MANCHESTER, England (WJZ/AP) — A suicide bomber attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England as it ended Monday night, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more among a panicked crowd of young concertgoers.
British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the country’s threat level from severe to critical because she believes another attack may be imminent.
Police Tuesday identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who CBS News reports was known to British authorities prior to the attack. Manchester police also arrested a 22-year-old in connection to the bombing.
In a generic statement posted online, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
At 6:30 p.m., more than 20,000 people filled the Manchester Arena for Grande’s sold out concert.
The explosion struck around 10:30 p.m. Monday night as Grande was ending the show, part of her Dangerous Woman Tour. Police cars, bomb-disposal units and 60 ambulances raced to the scene as the scale of the carnage became clear. More than 400 officers were deployed.
By 11:52 p.m., several fatalities were confirmed in the blast.
The attack sparked a nightlong search for loved ones — parents for the children they had accompanied or agreed to pick up, and friends for each other after groups were scattered by the blast. Twitter and Facebook were filled with appeals for the missing.
“I don’t know where she is, I don’t know if she’s even alive yet,” said one mother who’s looking for her daughter.
Among those killed, an 8 year old was the youngest.
“Once we exited the door, there was blood across the floor,” one person said.
Authorities said the bomb was designed to kill and injure as many people as possible and those lucky enough to survive, suffered significant wounds.
“They are obsessed because of their religious beliefs, they believe they’re going to go to heaven etc.” said Michael Greenberger, director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security.
Greeneberger sheds light on the dangers of these radicalized individuals.
“They think there is a better life ahead of him, and that’s one of the big problems in counter terrorism, people willing to give up their own lives,” Greenberger said.
Greenberger said while now is a time for mourning. It’s just as crucial that lessons are learned.
“That when you have a large gathering like this, at time of large terrorist threat, there can not be too much security.”
It’s still unclear how many people are missing.
Baltimore City police released a statement saying they’ve increased patrols and checks at facilities here where large gatherings occur.
Officials said the Manchester Arena is one of Europe’s largest indoor venues.
The city’s regional government and its mayor, Andy Burnham, were among scores of Twitter users who circulated the #MissinginManchester hashtag, used by people looking for family members and friends.
Public transport shut down, and taxis offered to give stranded people free rides home, while residents opened their homes to provide lodging.
Campaigning for Britain’s June 8 election was suspended.
The concert was attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England. Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours later: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd decried “a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society — young people and children out at a pop concert.”
Concerts and nightclubs have been a terrorism target before. Most of the 89 dead in the November 2015 attacks in Paris were at the Bataclan concert hall, which gunman struck during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal.
In Turkey, 39 people died when a gunman attacked New Year’s revelers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul.
Manchester, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northwest of London, was hit by a huge Irish Republican Army bomb in 1996 that leveled a swath of the city center. More than 200 people were injured, though no one was killed.
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