A terrorist attack struck Manchester, England, Monday evening on the four-year anniversary of the jihadi murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in nearby Woolich, England.
Reports of two explosions at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena brought an immediate, massive police response, including armed, masked officers and a bomb disposal unit.
In the initial aftermath at least 19 individuals were reported dead and another 50 injured, according to Sky News. Later authorities confirmed there were at least 22 deaths and at least 59 injuries.
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Emergency personnel swiftly closed off the arena’s vicinity, including the adjacent Victoria Station, and authorities warned people to avoid the area.
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U.K. counterterrorism authorities announced early that they would treat the incident as terror-related, according to multiple news reports. Just a few short hours later, according to several reports, British Prime Minister Theresa May called the incident “an appalling suicide attack.”
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NHS sources told the Sun newspaper that the explosion was a nail bomb; however, that characterization was not confirmed by authorities by the time of publication.
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Eyewitnesses who called into BBC Manchester radio reported chaos and scenes of bleeding and screaming people fleeing the arena. One caller reported that his daughter was wounded in the leg by shrapnel.
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Another eyewitness, calling into BBC News, said he was thrown 30 feet by the explosion.
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“Just got out of Manchester arena after seeing Ariana perform. There was a loud bang when the lights came on & everyone ran out screaming,” wrote one Twitter user.
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“Ariana Grande had just finished the concert, and the lights came on. Everyone started leaving. I was on the floor and at the back of the arena people started exiting through the tunnels,” one witness, Nick Schurok, told the Daily Mail.
Videos posted online showed scenes of utter chaos as people ran from the sound of the explosions.
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“There was a bang in the left tunnel and everyone went to the middle tunnel. Then about two minutes later, there was another bang. The bang was so loud and crowds of people were running. There were lots of children and families there.”
“Police responded to reports of an incident at Manchester Arena. Please stay away from the area. More details to follow,” tweeted Manchester Police earlier.
“This is a direct attack on kids, it is absolutely awful,” said former UKIP leader Nigel Farage during an interview on the incident with Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
Monday’s suspected terrorist attack comes exactly two months after 52-year old Islamic terrorist Khalid Masood rammed his car into a number of pedestrians in Westminster in London, before trying to smash through the barricades at the Houses of Parliament.
The attack also comes on the four-year anniversary of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death in broad daylight by two Islamic extremists in Woolich, England.