[A] suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through through fans leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
Some 59 people were also injured in the blast when the attacker, now named by GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins as Salman Abedi, 22, detonated an improvised explosive device shortly after Grande had finished her performance on Monday night.
GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins this morning said: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.
“Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives. Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones. We continue to do all we can to support them. They are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.
“This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester as they wake up to news of the events last night. This will include armed officers as people would expect. More than 400 officers have been involved in this operation during the night.
“To remind you, we were called at 10.33pm to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert. More than 240 calls came in and emergency services were very quickly on scene. Emergency numbers have been established for anyone who is concerned for loved ones who may not have returned home 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.
“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.
“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.
“We would ask people not to speculate on his details or to share names. There is a complex and wide ranging investigation underway.
“Our priority is to work with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the individual who carried out this attack.
“We have received tremendous support from across the police services and partner agencies throughout the night.
“We regularly carry out exercises to test our ability to respond to such incidents and this has ensured a very swift response from local and national agencies. I want to thank all those members of the emergency services and other agencies who have worked tirelessly through the night in very difficult circumstances. Their response has been outstanding.
“There remains a large cordon in place around Manchester Arena and Victoria Train Station which will be in place for some time. The station will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway. People should plan their route to work and follow Transport for Greater Manchester for updates on social media.
“Terrorists attempt to disrupt our lives and create distrust and fear in communities. We have a long history in Greater Manchester of communities standing together during difficult times. In the coming days we will be working closely with community leaders to address any issues.
“It is important that we all continue to remain vigilant, but also to go about our daily lives. We would ask people to be alert and report any suspicious activity to police on the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321 or dialling 999.
“As people are waking up to this tragic news on what is a sad day for Greater Manchester, the officers and staff from Greater Manchester Police and the other emergency services will continue to do all they can to help get us through the difficult days ahead.”
In an update this evening Chief Constable Ian Hopkins added: “Can I start by once again passing on our heartfelt sympathies to all the innocent people caught up in last night’s despicable act.
“We now have a team of specially-trained Family Liaison Officers who are supporting families.
“There has been much speculation and names of those who may have been killed in the media and social media. We accept that this is inevitable however we ask that people allow the police and coroner to release the names once the families are ready and appropriately supported.
“As you would expect the police response to this across Greater Manchester has been significant as we support people to go about their daily business.
“Part of this response has seen us arrest a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack and we have also carried out two warrants, one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield that included a controlled explosion to enable safe entry.
“We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers. However, now, more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.
““We have been visited by the Prime Minster and Home Secretary and we have taken them through the emergency response so far and what we plan to do in future days.
“I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. However, he has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further.
“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”
At approx. 23.00 last night, Penrith BEEP Fund Doctor Theo Weston was called by NWAS to attend and assist with the emergency response to the dreadful events in Manchester last night; he and another NWAS Paramedic drove to the incident & helped out at the scene for several hours treating those injured in this tragedy, returning back to Penrith by 05.30.
Theo said: “On behalf of BASICS NW our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to all those injured and the relatives/friends of those killed in this appalling attack.”
Cumbria Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Sean Robinson said: “The thoughts of all officers and staff at Cumbria Constabulary are with all those affected by last night’s events in Manchester.
“Our officers and staff will do all they can to support colleagues at Greater Manchester Police and assist with the investigation as and when required.
“Public safety, as always, remains our priority. We will continue to work closely with our communities to help us make Cumbria a safe place to live, work and visit, and ask people to let us know if they have any suspicions.
“We have robust systems in place for policing events and work with organisers to prioritise the safety of attendees.
“There is no place for hate crime in our country, and in Cumbria, and it will not be tolerated.”
A message from Her Majesty The Queen to the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester:
The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.
I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.
I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care.
And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.
Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement in Downing Street following the terrorist attack in Manchester.
She said: “I have just chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee COBR, where we discussed the details of – and the response to – the appalling events in Manchester last night.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and the families and friends of all those affected.
“It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester, and of this country, have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack – an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.
“This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom. And although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.
“The police and security services are working at speed to establish the complete picture, but I want to tell you what I can at this stage.
“At 10:33pm last night, the police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena, in Manchester city centre, near Victoria train station.
“We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately. The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert, which was attended by many young families and groups of children.
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice – deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
“As things stand, I can tell you that in addition to the attacker, 22 people have died and 59 people have been injured. Those who were injured are being treated in 8 different hospitals across Greater Manchester. Many are being treated for life-threatening conditions. And we know that among those killed and injured were many children and young people.
“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.
“But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future, to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence, and if there turn out to be others responsible for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice.
“The police and security services believe that the attack was carried out by one man, but they now need to know whether he was acting alone or as part of a wider group. It will take some time to establish these facts, and the investigation will continue. The police and security services will be given all the resources they need to complete that task.
“The police and security services believe they know the identity of the perpetrator, but at this stage of their investigations we cannot confirm his name.
The police and emergency services have – as always – acted with great courage and on behalf of the country I want to express our gratitude to them. They acted in accordance with the plans they have in place and the exercises they conduct to test those plans, and they performed with the utmost professionalism.
“Four hundred police officers were involved in the operation through the night, and many paramedics, doctors and nurses have worked valiantly – amid traumatic and terrible scenes – to save lives and care for the wounded.
“Significant resources have been deployed to the police investigation and there continue to be visible patrols around Manchester, which include the deployment of armed officers.
“For people who live and work in Manchester, there remains a large cordon in place around Manchester Arena and Victoria Station, which will be in place for some time. The station is closed and will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway.
“We know that many friends and relatives of people caught up in the attack are still trying to find out what has happened to their children, brothers and sisters, parents, and loved ones.
“So please think of those people who are experiencing unimaginable worry, and if you have any information at all relating to the attack, please contact Greater Manchester Police.
“The threat level remains at severe. That means that a terrorist attack remains highly likely. But the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which sets the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available to them, will continue to assess this throughout today and in the days ahead.
“Later today, I will travel to Manchester to meet the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and members of the emergency services who have come to Manchester’s aid in its moment of need.
“And – as I announced last night – the general election campaign has been suspended. I will chair another meeting of COBR later today.
“At terrible moments like these it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true.
“For as so often, while we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best.
“The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together.
“And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember.
“The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help.
“Of the men and women of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives.
“Of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims.
“For they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain – a spirit that, through years of conflict and terrorism, has never been broken. And will never be broken.
“There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work.
“And we all – every single one of us – stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time.
“And today, let us remember those who died and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win – and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail.”
Home Secretary, Amber Rudd said: “I know that some people will only just be waking up to the news of the horrific attacks in Manchester last night.
“This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively – they have done an excellent job.
“Later on this morning, I will be attending COBRa, chaired by the Prime Minister, to collect more information – to find out more – about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment.
“The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police.
“But I have two further things to add.
“The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.
“This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society – its intention was to sow fear – its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Cressida Dick, said: “This is an utterly appalling attack. My thoughts are with the people of Manchester as they try to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in their city last night. Our colleagues from Greater Manchester Police and their emergency services showed huge bravery as they ran towards the confusion and danger.
“We are providing every possible support through the counter terrorism network as investigators work tirelessly to understand what has happened.
“Here in the Capital we put extra police officers on duty as Londoners started their journeys into work. This will continue for as long as it is needed, and the mix of armed and unarmed officers are there to reassure.
“Looking ahead to the weekend – a normal busy and vibrant weekend in our city – we are working with all those planning events to make sure we are doing all we can.
“Terrorists seek to spread fear and undermine our way of life. We must work together to stop that from happening. If you have suspicions, tell us; if you see something that concerns you, report it. Together we can protect London.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “We know our communities will be concerned following the tragic events in Manchester overnight which has seen 22 people killed and many more injured.
“Our thoughts and condolences are with all those who have been affected.
“The incident is being treated as terrorism by Greater Manchester Police.
“The national threat level currently remains at ‘severe’ and there is nothing to suggest there is any specific threat to our communities in Northumbria.
“Extra patrols will be on patrol, including armed officers, in high footfalls areas such as the city centres and around transport hubs as they have done since last year. Members of the public should not be concerned about the patrols, they are not in response to any specific threat but are there to reassure members of the public of the security measures we have in place to help protect them and keep them safe.
“Neighbourhood officers and community engagement teams throughout the force will be speaking to local community groups to offer reassurance. We will be holding a meeting with local authorities and emergency services, this afternoon, chaired by Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best, so that we can respond to the events in Manchester and provide an effective response for upcoming events in our own area.”
Commenting on last night’s attack in Manchester, the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police, Dave Jones, said: “This morning we woke to the tragic news of what is being treated as a terrorist attack in Manchester. Twenty two victims are now known to have died and at least 50 have been injured in an attack on Manchester Arena.
“There is no intelligence to suggest that there has been any change in the level of threat here in North Yorkshire.
“Still, I would like to reassure the public that we will continue to maintain a visible police presence across North Yorkshire today. Our officers are providing support to Greater Manchester Police and neighbouring forces in any way that we can.
“An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones in Manchester – this is 0161 856 9400.
“If you have any images or footage from last night that you believe could assist Greater Manchester Police then please upload them to ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk
“We also continue to ask the public to be vigilant and to report anything that they deem to be suspicious immediately by telling a police officer, by calling 101 or by calling the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. Always call 999 in an emergency or for immediate assistance.”
“On behalf of North Yorkshire Police I would like express my deepest sympathy to those affected by last night’s tragic events.
“Our sympathies go out to those who have lost loved ones, or who have suffered as a result of this barbaric attack.
“Also, our thoughts go out to colleagues at Greater Manchester Police and other emergency services who have worked tirelessly throughout the night and into this morning in very difficult circumstances.”
Members of the public are reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police or by calling the Anti-Hotline on 0800 789 321 or visit www.gov.uk/ACT
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross said: “British Red Cross staff and volunteers are providing practical and emotional support to people affected by last night’s attack at a reception centre at the Etihad stadium in Manchester.
“We are also providing ambulance support to local hospitals.
“We are on standby to provide additional support to the emergency response as needed, and we are in regular contact with the Local Authority.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those affected by this terrible attack.”
If you have any images or footage from last night that you believe can assist us then upload them to Ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk