A 22-year-old British man detonated a homemade bomb at Manchester Arena on Monday after an Ariana Grande concert, an act of terror that killed 22 people and injured dozens of others.
The explosion, now deemed a terrorist plot, is the deadliest attack in London since July 2005 suicide bombings in London claimed more than 50 lives.
In a police update Wednesday morning, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police said it was now clear “this is a network we are investigating.” Police have arrested four suspects so far in their ongoing investigation, he said.
On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Theresa May raised the country’s terrorism threat level to “critical,” suggesting “it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.”
The UK government said about 1,000 soldiers were deployed to protect key areas of interests in London.
Here’s what journalists and police have uncovered about the attack since Monday.
- Police confirmed that 22 people were killed in the explosion at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
- The bombing occurred around 10:33 p.m. local time, prompting panic among the concertgoers, many young, who were exiting the venue.
- Twelve of the 59 injured in the attack were children under the age of 16, a UK ambulance official told the Associated Press.
EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY😭 pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE
— hannah 🐝 (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
- In a brief update Tuesday, constable Hopkins confirmed the identity of the suspect as 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi. The constable did not provide many other details, but did caution that a coroner hadn’t officially identified the bomber. Abedi reportedly died in the explosion.
- On Wednesday, the constable confirmed that a police officer was among the victims killed in the attack.
- A law enforcement official, speaking anonymously to The New York Times, said Abedi was the son of Libyan immigrants, born in 1994 in Britain. The official also told the Times that Abedi’s ID was found at the scene.
- Authorities said they arrested a 23-year-old in South Manchester as part of its ongoing investigation, but it’s not clear if the individual is connected to the explosion.
- The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday that the U.S. government has yet to confirm this detail.
HOW DID LEADERS REACT?
- President Donald Trump, speaking after a meeting with Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack Tuesday, saying that “this wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated and innocent life must be protected.”
- On Twitter, the president said “we stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.”
- In a televised speech Tuesday, May addressed the Manchester attack, saying that, “All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
- The Queen issued a statement that called the attack an “act of barbarity.” She offered her “deepest sympathy” to those affected and thanked the emergency crews for their response.
We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom. pic.twitter.com/X6fUUxxYXE
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2017
- British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK was raising its terror threat level from severe to critical, believing that another attack was imminent, AP reported.
- This meant an increased law enforcement presence at “big events,” such as football matches and concerts, she said.
- In a statement Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said there was no evidence to indicate a specific threat to the U.S. “However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions,” it said.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 23, 2017