News and Commentary

22 Dead In Suicide Attack At UK Concert; Islamic State Claims Blast

Update 8:35 AM ET, Tuesday, May 23:

At least 22 people, children among them, died in a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Britain’s Manchester Arena late Monday night.

The Islamic State group on Tuesday said one of its members “planted bombs in the middle of crowds,” the Associated Press reported.

According to police, the bomber died when he detonated an improvised explosive device near one of the arena’s exits at 10:33 p.m. local time (5:33 p.m. ET) on Monday. Another 59 people were injured, several from the pandemonium that ensued as concert goers rushed to flee the scene.

Police arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester on Tuesday morning in connection with the bombing. Prime Minister Theresa May also said the authorities believe they know the identity of the man who carried out the bombing.

May said “many” children were among the dead and injured.

“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage,” she said.

The first confirmed fatality was Georgina Callender, 18. She was an Ariana Grande “superfan” from Lancashire who in 2015 met her idol and posed for pictures with her. An 8-year-old girl was also known dead but her name has not been released.

President Trump says the attack preyed on “innocent children,” adding “This wicked ideology must be obliterated. And I mean completely obliterated.”

Update 5:55 PM PT:

Friends and families of concert-goers are desperately asking the public for help locating missing children that may have been at the concert. Ariana Grande, the concert’s headliner, usually attracts younger crowds. A high proportion of teenagers and children may be among the dead.

Update 5:45 PM PT:

Update 5:35 PM PT:

Police say a second explosive device has been found. Journalists and bystanders are being told to evacuate the scene immediately. The bomb squad appears to be getting ready for a controlled explosion.

Update 5:30 PM PT:

There were two explosions at Manchester Arena, according to CBS News. Witnesses say that concert-goers were hit by shrapnel. U.K. officials say that the explosive devices contained nails.

Update 5:20 PM PT:

British police are now saying that 19 people have been killed and another 55 others have been injured, some critically. Initial reports estimated the number of casualties to be higher.

Update 5:15 PM PT:

U.S. officials suspect that a backpack bomb may have been used in the incident, according to NBC News. Additionally, U.S. officials claim that some injuries may have been caused by the stampede of panicked concert-goers rushing out of Manchester Arena.

Update 5:10 PM PT:

U.S. officials have confirmed that counter-terrorism units in the U.K. believe that the explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber, according to NBC News. If true, then all signs are beginning to point to Islamist jihadism. Suicide bombings at big social gatherings and religious shrines have been carried out by ISIS militants in Egypt, Iraq, and other volatile regions of the Middle East. Manchester may seem like a different world, but individuals inspired by the Islamic State have previously targeted sites throughout Europe, including Berlin, Paris, and London.

Update 4:50 PM PT:

The BBC is reporting that law enforcement officials are treating the incident as a possible terror related incident.

Video that reportedly includes audio of the explosion has also surfaced:

You can hear the Manchester explosion in this video. Sounds far away and yet audibly substantial.

— neontaster (@neontaster) May 22, 2017

Reports are emerging that this was an attack utilizing nail bombs:

New details also suggest this was not a pyrotechnic accident:

A number of the issues were caused by stampede as well:


Late Monday, an explosion reportedly went off at a concert venue in Manchester, United Kingdom at which pop star Ariana Grande was performing. Video footage taken at the Manchester Arena shows hundreds of people screaming and running for their lives. Police have confirmed that at least 20 have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured.

The fatality rate is consistent with a large-scale terror operation, however the perpetrators and motive of the attack are unknown at this time.

Here is a witness describing events:

Witness at Manchester Arena describes scenes of “chaos” as people rushed to leave after “huge bang”

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 22, 2017

Greater Manchester Police are telling people to stay away from the concert hall as bomb disposal units arrive to the site of the blast.

As The Daily Beast’s national editor points out, the explosion occurred in the foyer of the concert hall, rendering the possibility that some sort of mechanical failure triggered the explosion unlikely. Early indications suggest that the explosion was deliberate.

This story will be updated further as more information becomes available.