British police today said they have arrested a 23-year old man in connection with a suicide bomb attack in Manchester which killed 22 people and injured dozens at a British concert by US singer Ariana Grande.
“With regards to last night’s incident at the Manchester Arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester,” Greater Manchester Police said on Twitter on Tuesday.
The arrest came shortly after a major shopping centre in the northern English city – which remains on high alert – was reopened after it was temporarily evacuated following reports of a big bang heard inside.
Earlier today, a separate Reuters witness reported scores of people running from the Arndale shopping centre, with some saying they had heard a big bang.
Monday’s attack was the deadliest in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in 2005. But it will have reverberations far beyond British shores.
Attacks in cities including Paris, Nice, Brussels, St Petersburg, Berlin and London have shocked Europeans already anxious over security challenges from mass immigration and pockets of domestic Islamist radicalism.
The Islamic State militant group has called for attacks as retaliation for Western involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has called the terror strike a “sickening act” which targetted children and young people.
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly… 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,” May said outside her Downing Street office in London. “The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together.”
US President Donald Trump described the attack as the work of “evil losers”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it “will only strengthen our resolve to…work with our British friends against those who plan and carry out such inhumane deeds.”
EYEWITNESSES RECOUNT HORROR
Witnesses related the horror of the Manchester blast, which unleashed a stampede just as the concert ended at what is Europe’s largest indoor arena, full to a capacity of 21,000.
A source with knowledge of the situation said the bomber’s explosives were packed with metal and bolts. At least 19 of those wounded were in a critical condition, the source said.
A video posted on Twitter showed fans, many of them young, screaming and running from the venue. Dozens of parents frantically searched for their children, posting photos and pleading for information on social media.
“We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming,” concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters. “It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest.”
Singer Ariana Grande, 23, said on Twitter: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”
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