A night out at a concert in Manchester, England ended in horror and chaos for many parents and children who went to see Ariana Grande’s performance. So far, 22 have been killed and at least 59 have been injured in the terrorist attack. We now know that a suicide bomber blew himself up as the concert was ending around 10:30pm and people were exiting the arena.
Though not yet formally identifited, the suspected bomber is believed to be 22-year-old Salman Abedi. Although British, Abedi is of Libyan ancestry and had clear ties to al Qaeda and had also traveled abroad for terrorist training, according to U.S. intelligence officials. In fact, Abedi visited multiple countries in the last 12 months, including Libya. The fanatic Islamic group ISIS claimed credit immediately afterwards, but officials have not yet linked Abedi to ISIS. Some of Abedi’s own family members have turned him in to British authorities in the past, saying he was dangerous and posed a risk. Abedi was known to British police and intelligence services.
Grande herself was not physically injured in the attack as the detonation took place near the ticket office, far away from the stage where she had just concluded the performance. Monday evening, Ariana Grande arrived back in the United States, landing in Boca Raton, Florida. She was greeted by family and friends who tried to comfort the 23-year-old singing sensation, who says she is broken and devastated by the attack. A source close to the family said that Grande is crushed by the devastation and can’t believe this happened to the fans she so adores.
In light of the attack, Grande’s tour team will assess whether to continue the Dangerous Woman Tour, but says that now is the time to focus on the victims of the attack rather than any news about the tour. Grande was slated to travel from the Manchester venue to London’s O2 arena to perform on Thursday and Friday, but plans are unclear.
Officials now know that the bomb detonated by Abedi was very sophisticated and included materials very difficult to obtain in Britain. Therefore, officials are concluding that Abedi most likely had help building the bomb and planning the attack, and are concerned that he may be part of a terrorist cell.
British Prime Minister Theresa May elevated Britain’s threat level to “critical”, and is concerned about further attacks. Armed military police have replaced police.
The attack is the deadliest United Kingdom attack in over a decade. In 2005, multiple suicide bombers killed over 50 people on three subway trains.
The youngest victim in the latest attack was eight years old. Parents who did not attend the concert and who had not heard from their children frantically tried to get into the arena, call hospitals and authorities, and do anything they could do to locate their children.