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Manchester Explosion Was Likely a Suicide Attack; Children Among the 22 Killed

Variety logo Variety 5/23/2017 Henry Chu

British authorities said Tuesday that the deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester was likely a suicide bombing and that children were among the 22 people who were killed. At least 59 others were injured.

Ian Hopkins, chief constable of the Greater Manchester Police, said initial findings indicate that the presumed terrorist attack “was conducted by one man” who was found dead at the scene at the Manchester Arena. “The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of the network,” Hopkins told reporters.

“This is a complex and wide-ranging investigation,” he said, adding that more than 400 officers were deployed on the security operation and investigation. The area around the arena and Manchester’s busy Victoria train station remained cordoned off.

No statement of responsibility has yet been issued by an individual or group. If the explosion proves to be a suicide bombing, it would be the first attack of this type in Britain since several terrorists blew themselves up in a coordinated assault on the London transport system in 2005, killing more than 50 people.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she would be attending a meeting of Prime Minister Theresa May’s emergency response committee Tuesday morning.

“This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society: young people, children out at a pop concert,” Rudd said. “Its intention was to sow fear; its intention was to divide. But it will not succeed.”

British political leaders, gearing up for a June 8 national election, have suspended campaigning temporarily.

Manchester has experienced terrorism before. In 1996, a bomb planted by the IRA caused heavy destruction in the city, but remarkably, no one was killed, though more than 200 people were injured.

“This was an evil act,” said Andy Burnham, the newly elected mayor of Manchester. “We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.”

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