around 59 others injured . This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise, ” police said in a statement .
British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “ appalling terrorist attack ” and suspended her campaign ahead of a general election on June 8 .
“ All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected , ” said May , who was due to chair an emergency ministerial meeting later on Tuesday at around 0800 GMT .
Grande , who was due to give a concert in London later on Tuesday , said she was “ broken” in a tweet .
“ Broken . From the bottom of my heart , I am so so sorry. I don ’ t have words , ” she wrote .
– ‘ A massive flash ’ –
Police were called to the scene at 2133 GMT .
Manchester Arena said the blast “ took place outside the venue in a public space ”, while police said it was “ within the foyer area of the stadium ”.
The foyer connects the auditorium with Victoria train and tram station , a major transport hub on the northern edge of the city centre .
Gary Walker from Leeds told BBC Radio 5 Live he was hit by shrapnel in his foot and his wife sustained a stomach wound as they waited for their daughters .
“ We heard the last song go and then suddenly there was a massive flash and then a bang and smoke , ” he said .
Isabel Hodgins, an actress who had been attending the concert , told Sky News: “ Everybody was panicking , there was pushing up the stairs .
“ The corridor was full , it smelled of burning , there was quite a lot of smoke as we were leaving .
“ It’ s just shocking and we just feel very shaken up . We ’ re just lucky to have gotten away safely , ” she said .
Majid Khan, 22 , who was attending the concert with his sister, said : “ A huge bomb – like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena ” .
Calvin Welsford, 18 , from Bristol told the BBC: “It almost sounded like a gunshot” .
“ I looked around and people were just spilling down , heading out of the building ” .
“ I was actually having an asthma attack . It was sheer panic , ” he said .
– US ‘ready to assist ’ –
Greater Manchester Police chief Ian Hopkins told reporters that investigators were “ working closely with the national counter terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners ” .
The US Department of Homeland Security , Britain ’ s biggest intelligence partner , said it was “ closely monitoring ” the situation.
“ We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities , ” the department said in a statement .
“ We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the UK in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident , ” it said .
– Pop world rallies –
Tributes poured in for Manchester from around the world including from London mayor Sadiq Khan , whose city was struck by a terror attack just two months ago .
“ Our thoughts are with all those killed and injured tonight and our brave emergency services , ” he said .
The pop world also rallied with Katy Perry tweeting : “ Praying for everyone at Ariana Grande ’ s show” .
US pop princess Taylor Swift, a friend of Grande , wrote : “My thoughts , prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight ” .
In Manchester , residents tweeted with the hashtag # RoomforManchester to offer a place to stay and there were reports of taxis taking passengers for free.
Concerned relatives used the hashtag # MissinginManchester to locate loved ones .
Train services to and from Manchester Victoria Station — located under the Arena — had been cancelled .
“ Disruption is expected to continue until the end of the day , ” National Rail said in a statement .
A few hours after the blast , police carried out a controlled explosion in a small park near the venue a but said the item turned out to be only abandoned clothes.
AFP

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