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Manchester police hunt for accomplices after concert blast

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/23/2017 By JILL LAWLESS, ROB HARRIS and SYLVIA HUI, Associated Press

Members of the Manchester Sikh Community attend a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Members of the Manchester Sikh Community attend a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
© The Associated Press
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — As investigators hunted for possible accomplices of a suicide bomber, thousands of people poured into the streets of Manchester in a vigil Tuesday for victims of a blast that bathed a pop concert in blood — the latest apparent battle-scarred target of Islamic extremists seeking to rattle daily life in the West.

A sign is seen with flowers and candles after a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press A sign is seen with flowers and candles after a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The attack left at least 22 dead, including an 8-year-old girl, shattering the revelry at the close of a show by American singer Ariana Grande, where strains of electric pop and the sways of innocent young fans quickly gave way to an explosion, a flood of screams and a stampede of panicked concert-goers, many clutching pink balloons and wearing the kitten-ear headbands popularized by Grande.

A fan is comforted as she leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England Tuesday May 23 2017. Over a dozen of people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press A fan is comforted as she leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England Tuesday May 23 2017. Over a dozen of people were killed in an explosion following a Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena late Monday evening. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Touching on that disconnect, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "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."

People sit under a billboard in Manchester city centre, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) © The Associated Press People sit under a billboard in Manchester city centre, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the horror, which also wounded 59 people, though a top American intelligence official said the assertion could not be verified. Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who authorities said died in the attack. Police raided two sites in the northern English city, setting off a controlled explosion in one, and arresting a 23-year-old man in a third location.

Police offices add to the flowers for the victims of Monday night pop concert explosion, in St Ann's Square, Manchester, Tuesday May 23, 2017. A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with Monday's Manchester concert bomb attack. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left over 20 people dead and dozens injured. ( Martin Rickett/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Police offices add to the flowers for the victims of Monday night pop concert explosion, in St Ann's Square, Manchester, Tuesday May 23, 2017. A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with Monday's Manchester concert bomb attack. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left over 20 people dead and dozens injured. ( Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

Abedi was identified as a British citizen of Libyan descent by a European security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on ongoing investigations. There was no information released on the man who was arrested.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip observe a minute's silence, at the start of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left over 20 people dead and dozens injured. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool Photo via AP) © The Associated Press Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip observe a minute's silence, at the start of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left over 20 people dead and dozens injured. (Dominic Lipinski/Pool Photo via AP)

At least 20 heavily armed, helmeted police surrounded a modest red brick house listed as Abedi's address in a mixed Manchester suburb at midday on Tuesday and blasted down the door.

Helpers attend to injured people inside the Manchester Arena, Manchester, Britain, after a blast Monday, May 22, 2017. An apparent suicide bomber attacked an Ariana Grande concert as it ended Monday night, killing over a dozen of people among a panicked crowd of young concertgoers. (PA via AP) © The Associated Press Helpers attend to injured people inside the Manchester Arena, Manchester, Britain, after a blast Monday, May 22, 2017. An apparent suicide bomber attacked an Ariana Grande concert as it ended Monday night, killing over a dozen of people among a panicked crowd of young concertgoers. (PA via AP)

"It was so quick. These cars just pulled up and all these police with guns, dogs, jumped out of the car and said to us: 'Get in the house now,'" said Simon Turner, 46, who lives nearby. Later, forensic officers in white coveralls were seen going in and out of the property.

A police forensic investigator walks along a bridge linking Victoria Station with the Manchester Arena Tuesday, May 23, 2017 after an explosion during a concert on Monday, in Manchester, England. Police say they are treating an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert as terrorism. The blast killed over a dozen people. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A police forensic investigator walks along a bridge linking Victoria Station with the Manchester Arena Tuesday, May 23, 2017 after an explosion during a concert on Monday, in Manchester, England. Police say they are treating an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert as terrorism. The blast killed over a dozen people. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)
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Details on Abedi were slow to trickle out. He was described by neighbors as a tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress, but few said they knew him well.

Mother Amy Trippitt and her daughter Grace, who attended the concert in Manchester, Britain, Tuesday May 23, 2017, a day after an explosion. An apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device that killed over a dozen people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, Manchester police said Tuesday. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Mother Amy Trippitt and her daughter Grace, who attended the concert in Manchester, Britain, Tuesday May 23, 2017, a day after an explosion. An apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device that killed over a dozen people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, Manchester police said Tuesday. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

Alan Kinsey, 52, who lives across the street, said his neighbor would often get picked up by another young man in a Toyota and often returned late at night. "I thought he worked in a takeaway or something" because of his late hours, Kinsey said.

A fan leaves with parents at the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England Tuesday May 23 2017. An apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device that killed over a dozen people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on Monday, Manchester police said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press A fan leaves with parents at the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester, England Tuesday May 23 2017. An apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device that killed over a dozen people at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on Monday, Manchester police said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Police also searched an apartment in a nearby area that British media reported belonged to Abedi's brother, Ismail.

Police officers stand next to their vehicles near the Manchester Arena after a blast at Ariana Grande concert Tuesday May 23, 2017. An explosion struck the concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England, killing more than a dozen of people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Police officers stand next to their vehicles near the Manchester Arena after a blast at Ariana Grande concert Tuesday May 23, 2017. An explosion struck the concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England, killing more than a dozen of people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Late Tuesday, thousands of people, some holding up signs proclaiming "I Love MCR" — an abbreviation for Manchester — held a moment of silence at a vigil for the victims. Lord Mayor Eddy Newman and the city's police chief were among the speakers in front of City Hall in Albert Square. A banner with a website for a Muslim group said "Love for all, Hatred for None."

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Armed police work after an explosion at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Armed police work after an explosion at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Monday's bombing made Manchester Arena, one of the largest indoor concert venues in Europe, the latest apparent target of Islamic extremists striking at the heart of Western culture, an ideology baffling to the panicked young faces emerging from the concert.

Armed police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Armed police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Among those confirmed killed was Georgina Callander, whose death was reported by her former school, which posted a photo of her in her school uniform on its website and described her as a "lovely" and "very popular" young woman. Also killed was 8-year-old Saffie Roussos, who a teacher called "simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word" who was warm, kind, "and unassuming, with a creative flair."

Armed police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Armed police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Besides the dead, the wounded included at least 12 children under the age of 16, hospital officials said.

Police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Grande, who was not injured in the blast, tweeted: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."

Armed police respond after reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at the concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) © The Associated Press Armed police respond after reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at the concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

The bombing took place after Grande closed the show with "Dangerous Woman" and left the stage and the audience streamed toward the city's main train station. It scattered bolts and other metal scraps, apparently intended to maximize the bloodshed. People tumbled over guardrails and one another clawing toward an escape.

Police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) © The Associated Press Police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

"There was this massive bang. And then everyone just went really quiet. And that's when the screaming started," said 25-year-old Ryan Molloy. "As we came outside to Victoria Station, there were just people all over the floor covered in blood."

A police officer with a sniffer dog patrols near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP) © The Associated Press A police officer with a sniffer dog patrols near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police said Tuesday was being treated as a terrorist attack. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

The attack sparked a nightlong search for loved-ones — parents for the children they had accompanied or had been waiting to pick up, and friends for each other after groups were scattered by the blast. Twitter and Facebook lit up with heartbreaking appeals for the missing.

Map locates Manchester Arena in Manchester, England; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm; © The Associated Press Map locates Manchester Arena in Manchester, England; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;
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"I've called the hospitals. I've called all the places, the hotels where people said that children have been taken and I've called the police," Charlotte Campbell tearfully told ITV television's Good Morning Britain breakfast show. Campbell's 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, had attended the show with a friend who was wounded and being treated in a hospital.

"She's not turned up," Campbell said of her daughter. "We can't get through to her."

Hayley Lunt, who brought her 10-year-old daughter Abigail to the show, her very first concert, said they ran as fast as they could once the explosions rang out. "What should have been a superb evening," Lunt said, "is now just horrible."

Some concert-goers said security had been haphazard before the show, with some people being searched and others not. However, authorities would not say whether the bomber blew himself up inside or outside the arena, so it wasn't clear if rigorous bag screening or additional security would have helped prevent the deaths and injuries. The venue tweeted on Monday night that it happened "outside the venue in a public space."

Around the United Kingdom and across Europe, the attack brought fear and mourning.

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At Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II marked a moment of silence along her husband Prince Philip as well as Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. In Rome, the lights of the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain were darkened.

U.S. President Donald Trump, on a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, called the perpetrators "evil losers" and said "this wicked ideology must be obliterated."

Manchester, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northwest of London, is one of Britain's largest cities. The attack was the deadliest in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 London commuters on subway trains and a bus in 2005.

Islamic State's claim of responsibility echoed others the group has made for attacks in the West but with vague details that left open the possibility it was an opportunistic attempt at propaganda. Manchester itself has seen terror before, but not this deadly. The city was hit by a huge Irish Republican Army bomb in 1996 that leveled a swath of the city center. More than 200 people were injured, although no one was killed.

The bombing also elicited painful memories of the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, where most of the 130 killed were at the Bataclan concert hall.

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Hui reported from London. Contributing to this report were Gregory Katz, Brian Rohan, Paisley Dodds and Sophie Berman in London; John Leicester and Lori Hinnant in Paris; Eric Tucker in Washington; and Matt Sedensky in New York.

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