Manchester Arena blast: 19 dead and about 50 injured

Police and other emergency services are seen near the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion
Police and other emergency services are seen near the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion

Nineteen people have been killed and about 50 injured in a suspected terror attack at Manchester Arena.

Police were called to reports of an explosion at the venue at about 22:35 BST following a pop concert by the US singer Ariana Grande.

The cause of the blast is unknown but North West Counter Terrorism unit is treating it as a possible terrorist incident, sources have told the BBC.

Greater Manchester Police is working to set up a contact number for relatives.

Officers have told the BBC there is a second suspect device near where the first explosion occurred.

Reporters were moved away from the scene and a controlled explosion has taken place.

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent Daniel Sandford said senior counter-terrorism officers were assembling in London and liaising with the Home Office.

British Transport Police say the explosion was in the foyer area of Manchester Arena.

Manchester Victoria station, which is close to the concert venue, has been closed and all trains cancelled.

‘Screaming and running’

The BBC’s Tim Ashburner, who is at the scene, spoke to some volunteer paramedics who treated the injured for “shrapnel-like injuries”.

A number of eyewitnesses have described the confusion in the aftermath.

Andy Holey, who had gone to the arena to pick up his wife and daughter who had been at the concert, said: “As I was waiting, an explosion went off and it threw me about 30ft from one set of doors to the other set of doors.

“When I got up I saw bodies lying on the ground. My first thought was to go into the arena to try to find my family.

“When I couldn’t find them, I went outside with the police and fire and looked through some of the bodies to try and find my wife and daughter.

“I managed to find them eventually and they’re OK.

“It was definitely an explosion and it was some force. It happened near the box office at the entrance to the Arena.”

At the scene: Tom Mullen BBC News

The police activity around the arena has been huge. There are blue flashing lights and cordons seemingly on almost every street corner.

A wide area around the venue itself has been completely taped off, and the crime scene appears to be widening, with police pushing people further and further back.

I’ve spoken to people who are shaken, scared and often tearful. One thing that’s apparent is there are many, many young people, some of them with parents or guardians. One mother told me her priority was simply to get her daughters home.

Other people have been more candid and have described seeing people covered in blood, or being treated by paramedics. There’s still a huge sense of confusion and people are constantly searching for information while letting their families know they’re safe.

Robert Tempkin, 22, from Middlesbrough, said: “Everyone was screaming and running, there were coats and people’s phones on the floor. People just dropped everything.

“Some people were screaming they’d seen blood but other people were saying it was balloons busting or a speaker had been popped.

“There were lots of ambulances. I saw somebody being treated. I couldn’t tell what had happened to him.”

“A bang went off and everyone stopped and screamed… we basically hit the deck,” he said

“It was bedlam… it was horrific.

“We got up when we thought it was safe and got out as quickly as possible.

“People were just crying and in tears… police cars were everywhere.

“We just wanted to get out as quickly as possible because we didn’t know what was going on.”

The background – Ian Youngs, BBC News entertainment reporter

Manchester Arena, formerly known as the MEN Arena, is the biggest indoor venue in the city with a capacity of around 18,000 for concerts.

The arena foyer connects with Victoria train and tram station, a major hub on the northern edge of the city centre.

The arena regularly hosts concerts by major stars like Ariana Grande – a 23-year-old American TV teen actress-turned-pop star.

She’s a big draw for young fans, with hits including Problem, featuring Iggy Azalea, which hit number one in the UK in 2014; and Side To Side, featuring Nicki Minaj, which reached number four last year.

She’s currently on a European tour – she’s already played Birmingham and Dublin and is due to be at the O2 Arena in London on Wednesday and Thursday.

Michelle Sullivan, from Huddersfield, was attending the concert with her daughters, aged 12 and 15.

“It was really scary,” she said. “Just as the lights have gone down we heard a really loud explosion… Everybody screamed.

“When we got out they just said ‘keep on running, keep on running’.”

Pat Carney, Manchester City Council’s spokesman for the city centre, said the city’s thoughts were with the families of those killed and injured.

“It’s a very easy target – a concert hall where young people are enjoying music,” he said.

“The public are really co-operating by staying away from what is basically now a crime site.

“The world we live in, police and the council have emergency procedures that we practise all the time.

“Obviously everyone in the city is shocked, having seen how young some of these people are

“The police are treating it as a live site, we don’t know if this is the end or there are other incidents in that area… we don’t know at the moment.”

Within an hour of reports of the incident emerging, people began offering spare rooms and beds to people stranded in the city using the hashtag #RoomForManchester.

Hundreds of tweets offering places to stay are being shared and re-tweeted thousands of times.




23 responses to “Manchester Arena blast: 19 dead and about 50 injured”

  1. man-o-war Avatar

    Daeshbag cowards attacking innocent children. Can’t wait for the day al Baghdadi is drug through the streets by his filthy beard.

    Hey @btru2u what do you have to say about this cowardly strike? The kids deserved it?

    1. Niemals Avatar

      @btru2u probably will say; “Only Allah can guide people to the truth. And he leaves to stray in sin and kufr whom he wills.
      Arrogance will be most peoples downfall , and humble repentance to the almighty will lead to guidance and salvation”, or “Don’t let anyone poison you with lies!”

      The important thing to remember is if this is a Muslim terror attack the real victims will be Muslims because of the ensuing Islamophobia the attack will spawn.
      [Information Liberation]

    2. Danny Farah Avatar
      Danny Farah

      It’s time for Britain to reconsider it’s lax policy toward these animals. it’s time to declare war on these monsters. I would go as far as put them a room full of explosives with Nails and let them scream Allah Akbar until hell freezes over.

      1. man-o-war Avatar

        I’m pretty sure that Britain doesn’t have a lax policy towards daesh. If you’re trying to lump these terrorist in with all Muslims you’re wrong and we strongly disagree.

        I do agree in putting all these coward jihadi daeshbags in a room full of pigs and explosives.

        1. Britain (and Europe in general) have for decades pursued an extremely lax policy towards Islamism, especially of the homegrown variety. It is starting to change now, for obvious rerasons, but not swiftly and not systematically enough.

          1. man-o-war Avatar

            Why wouldn’t they have a lax policy towards Islamism? Islam is a religion that’s practiced by hundreds of thousands of British citizens (maybe millions). Maybe you mean they’ve been lax in regards to Islamic extremist ideology?

            I do agree that they do seem to allow hateful jihadi preaching Muslims to freely spread hate speech. For example, anjem choudary, he was allowed for years to spew hate speech and extremist ideology on the streets of Britain. Luckily he’s in jail now and in isolation so he doesn’t spread daesh ideology to other prisoners.

          2. “Why wouldn’t they have a lax policy towards Islamism”
            Because Islamism is antithetical to their societal values. And it’s by no means limited to “Daesh” which is a very recent invention.

          3. man-o-war Avatar

            So do you think that no western country should allow Muslims in? Countries that claim to be modern and believe in freedom of religion and speech have to allow all religions to practice freely as long as it is within the confines of that countries laws.

            I’m just not sure what societal values you’re referring to. Care to explain?

            “Daesh” is a recent invention in name alone. The extremist ideology has always been around within the Islamic religion.

          4. Niemals Avatar

            Do the Unthinkable, western country should not allow Muslims in Muslims if they practicing sharia.

            Muslims that claim to be modern should live according to laws of the modern countries with freedom of religion.

            The modern countries can’t allow the free practice of sharia believers, since it is not within the confines of that countries laws.

            In Switzerland they decided to deny such Muslims a Swiss Citizenship.

          5. man-o-war Avatar

            I agree that Sharia law shouldn’t trump a countries existing laws. As far as I know that doesn’t happen in western countries. A Muslim can claim the only law they follow is Sharia law all they want, but they will find out in court that the law of the land will override their Sharia law.

            Banning people based on their religion is wrong and is a slippery slope. They should take an oath that the law of the land is the law they must follow, not Sharia. If they are not willing to then by all means don’t allow them entry.

            What about the Jewish court in London? Or the Modesty patrol in Brooklyn? Where do you cross the line? Lots of other religions hold on to their values and traditions wherever they live.

          6. Niemals Avatar

            I don’t know anything about the Jewish court in London, nor the Modesty patrol in Brooklyn.

            I cross the line when it put my security at risk.

            Lots of other religions hold on to their values and traditions wherever they live without harming our community.

            I don’t like when #Saudi citizen living in #UK (or any other countries). says, “any ‘liberal’ who criticizes #Islam or #Sharia should be killed.”

        2. Danny Farah Avatar
          Danny Farah

          Well I heard on the Radio yesterday when the New ANchor was talking to several people who attended the concert. they said point blank that they were not searched and only had to show their tickets. I mean after all the bombings and killing all over Europe and middle east of course, if that’s true then it was definitely laxed by all means.

    3. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      ‘Nigel Farage speech to mainstream media leaves them in stunned silence’ (like zombies)

    4. Omega Avatar

      The alleged suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was part of an extremist group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, that thrived in Manchester and was cultivated and used by MI5 for more than 20 years.

      The LIFG is proscribed by Britain as a terrorist organisation which seeks a “hardline Islamic state” in Libya and “is part of the wider global Islamist extremist movement, as inspired by al-Qaida”.

      The “smoking gun” is that when Theresa May was Home Secretary, LIFG jihadists were allowed to travel unhindered across Europe and encouraged to engage in “battle”: first to remove Mu’ammar Gadaffi in Libya, then to join al-Qaida affiliated groups in Syria.

      In 2011, according to Middle East Eye, the LIFG in Manchester were known as the “Manchester boys”. Implacably opposed to Mu’ammar Gadaffi, they were considered high risk and a number were under Home Office control orders – house arrest – when anti-Gadaffi demonstrations broke out in Libya, a country forged from myriad tribal enmities.

      Suddenly the control orders were lifted. “I was allowed to go, no questions asked,” said one LIFG member. MI5 returned their passports and counter-terrorism police at Heathrow airport were told to let them board their flights.

  2. Responsibility for the attack in Manchester has taken the “Islamic state”

  3. man-o-war Avatar

    These people should not be allowed to be walking on the streets of any country. Lock these terrorist up and throw away the key. More than likely the 22 year old suicide bomber knew these guys, at least a couple of them. You can see in this videos that even other Muslims hate these daesh cowards.

    1. Niemals Avatar

      You say that “These people should not be allowed to be walking on the streets of any country.”.

      However the suspected suicide bomber that has been named by the police as Salman Abedi – a 22-year-old born in Manchester to parents of Libyan descent [a Muslim…].

      1. man-o-war Avatar

        Yes, he was born in the UK to Libyan immigrants. As I assume most of these guys in the video, minus the one white convert. What exactly is your point?

        People preaching extremism and trying to radicalize fellow British citizens need to be locked up. Not in and out, then take their passport away so they can’t leave. I say let them leave, one way ticket though and revoke their citizenship.

        I’m sure you saw they were in the minority, never more than 10-15 extremist in the group. The Muslims opposing them greatly outnumbered them and repeatedly denounced them in the video.

        1. Niemals Avatar

          It is easier to stop the radical Muslims to live in our community.

          It is very hard (if not impossible) to control the people preaching extremism by trying to radicalize fellow citizens
 – inclusive the converted to Islam.

          1. man-o-war Avatar

            You control it by locking them up for preaching extremism. You ban the black flag of Islamic extremist. You ban the full body burqa with the face covering, its a public safety hazard. You monitor social media and hold them accountable there as well.

            Most importantly you crush daesh and the notion that an Islamic state is waiting for them. You destroy that dream.

            You want an Islamic state move to Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, and Iran.

          2. Hind Abyad Avatar
            Hind Abyad

            If ISIS is behind this attack in Manchester, then America must answer for just selling another $110B in arms to the State sponsor of ISIS.
            Trump just sold $460 billion worth of weaponry to the very regime that arms funds and spreads the ideology of such -perpetrators-are-evil-losers-trump-says

            Manchester attack perpetrators are ‘evil losers,’ Trump says

    2. Danny Farah Avatar
      Danny Farah

      ANd you are telling the British are not laxed. i am so disgusted watching this video of Monsters rolling the streets of London pretending their rights to be taken or they are being suppressed. I want fucking machine gun them. The guy who exploded himself at the concert was well known by the British Police and secret service. what they were waiting for not putting him jail since he was a criminal already. what a pity.

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