Horror in Manchester; 22 confirmed dead in terror attack

Horror in Manchester; 22 confirmed dead in terror attack

WASHINGTON — The United States’ top intelligence official says the U.S. government has not yet verified that the Islamic State group is responsible for the attack in Manchester, England Monday night, but called the deadly incident a reminder of how serious the terror threat remains.

“This threat is real, it’s not going away, and it needs significant attention,”Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said during testimony Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Coats said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Coats appeared before the panel following a suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show in England that left 22 people dead and dozens more wounded. The Islamic State claimed it was behind the attack. The Islamic State group said one of its members planted bombs in crowds at the concert. The group warned in a statement posted on social media that more attacks are to come.

An 8-year-old girl was among the 22 confirmed dead – the youngest known victim – and the child’s mother and sister were among 59 people wounded in what British Prime Minister Theresa May called “a callous terrorist attack.”The wounded included 12 children under 16.

“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage,”May said as campaigning for Britain’s June 8 national election was suspended.

May and police said the bomber died in the attack – something that went unmentioned in Islamic State’s claim of responsibility, which gave no name for the attacker. British police announced Tuesday they had arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the bombing and raided two locations, carrying out a controlled explosion at one of them.

May said authorities believe they have identified the attacker, but did not release his name. She said authorities were trying to determine if he had an accomplice.

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 London commuters on subway trains and a bus in July 2005.

Some concert-goers said security was haphazard before the show, with some people being searched and others allowed inside unhindered. The bombing took place at the end of the concert, when the audience was streaming toward the exits of Manchester Arena, one of the largest indoor concert venues in the world.

As police shut down public transport shut down, Manchester residents opened their hearts. Taxis offered to give stranded people free rides home while some residents opened their homes to provide lodging.

Grande, who was not injured in the blast, tweeted hours later: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”

The U.N. Security Council has condemned “the atrocious terrorist attack perpetrated against young innocent people.”

Uruguay’s U.N. Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, the current council president, delivered the condemnation at the start of a meeting Tuesday on chemical weapons in Syria and asked for a moment of silence.

Britain’s queen also marked a moment of silence to honour the victims of the Manchester suicide bombing. Accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the queen , who was attending a garden party on palace grounds Tuesday afternoon, stood at the top of the steps leading down from Buckingham Palace. The national anthem was then played.


With file from The Associated Press

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