Sat | Sep 23, 2017

UPDATE: Death toll now at 22, more than 50 injured in Manchester blast

Published:Tuesday | May 23, 2017 | 5:18 AM
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.

The death tally from Monday night's blast at the Manchester Arena in England has now reached 22 and more than 50 people have been injured.

This morning, police offices added to the flowers for the victims of the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert in St Ann's Square, Manchester.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with the bomb attack.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

See the timeline of today's development (UK time):

3:35 p.m.

British police say they have raided two residential areas in Manchester and carried out a controlled explosion at one of them as part of an investigation into Monday's suicide bombing attack at a concert in the city.

At one of the scenes, where armed police raided an apartment Tuesday, heavily armed and helmeted police were guarding what neighbour Asghar Ali said was a "very, very quiet" area. Ali said: "Even if people throw rubbish outside, people complain - never mind this."

Plain-clothes officers wearing gloves removed bags from an apartment.

The leafy residential road in south Manchester, populated by a group of tidy-looking buildings, is less than a mile from the supermarket where police reportedly arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.

Neighbours said the complex of three buildings was a mixed area of students, singles and families, with a large south Asian population.

___

3:15 p.m.
The rapper BIA, who opened for Ariana Grande at Monday's concert in Manchester, says her heart is "broken."

"My heart is heavy today as I extend my prayers to the children and families affected by last night's horrible tragedy in Manchester," the artist says in a statement.

"We are sending our love to all of Manchester during this incredibly difficult time. We ask each one of you to join us in keeping all who are suffering in your thoughts and prayers."

BIA, whose real name is Bianca Landrau, was, along with Victoria Monet, part of Grande's support act for her "Dangerous Woman Tour."

On Twitter, Monet wrote: "I wish I could say that I am OK, but I am not. Safe? Yes, but heartbroken that loved ones who came to have the night of their lives ended up losing them."

___

3:05 p.m.

The United States' top intelligence official says the U.S. government has not yet verified that the Islamic State group is responsible for the Manchester attack.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told Congress that the extremist group frequently claims responsibility for terror attacks.

The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bomb in crowds in the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show Monday night that left 22 people dead. The group warned in a statement on social media that more attacks are to come.

Testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats says though he was aware of the IS claim of responsibility, U.S. authorities hadn't yet verified that.

He says the Manchester attack is a reminder the terrorist threat is real. He says, "It's not going away and it needs significant attention."

___

2:50 p.m.

Pop group Take That says it is cancelling its show in Liverpool, northern England a day after the deadly bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The band says it is postponing the performance "out of respect to all of the people and their families that were affected by the horrific incident last night."

The band was scheduled to play at Manchester Arena, the site of Monday's attack, from Thursday to Saturday. Their representatives say there is no official word yet on whether those shows will go ahead.

Police say the attack killed 22 people and injured 59, including many teenagers.

___

1:55 p.m.

British authorities say an 8-year-old girl, Saffie Roussos, was among the 22 people killed in the Manchester bombing. And an ambulance official says 12 children under the age of 16 were among 59 injured in the attack as people left a pop concert.

___

1:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her conservative ally in Bavaria have called off a pre-election event at a beer tent in Munich following the Manchester attack.

Merkel and Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer had planned to make a joint appearance on Tuesday evening. But Seehofer's Christian Social Union party said the event was postponed out of "respect for the victims" of the attack on an Ariana Grande concert in England.

The event was scheduled as the pair display rediscovered unity after they fell out over Merkel's welcoming approach to refugees in 2015. Germany holds a general election in September.

Police in Manchester say a lone bomber with an improvised device died in the attack. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility and that several bombs were involved.

___

1:25 p.m.

Pope Francis has expressed profound dismay over the "barbaric" attack at a concert in Manchester, England.

A condolence telegram sent in his name says he was "mindful in a particular way" of the many children and young people who perished, as well as their grieving families. He prayed for "God's blessings of peace, healing and strength" upon Britain.

The telegram said Francis expressed "heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this senseless act of violence" and commended the "generous efforts" of emergency and security personnel.

Authorities in Manchester say the bomber was killed in blast. The Islamic State group has claimed one of its "soldiers" was responsible.

___

12:55 p.m.

The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds in Manchester, England, where 22 people died in an explosion.

Police, however, have spoken only of "an improvised device" used in the attack.

IS says "a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings" then detonated them. It did not say whether the attacker was killed.

The group claimed that "30 Crusaders were killed and 70 others were wounded," higher than the totals confirmed by authorities in Manchester.

___

12:45 p.m.

A school in northern England has identified one of the victims in the Manchester concert bombing as Georgina Callander, a former pupil.

Peter Rawlinson, deputy of the Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy in Croston, northwest of Manchester, told The Associated Press that the school confirmed Callander's death with members of her family.

Rawlinson says "she was academically a very gifted student, very hard-working. Just lovely to speak to."

The school posted a photo of Georgina on its website, smiling and look smart in her school uniform. It said she died of injuries from the attack and described her as "a lovely young student who was very popular with her peers and the staff."

___

12:35 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. is working closely with the British government as it investigates the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Tillerson released a statement Tuesday saying that "our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones and to those injured in the attack."

He says: "While it is too early to determine those responsible for this atrocity, we are working closely with the British government and supporting their efforts to investigate and respond to this attack."

___

12:25 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II has expressed her "deepest sympathy" to all those affected by Monday's bomb attack at a Manchester pop concert, where 22 people were killed.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the monarch said "the whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury".

She thanked police and the emergency services, and expressed admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded to the attack: "With humanity and compassion to this act of barbarity."

Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack. Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.


IN PHOTO: Police look at floral tributes left at St Ann's square, Manchester, England Tuesday.
___

12:01 p.m.

Greater Manchester Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the apparent suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

Police say the man was arrested in south Manchester Tuesday, a day after the explosion killed 22 people and injured 59, many of them teenagers.

They did not provide details.

Police also said officials arrested a man at the Arndale shopping centre in central Manchester — but that the arrest is not believed to be connected to Monday night's attack.

___

11:50 a.m.

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni says efforts are underway so that this week's G-7 summit in Sicily will yield a stronger, common anti-terrorism commitment.

Condemning the bombing that killed 22 people in Manchester, England, Gentiloni told reporters Tuesday in Rome that the summit on Friday and Saturday provides the opportunity to insist that "the cowardliness that snuffs out the lives of young people won't get the better of our freedom."

He said Italians can count on the "dedication and professionalism" of their nation's security forces to ensure international events are carried out safely.

He says he planned to call British Prime Minister Theresa May to express "closeness, solidarity" to Britons.

___

11:45 a.m.

Police have evacuated a large shopping centre in Manchester, England. Police declined to comment on media reports that they have arrested a man there.

July McKenzie, who was shopping when the Arndale shopping centre, said: "We were just in the shop and could hear people screaming and security guards telling everybody to get out."

Some people left the scene in tears, while others waited outside the mall.

The Arndale centre was rebuilt after an IRA bombing in 1996.

___

11:35 a.m.

Turkish officials say they "strongly condemn" the attack in Manchester and promised to work together with the United Kingdom against terror. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Turkey "shares the pain of the state of England and the English people" in the attack that killed 22 people.

Turkey has been hit by a string of attacks blamed on the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants since 2015, killing at least 550 people.

___


IN PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May walks with Greater Manchester Police chief constable, Ian Hopkins, at Greater Manchester Police headquarters in Manchester, England, Tuesday.

11:15 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is "beyond doubt" that Britain and the city of Manchester have fallen victim to "a callous terrorist attack."

Speaking outside her offices in London, she says "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."

May says police believe they know the attacker's name but are not disclosing it immediately.

___

11:10 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says police and security staff in Manchester believe they know identity of the apparent suicide bomber who attacked people leaving an Ariana Grande concert Monday night, but they are not revealing the name for the time being.

Speaking in London, May said: "This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice."

She says the attack, in which 22 people died, was one of the worst the nation had suffered.

___

11:00 a.m.

Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has joined the condemnations of the Manchester attack.

In a statement, Khan says: "This is horrific, this is criminal. May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next."

He adds: "I urge all those in the region and around the country to pool together to support those affected."

___

10:55 a.m.

Finance ministers from the 28 European Union countries, including Britain's Philip Hammond, observed a minute's silence in memory of those killed and injured in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Ahead of the regular EU meeting of finance ministers, Hammond expressed his condolences to the victims and their families of "this barbaric attack" in Manchester.

"It is, as far as we know, a terrorist incident," he said. "We are treating it as such."

Hammond, who was due to speak at a panel in Brussels, is to return to London at the meeting's conclusion instead.

Flags are also flying at half-staff outside the European Commission in the heart of the Belgian capital.

___

10:40 a.m.

France's interior minister says the government will be issuing instructions Tuesday to regional administrators on working with event organiser's on how to secure public spaces.

After a high-level security meeting in Paris Tuesday, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said organiser's of sports events, concerts and other performances already had a series of instructions on how to secure their venues. Collomb said France's airports have also been secured.

France has been on heightened alert since the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks that struck a concert, the national stadium and cafes and bars.

Early Tuesday, the Paris mayor's office said all shows and concerts scheduled in coming days are going ahead as planned. Ariana Grande is scheduled to perform in Paris on June 7.

___

10:30 a.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Britain in the wake of a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

In Tuesday's telegram to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Putin offered condolences over what he called a "cynical, inhuman crime" and wishes for a quick recovery of all those hurt.

Putin reaffirmed Russia's readiness to "expand anti-terror cooperation with British partners, both on bilateral level and within the framework of broad international efforts."

Britain and other NATO allies have cut cooperation with Moscow on fighting terrorism over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an explosive device at the end of the concert, killing 22 people.