Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

Police Arrest Three in Investigation into Attack on Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester — Detectives hunt terror ‘network’

May 24, 2017

Home Secretary Amber Rudd says it ‘seems likely’ that suspect Salman Abedi didn’t act alone

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Prime Minister Theresa May announced late Tuesday that the U.K.’s terrorism threat level had been raised to “critical” after Salman Abedi killed 22 people in a suicide bombing in Manchester.

Updated May 24, 2017 10:02 a.m. ET

MANCHESTER, England—Police arrested at least three more men as part of their investigation into the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande pop concert, as authorities pursued the possibility that the assailant didn’t act alone.

Police and intelligence agencies are piecing together leads to determine who else in the U.K. or abroad may have helped the suspect, identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, in the deadliest attack in the country since 2005.

The arrests in Manchester take the total currently in custody to four. A Western security official identified the first man arrested as Ismail Abedi, 23, the suspect’s brother. Under British law, a person can be taken into custody in a terrorism investigation and held up to 14 days without charges.

At an afternoon press conference, Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it is clear “this is a network we are investigating.”

British police have declined to provide many details about the suspect, but a U.S. official has said he was a British citizen of Libyan descent. British officials believe he had recently returned from Libya.

U.K. investigators told French authorities that Abedi had probably also traveled to Syria, according to the French interior minister.

A leading theory is that the attacker may have received specialist training abroad or that there is a technician in the U.K. who constructed the bomb, the Western official said.

“To cause this many fatalities it has to be a viable device of a certain level of sophistication,” the official said, adding that it didn’t seem like something Abedi could have done by himself. Officials were still in the initial phase of the investigation, the person said.

Chief Constable Hopkins wouldn’t comment on whether police had found anyone who made the explosive device used in the attack.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd earlier told the British Broadcasting Corp. Abedi that Abedi was previously known to security services “up to a point.”

“When this operation is over, we will want to look at his background and what happened, how he became radicalized and what support he might have been given,” she said.

Manchester, in England’s northwest, has long been a destination for radical Libyan Islamists during the Gadhafi era. Abedi, who grew up in the city, lived just miles from the scene of the attack, according to electoral records and neighbors, in a red brick house in a working-class area.

Neighbors described him as an aggressive man who didn’t mix much with others in the community.

U.K. Raises Terrorism Threat Level to ‘Critical’
Prime Minister Theresa May announced late Tuesday that the U.K.’s terrorism threat level had been raised to “critical” after Salman Abedi killed 22 people in a suicide bombing in Manchester.
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A spokesman at the nearby University of Salford said Abedi enrolled at the university in 2015 to study business and administration, where he completed a first year of study. He then “effectively dropped out, though technically he remained on our books,” he said.

Abedi lived at home, not in a student accommodation, and was not well-known to the university administration or the university imam, the spokesman said.

Prime Minister Theresa May raised Britain’s threat level late Tuesday. It has only been at a “critical” level twice, in 2006 and 2007, since the system was introduced 11 years ago.

Under the heightened alert level, military personnel are replacing police officers guarding key places and big events around the country, in an emergency plan called Operation Temperer.

Up to 3,800 military personnel were deployed on Britain’s streets. Armed officers were stationed at key locations, including Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and Westminster, where Britain’s Parliament sits. Parliament was closed to visitors and all tours, events and banquets were cancelled, a spokesman said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. British police have not commented on the Islamist extremist group’s assertion. U.S. officials cautioned they hadn’t verified any connection between Islamic State and the attack.

Security officials are likely to review days and weeks of security camera tapes at the venue to assess if Abedi performed reconnaissance of the venue and, if so, whether he was accompanied, according to a private-sector security expert.

Forensic analysis of the bomb also could yield clues about who bought components to build the explosive device.

An armed police officer stands guard as pedestrians walk by in London on Tuesday.

An armed police officer stands guard as pedestrians walk by in London on Tuesday. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS

A neighbor said Abedi’s family flew a Libyan flag above their house after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in 2011. Eventually, Abedi’s parents returned to the country, according to neighbors, a Libyan counterterrorism official and another person familiar with the family.

Libya became a magnet for Islamic State fighters when a U.S.-led coalition began retaking territory captured by the group in Iraq and Syria. The fighters were targeted in Libya by U.S. bombers in January, during the last days of the Obama administration.

Corrections & Amplifications
An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Ariana Grande’s name in the headline. (May 24, 2017)

Write to Jenny Gross at jenny.gross@wsj.com and Wiktor Szary at Wiktor.Szary@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/britain-steps-up-security-after-manchester-attack-at-ariana-grande-concert-1495618991

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Manchester attack latest: Detectives hunt terror ‘network’ as bomber’s father claims son is innocent

By Danny Boyle
The Telegraph

British soldiers arrive next to New Scotland Yard police headquarters near the Houses of Parliament in central London.

British soldiers arrive next to New Scotland Yard police headquarters near the Houses of Parliament in central London. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Detectives are probing a “network” linked to the Manchester suicide bomber, police have confirmed, as the terrorist’s father insisted he is innocent.

Confirming that an off-duty female police officer was among the 22 people killed in the attack, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said officers are investigating associates of Salman Abedi when asked if they are seeking a “bomb maker”.

Meanwhile, Abedi’s father has spoken for the first time since his son’s death to deny his involvement and said: “We don’t believe in killing innocents. This is not us.”

It comes as nearly 1,000 soldiers are being immediately deployed on Britain’s streets to support police in the wake of the Manchester suicide bombing, as the UK remains on critical terror alert amid fears Abedi did not act alone.

Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi
Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi

Armed troops are taking on duties for guarding high profile buildings and embassies, freeing up armed police officers to join counter-terrorism duties.

Soldiers have taken up position at Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Downing Street on Wednesday as part of the deployment named Operation Temperer, which is being enacted after security experts warned the Government that another terrorist attack could be imminent. Police forces outside London have also asked for troops.

An armed soldier in Downing Street
An armed soldier on patrol in Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon CREDIT: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

Greater Manchester Police revealed on Wednesday that three men have been arrested in the south of the city in connection with the concert bomb attack. It follows the arrest yesterday of Abedi’s 23-year-old brother, who remains in custody.

Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the threat level to the highest possible rating, meaning another atrocity is expected. She said a “wider group of individuals” could have been involved in the Manchester Arena blast rather than just Abedi.

Monday night’s attack at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande left 22 people dead, including an eight-year-old girl, and dozens injured. Click here to read more about the victims.

Twenty people remain in “critical care”, medics said on Wednesday, with people suffering from “horrific injuries” including major organ damage and potential loss of  limbs.

Three of the known victims of the attack
Three of the known victims of the attack – from left: Saffie-Rose Roussos, Georgina Callander and John Atkinson

Counter-terrorism agencies have mounted a massive inquiry into the outrage – the worst terrorist attack since 52 innocent people were killed in the July 7 bombings in London in 2005.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terror group claimed responsibility for the barbaric attack, which involved a home-made device packed with nuts and bolts which exploded in the venue’s foyer as thousands of young people were leaving.

Manchester attack – through the camera lens

Calls of condolence to Theresa May from world leaders

The Prime Minister has taken several further condolence calls from other world leaders today following Monday’s terrorist attack in Manchester, including Chancellor Merkel, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

Chancellor Merkel

Chancellor Merkel called to offer Germany’s condolences and said Germany stands with the UK against terrorism. They agreed the deliberate targeting of children was despicable and that the people of Manchester had shown great spirit in coming together in the wake of the attack.

King Salman

King Salman of Saudi Arabia called to offer his condolences and said Saudi Arabia strongly denounces and condemns this brutal terrorist attack which defies all international humanitarian norms. They agreed the UK and Saudi Arabia would continue working closely together to counter terrorism and violent extremism.

Stefan Lofven

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called to express Sweden’s condolences, praising the public response and their determination to carry on as normal.

Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his country’s deepest condolences and said India’s prayers were with all of those affected. Prime Minister Modi congratulated the people of Manchester on their courage, patience and spirit. They agreed the UK and India would continue to cooperate closely on counter-terrorism, including aviation security and countering online radicalisation.

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Met chief: Major weekend events being security reviewed

Cressida Dick, the UK’s most senior police officer, has said that all major public events happening this weekend are being security reviewed after the Manchester attack, reports Ben Riley-Smith.

The Metropolitan Police commissioner said she wanted to show that “London is open for business” after the attack but stressed that checks needed to be carried out.

Ms Dick was speaking as she visited Parliament on Wednesday afternoon after the site’s security was enhanced as the terror level was raised to “critical”

Speaking to Sky News cameras, Ms Dick was asked about major events due to take place this weekend.

Reporter: “It will be a sunny weekend, people will want to be out and about. Do you expect those ordinary events to go ahead?”. Cressida Dick said:

“So since the attack in Manchester, colleagues around the country and in London have been reviewing with event organisers the security around all events.

“I myself yesterday went to see the security at the Chelsea Flower Show to see how that was working.

“We are working closely with event organisers. We will be risk assessing every event. We want London to stay open for business. London is open for business. It’s our job to keep people as safe as we possibly can.

“We hope there will be minimal disruption, but we need to plan ahead over the next days and – I hope not – but potentially further than that.

“We are thinking right out into weeks about how we can keep as many events as possible with the event organisers running as usual but having paid really good attention to the necessary security.”

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Labour confirms election campaigning will resume on Friday

3:32pm

Probe is continuing ‘at pace’: More from police chief

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said the level of activity in the probe is “intense” and continuing “at pace”.

Asked if officers are looking for the person who made the bomb, he said: “I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating and as I’ve said, it continues at pace, this extensive investigation is going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester as we speak.”

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/24/manchester-arena-terror-attack-salman-abedi-ariana-grande-victims/

Philippine Islamists beheaded local police chief, President Duterte says

May 24, 2017
Philippine Islamists beheaded local police chief, Duterte says
Philippine Islamists beheaded local police chief, Duterte says

Manila (Philippines) (AFP) – Islamist militants rampaging through a southern Philippine city beheaded a local police chief, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday.

He said the attack occurred near the southern city of Marawi, which is under siege by Islamic militants, as justification for imposing martial law across the southern third of the country.

“The chief of police in Malabang on his way home, going back he was stopped by a checkpoint manned by terrorists and I think they decapitated them right then and there,” Duterte he told a news conference.

Fighting erupted Tuesday after Philippines security forces raided a house in Marawi where they believed Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang and Philippine head of Islamic State, was hiding.

The United States regards Hapilon as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, offering a bounty of $5 million for his capture.

More than 100 gunmen responded to the raid by burning buildings and conducting other diversionary tactics, officials said, adding that thousands of residents have fled Marawi.

Police said an officer and two soldiers had been killed in the fighting, with at least eight others injured.

It was unclear if the ambush on the local police chief was included in the official tally.

Duterte said continuing sporadic skirmishes showed the group’s “capability to sow terror and unleash harassment and inflict destruction” across the country’s south.

The president flew home Wednesday from Moscow, where he had cut short an official visit to Russia to deal with the Marawi crisis.

After Manchester Attack: Soldiers on streets in the UK — Nation Mourns, Prepares for Every Possibility

May 24, 2017

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Will there be another Attack?

‘It is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,’ PM says

By Jon Sharman
The Independent

Theresa May has announced the terror threat level in the UK is being raised to “critical” and soldiers will now be deployed on the streets to protect key sites, in a significant escalation of the policing response following the Manchester attack.

It is the first time in 10 years the feared threat of a terror attack has reached its highest level and means some 5,000 troops could be deployed to support police, including at concerts and sporting events.

The Prime Minister said police in Manchester were working to establish whether arena bomber Salman Abedi, 22, was working alone when he killed 22 people and injured 59 others in a suicide explosion on Monday night.

However, she added: “The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.”

The threat level has been raised “for the time being”, meaning “a further attack may be imminent”, she said.

In a live address late on Tuesday, Ms May said: “The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe.

“As a result of [the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre’s] decision the police have asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to deploy a number of armed military personnel in support of their armed officers.

“This request is part of a well-established plan known as Operation Temperer in which both the armed forces and the police officers involved are well-trained and well-prepared to work in this kind of environment.

“The Secretary of State for Defence has approved this request and Operation Temperer is now in force.

“This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

“You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe.

“In all circumstances, members of the armed forces who are deployed in this way will be under the command of police officers.”

The UK’s terror threat level has been set at “severe” for some time.

The last time it reached “critical” was in 2007.

Ms May added: “While we mourn the victims of last night’s appalling attack, we stand defiant. The spirit of Manchester – and the spirit of Britain – is far mightier than the sick plots of depraved terrorists. That is why the terrorists will never win, and we will prevail.”

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, of the Metropolitan Police, said counter-terror police were making “really good progress” in a “massive investigation” into the Manchester attack.

Mr Rowley, the country’s most senior anti-terror cop, said: “We still have some critical lines of enquiry that we’re urgently chasing down. But that leaves a degree of uncertainty which has led [JTAC] to independently judge that the threat level needs to be raised to critical, meaning a further attack may be imminent.

“The public would expect the police at this moment to be doing extraordinary things, everything possible to protect them. The first thing we do is stretch our police resources. We have mobilisation plans, we cancel leave, we stretch shifts. We can double the number of officers on the streets, both armed and unarmed.

“But on top of that, over the last couple of years looking at experiences elsewhere in Europe, we’ve set up a contingency plan with the military where the army will step forward.

“All those extra police officers that we’re putting on the streets already will be augmented by military support. The first phase, those military officers will take over some of our guarding duties at key fixed locations.

“And potentially subsequent to that we could even use military support police at key locations or perhaps at key events.”

Mr Rowley would not be drawn on whether he personally believed another attack was imminent, but spoke of “uncertainty currently flowing from the investigation”. JTAC, he said, had decided that “whilst we chase that down, it makes sense to raise the threat level”.

According to a review of London’s terror preparedness from 2016, “only in the most extreme situations would the military be deployed in routine patrolling of the streets of London” under Operation Temperer.

Lord Harris’ review added: “In addition, specialist troops can be authorised to take part in a direct operation to confront and neutralise a terrorist threat if required. This increases the police capacity and capability to respond, for example, if there were multiple attacks on different sites of the kind seen in Paris in November 2015.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/manchester-bombing-critical-terrorist-threat-theresa-may-upgrades-from-severe-latest-news-a7752336.html

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People leave tributes to victims of the Manchester concert bomb attack in Albert Square, Manchester PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of people descended on Manchester’s city centre to honour and remember the scores of victims who were killed and injured in the explosion after the Ariana Grande concert.

They held England flags, and banners – “Love for all and hatred for none” – and signs with the social media hashtag “#ForManchester” and “I heart Manchester”.

Pictures of the vigil showed people of all races and backgrounds, determined to put on a brave face to remember the dead and their families. The demonstrations went on into Tuesday evening as residents lit candles and laid flowers.

Details were still emerging about the attacker, a 22-year-old British man called Salman Abedi, and police are investigating how he obtained the explosive device and gained access to the Manchester Arena.

Waiting for speeches to begin, the crowds clapped three times, in quick succession, chanting “Manchester!”

Political leaders including Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Farron joined Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to pay their respects and address the crowd.

Powerful vigil,caught a handshake between a gentleman & @gmpolice officer. Well done to the emergency services,proud of today 🐝

Silent vigil tonight in Otley for Wendy who never came home from Manchester last night. RIP.

Leaders of all faiths, including Christians, Muslim, Sikhs and Jews, joined them too.

Poet Tony Walsh delivered his poignant and rousing ode to Manchester, This Is The Place.

“In the north-west of England it’s ace, it’s the best / And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands / Set the whole planet shaking.”

There was a rapturous and defiant applause when he finished reading the poem.

Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings was played.

The Right Rev Dr David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, addressed the city centre vigil and said the attacker represented “the very few, but we are the many. We are Manchester”.

He spoke of “a unity that has been strengthened by our diversity” and said people who had come to the city from abroad “have become Manchester”.

Vigils took place in many other cities.

In London, two people held an England flag, kneeling on the ground in respect, as a large group of people in Trafalgar Square held a minute’s silence in honour of the victims.

In Liverpool, people laid candles on the ground in the shape of a sign for peace, with flowers and messages scrawled with chalk on the pavement.

In Glasgow, members of the public laid flowers in the city’s central George Square.

Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “cold calculation” of the attacker, who chose to target a packed stadium of young people enjoying themselves at a pop concert.

MI5 said it was working with the police, and the agency’s head Andrew Parker claimed the “disgusting” attack had “affected” all of his staff.

Later on Tuesday, Ms May announced the UK’s terror threat level had been raised from “severe” to “critical”, meaning a new attack is considered imminent.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/manchester-bombing-vigils-uk-london-birmingham-mourn-dead-terror-attack-a7752286.html

Philippines: Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao amid clashes with Islamic State inspired fighters

May 24, 2017

Updated 3:03 AM ET, Wed May 24, 2017

A Philippine policeman mans a checkpoint along a highway in Iligan City, in southern island of Mindanao on May 24, 2017.

Philippines: Terrorist Attack in Marawi — What We Know So Far

May 24, 2017

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Here are the things we know about the clash in Marawi City.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story. We will update this as new information comes in.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law for 60 days over Mindanao following the firefight between military forces and the ISIS-inspired Maute fighters on Tuesday, killing several militants, at least two soldiers and a police officer and wounded 12 others.
Duterte’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was scheduled on Thursday, has been brought forward to Tuesday evening to allow his hasty return to the Philippines. Duterte has cut short his official visit and is expected to return to the country by Wednesday to deal with the conflict. Duterte told Putin that he is counting on Russia to supply weapons for the fight against terrorism in the Philippines as he cozies up with non-traditional ally Moscow and veer away from longtime partner the United States.

Highlights:

  • A constitutional expert and rights group expressed concern over the declaration of martial law
  • Reports of hostages taken by the militants
  • Gunshots have so far halted, according to the Marawi City mayor, but residents remain locked indoors

READ: Mindanao martial law to be like Marcos’, says Duterte

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The gunbattle began after government troops raided the hideout of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi City, a largely Muslim city with a population of over 200,000. The US Department of Justice has listed the Abu Sayyaf leader among the most-wanted terrorists worldwide, with a reward of up to $5 million for his capture. Hapilon’s group called for reinforcement from its ally, the Maute. The Maute was blamed for the bomb attack in Duterte’s hometown of Davao City last September which killed 15.
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  • Terrorist Isnilon Hapilon
  • Hapilon, an Arabic-speaking preacher known for his expertise in commando assaults, has pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014, according to security officials. He reportedly has been chosen to lead an ISIS branch in Southeast Asia. But Philippine and US security officials assert there is no formal IS presence in the Philippines, citing the “worldwide phenomenon” where existing terror groups affiliate themselves with ISIS.
  • Hapilon, who is still recovering from wounds sustained in a military airstrike in January, and more than a dozen of his men summoned reinforcements. Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año said nearly 50 gunmen entered the city. Meanwhile, Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said in an interview with ANC’s “Headstart” that he thinks the number may be from 100 to 200.
  • SMALL VICTORY.This photo taken on June 3 shows Philippine soldiers displaying the flag used by the Islamic State group after overrunning a militant camp at a remote village in Butig town, Lanao del Sur province after a 10-day battle. Photo by Richelle Umel/ AFP

    SMALL VICTORY.This photo taken on June 3, 2016 shows Philippine soldiers displaying the flag used by the Islamic State group after overrunning a militant camp at a remote village in Butig town, Lanao del Sur province after a 10-day battle. Photo by Richelle Umel/ AFP

  • Gandamra said the attack caught them by surprise. He said they knew something will happen and are on alert but did not expect the number of Maute militants who entered the city. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said there was no failure of intelligence in the Marawi situation but admitted there was “lack of appreciation” of information.
  • Some 20 gunmen took position in a hospital and raised a black ISIS flag. A photo shared on the Facebook page of the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network showed a Maute fighter mounting an ISIS flag on a police vehicle the terror group sequestered.

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  • Lorenzana said dozens of gunmen occupied the city hall—a claim countered by the Marawi City mayor—hospital and jail and burned the St. Mary’s Church, the city jail, the Ninoy Aquino school and Dansalan College as well as some houses. Power was also cut while Maute snipers were all around. Troops and police engaged in a firefight with 10 other militants who went near the jail.
  • The mayor advised residents to stay indoors during the height of the tension.
  • Troops sealed off major entry and exit points to prevent Hapilon from escaping. Military reinforcements are also coming in from Zamboanga City and Manila. The Marawi City mayor said on Wednesday early morning that he is waiting for their arrival.
  • A Marawi teacher named Noddy Summer said residents remain locked up indoors until Wednesday morning. She added that her colleague was taken as a hostage by the militants.
  • The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also released a statement saying Father Chito Suganob and others who were in the Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians were also taken as hostage. The CBCP said the militants have threatened to kill the hostages “if the government forces unleashed against them are not recalled.”
  • Gandamra said no more gunshots were heard in the area but they are still monitoring the situation. He said schools will remain closed until the government takes full control of the situation.
  • He said sightings of Maute fighters are still reported but assured the public that Marawi City is till under the control of the government.
  • Lorenzana also assured that the government remains in control of the situation in Marawi City.
  • Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the grounds for martial law, which covers the entire Mindanao island effective 10 p.m. Tuesday, is the “existence of rebellion.”
  • The declaration will help government forces carry out searches and arrests and detain rebel suspects more quickly, Lorenzana said.
  • The military has supported the martial law declaration but Philippine Constitution expert Christian Monsod said what happened in Marawi City does not meet the definition of rebellion as cited in the Revised Penal Code: “The crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by rising publicly and taking arms against the government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said Government or its laws, the territory of the Republic of the Philippines or any part thereof, of any body of land, naval or other armed forces, or depriving the Chief Executive or the Legislature, wholly or partially, of any of their powers or prerogatives.” He said he thinks what happened was lawless violence as it does not involve purpose of removing allegiance to said government or laws any part of the territory of the Philippines.
  • Karapatan also warned that the declaration might aggravate insecurity in the area and lead to human rights violations. — Mikas Matsuzawa with reports from AP

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/24/1703153/marawi-crisis-what-we-know-so-far

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Manchester bomber Salman Abedi, 22, pictured for the first time after Arena massacre that killed 22 – as Theresa May raises UK terror threat level

May 23, 2017

Cops revealed the identity of the attacker after raiding his house in Manchester today

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MANCHESTER suicide bomber Salman Abedi is suspected of being trained in terror during secret trips to Syria, The Sun can reveal.

And spooks are investigating intelligence reports footie-mad Abedi, 22, slipped into the terror-torn country while visiting relatives in Libya

The monster – who killed 22 and left 119 others injured in Monday’s deadly blast at Ariana Grande’s concert – was born and grew up in Britain.

This is the first picture of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi

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This is the first picture of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi

Dramatic footage shows the moment cops raided the suicide bomber's home in the Fallowfield area of Manchester

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Dramatic footage shows the moment cops raided the suicide bomber’s home in the Fallowfield area of Manchester

Police raid the home of Brit national Salman Abedi after the Manchester Arena nail bomb attack

EAMONN AND JAMES CLARKE
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Police raid the home of Brit national Salman Abedi after the Manchester Arena nail bomb attack

Theresa May has raised the threat level to “critical” and warned another attack could be “imminent”

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Theresa May has raised the threat level to “critical” and warned another attack could be “imminent”

Armed cops surround Manchester-born Abedis house - just four miles from the scene of the bombing

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Armed cops surround Manchester-born Abedis house – just four miles from the scene of the bombing

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New video of moment door of suspect in Manchester Arena terror attackBut Abedi’s family hail from Libya and he is thought to have visited the North African country – also a haven for IS fighters – regularly in recent years.

Sources said there were fears Abedi may have taken advantage of the conflict to make the simple journey across the Med to Syria without alerting the British authorities.

One revealed: “His potential ties to Syria now very much forms one line of inquiry.”

Theresa May has raised the threat level to “critical” and warned another attack could be “imminent” after the deadly nail bomb massacre which ISIS has now claimed responsibility for.

Cops are probing whether Abedi, who is believed to have been known to MI5, acted alone or as part of a larger extremist network to carry out the worst terror attack Britain has seen since the 7/7 London bombings.

The PM said it was possible a “wider group of individuals” could have been involved in the attack at Ariana’s concert and said the military could be deployed to support armed police officers.

Forensic officer was seen holding a 'know your chemicals' booklet during a raid of the nail bomber's home

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Forensic officer was seen holding a ‘know your chemicals’ booklet during a raid of the nail bomber’s home

The book the forensic officer was clutching outside the address

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The book the forensic officer was clutching outside the address

Eight-year-old schoolgirl Saffie Roussos has been named as one of the victims along with college student Georgina Callander and 26-year-old John Atkinson.

Business management student Abedi’s identity emerged soon after armed cops dramatically stormed his home in Chorlton, Manchester, at around noon on Tuesday.

His older brother, computer expert Ismail, 23, was arrested in a separate raid and was being quizzed by anti-terror cops last night.

It came hours after Abedi had blown himself up in the foyer of a packed Manchester Arena, as 21,000 fans left a concert.

The uni dropout’s device – thought to have been wrapped with nuts and bolts to send out a cloud of deadly shrapnel – detonated at 10.33pm.

The death toll currently stands at 22 – with the youngest victim aged just eight – while 59 others were taken to hospital, many with life-threatening injuries.

A further 60 were described as walking wounded. Of the grim casualty total, 12 children under 16 were injured.

 

Dramatic footage showed two heavily armed terror cops raiding a home

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Dramatic footage showed two heavily armed terror cops raiding a home

Police raid house of Manchester arena bomber Salman Abedi after terror attacks

Cops swooped on two addresses in Manchester after the deadly nail bomb blast

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Cops swooped on two addresses in Manchester after the deadly nail bomb blast

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PM Theresa May increases UK threat level to critical following Manchester terror attack by Salman AbediUS security sources, citing British intelligence officials, said Abedi was born in 1994 to parents who had fled to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.
They are believed to have emigrated to London before moving to south Manchester.

Abedi’s family have told of their horror at finding out he was behind the massacre.

They described the fanatic as a “brilliant” footballer who loved Manchester United and Spanish giants Real Madrid.

One male relative, who asked not to be named, told The Sun how he had seen Abedi just ten days ago looking “happy, relaxed and smiling” as he secretly plotted the attack.

The relative said: “When he was younger he liked football and was good at that stuff, he was just a normal guy, you know what I mean?

“He was actually brilliant at football to be honest, when he was a teenager though.

“He lived Madrid weirdly when he was younger.”

The terrorist’s parents are currently in Libya and are thought to have moved back to live there recently, the family member said.

Abedi and his brother have been living in their parent’s house which was raided on Tuesday.

 

Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, was killed in last night’s suicide bomb attack, teachers say

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Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, was killed in last night’s suicide bomb attack, teachers say

Georgina Callander, pictured here with her pop hero Ariana, was also among the dead

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Georgina Callander, pictured here with her pop hero Ariana, was also among the dead

The family source said: “I went to the house ten days ago, I saw other family members and relatives there.

“He was fine. He seemed happy, relaxed.

“He said, ‘Hello,’ or, ‘Salam.’ We were in the sitting room it was very normal.

“He had just normal clothes on, just normal jeans.”

The family member, who would not be named for fears of repercussions, strongly condemned the attack and said: “We can’t believe it.

“We can’t take it in. It is terrible.

“It shows that it takes a short amount of time change someone, sometimes.”

Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area, close to a girl’s high school which hit the headlines in 2015 when ‘terror twins’ Zahra and Salma Halane fled to ISIS-controlled Syria.

Neighbours have told how Abedi, who is the second youngest of four children, started acting “strangely” in the weeks before the terrorist atrocity.

He was reportedly seen chanting “Islamic prayers loudly in the street” outside his home in the south of the city.

School friends have told how Abedi was a Muslim who had grown a beard in the past year.

One neighbour claimed she saw Abedi chanting loudly in Arabic weeks before the terrorist attack.

Lina Ahmed, 21, said: “He was acting strangely. A couple of months ago he [Salman] was chanting the first kalma [Islamic prayer] really loudly in the street. He was chanting in Arabic.

“He was saying ‘There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger’.”

It has been revealed that the sick terrorist started studying business and management at Salford University in 2014, but dropped out and did not finish his degree.

Friends have paid tribute to John Atkinson, who has been named as one of the victims

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Friends have paid tribute to John Atkinson, who has been named as one of the victims

Dr Sam Grogan, the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Student Experience, said: “All at the University of Salford are shocked and saddened by the events of last night. Our thoughts are with all those involved, their families and their friends.

“We have provided, and continue to provide, support to all students and staff who have been affected.”

The horrific attack came as:

Abedi and his brother reportedly worshipped at Didsbury mosque, south Manchester, where their father was a “well-known figure”.

Mosque trustee Fawaz Haffar said Abedi’s dad used to perform the azan, the call for prayer before 1,000 of the faithful and his brother worked as a volunteer.

When asked whether he had ever seen the terrorist praying at the mosque, he said: “He probably did, I have never seen him, I don’t know him.

“I came earlier to ask any of the employees whether they knew him, people said they don’t know him. There are many mosques, he may be attending another mosque. I honestly do not know.”

Aerial footage showed the raid at the Fallowfield home

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Aerial footage showed the raid at the Fallowfield home

Shocking image of the immediate aftermath of the cowardly attack

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Shocking image of the immediate aftermath of the cowardly attack

Eyewitnesses told how bomb disposal officers were seen raiding the house before a controlled explosion took place.

Cops stormed two addresses – one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield – and arrested a 23-year-old man in Chorlton in connection with the attack.

MI5 spooks and anti-terror cops are now racing against the clock to uncover Abedi’s links to any possible terror cell.

Sources said their aim would be to establish if Abedi himself had built the deadly device – or if a bomb-making mastermind was behind the blast.

Theresa May said Britain is braced for further terrorist attacks after the atrocity that killed 22, including children as young as eight.

Following an emergency Cobra meeting, Mrs May said the independent body which sets the threat level has increased it from “severe” to “critical”.

She said: “This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent.

The defiant PM described the massacre as “callous and cowardly” and declared “terrorists will never win”.

“His victims were innocent children, young people and their families – our thoughts and prayers are with them all.

“I want to re-iterate what I said this morning about the professionalism of the emergency services and the bravery of the people in Manchester.

“Through their actions, they proved that cowardice will always be defeated by bravery, that evil can be overcome by good and that our values, the liberal, pluralistic values of Britain, will always prevail over the hateful ideology of the terrorists.

“Terrorists will never win and we will prevail.”

Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos was revealed as the second victim of the blast.

Saffie, from Leyland, Lancashire, was killed after becoming separated from her mum and sister during the attack.

Tragically, her mum Lisa has no idea her daughter is dead as she is currently in a coma in hospital.

Neighbour Salman Patel told Mail Online: “Saffie’s sadly passed away and her mother, we understand, isn’t aware. I am praying for the family, it is totally heartbreaking.”

Chris Upton, headteacher at Tarleton Community Primary School near Preston, confirmed the tragic news and paid tribute to a “beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word”.

Saffie’s mum and sister are being treated for shrapnel wounds in separate hospitals.

Devastated Mr Upton said in a statement: “News of Saffie’s death in this appalling attack has come as a tremendous shock to all of us and I would like to send our deepest condolences to all of her family and friends.

An injured woman is escorted from the arena by police after loud bangs were heard at the gig

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An injured woman is escorted from the arena by police after loud bangs were heard at the gig

A female police officer comforts a young fan after the atrocity

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A female police officer comforts a young fan after the atrocity

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Screaming heard amid chaos at Manchester Arena following ‘loud bangs'”The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.

“Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word.

“She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly.

“Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair.

“Our focus is now on helping pupils and staff cope with this shocking news and we have called in specialist support from Lancashire County Council to help us do that.

“We are a tight-knit school and wider community and will give each other the support that we need at this difficult time.”

The concert was packed with teens and children as young as eight

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The concert was packed with teens and children as young as eight

Stranded concert-goers wrapped in thermal blankets wait by police van after bombing

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Stranded concert-goers wrapped in thermal blankets wait by police van after bombing

Wounded people on Hunts Bank outside Victoria Station yards from the scene of the cowardly bombing

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Wounded people on Hunts Bank outside Victoria Station yards from the scene of the cowardly bombing

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Injured teen with blood pouring from her leg after deadly Ariana Grande explosion at Manchester ArenaTwelve children under the age of 16 were among the 59 casualties taken to hospital after the bombing, says the North West Ambulance Service.

Sixty people were treated at the scene as walking wounded.

Cowardly ISIS warlords  – hiding in Syria – have now claimed responsibility for the gutless attack.

ISIS said in a statement published by its Amaq News Agency (a news outlet linked to ISIS in Syria) : “With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the crusaders in the British City of Manchester.

“This was in revenge of Allah’s religion, in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims.

DO YOU KNOW THE BOMBER?

Call us today on 020 7782 4103, email exclusive@the-sun.co.uk

Or text 07423 720 250

Witnesses reported thousands of screaming fans ran from the concert hall

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Witnesses reported thousands of screaming fans ran from the concert hall as armed police were called in

An injured man is led from the arena in Manchester after tonight's chaos

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An injured man is led from the arena in Manchester after the chaos shortly after the concert finished

A mourner kneels down next to the floral tributes left outside St Ann's Church

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A mourner kneels down next to the floral tributes left outside St Ann’s Church

A man can be seen being led away from the scene in south Manchester

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Dramatic moment armed cops arrested a 23-year-old man outside Morrisons in Chorlton, south Manchester this morning

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Mum describes moment she ‘saw’ Manchester Arena suicide bomber before deadly terror attack“The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 (sic) crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded.

“And what comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of creation.”

Thousands of adults, teenagers and children screamed and fled in panic as a terrorist detonated a huge bomb – thought to be packed with nails and bolts – as Ariana’s concert ended.

Heartbroken cop was pictured this morning being comforted by two colleagues at the scene in Manchester

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Heartbroken cop was pictured this morning being comforted by two colleagues at the scene in Manchester

Flowers and messages in memory of the victims of the Manchester terror attack

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Flowers and messages in memory of the victims of the Manchester terror attack

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People flee Manchester Arena after fatal ‘explosion’ during pop concertAmong the many dead is pop fan Georgina Callander, 18, who has today been described as a girl who “lit up the room”.

She had tragically written to her pop hero yesterday, telling the pop star: “SO EXCITED TO SEE U TOMORROW”.

A close friend told the Evening Standard she died with her mother at her hospital bedside.

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Heavily armed police descend on Manchester’s Fallowfield as part of terror investigation

Walking casualties Vikki Baker and her daughter Charlotte, 13, hug outside the Manchester Arena stadium

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Walking casualties Vikki Baker and her daughter Charlotte, 13, hug outside the Manchester Arena stadium

Woman breaks down in tears at the scene of the nail bomb attack

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Woman breaks down in tears at the scene of the nail bomb attack

John Atkinson, 26, of Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, has also been named in reports as one of the 22 killed.

One friend posted on the internet: “Truly devastated for them all. What an amazing lovely man he was and blessed to have known him.xxx”

Another wrote: “Rip John Atkinson. Thoughts and prayers to your family. What a mad, sad world”.

Thousands have gathered to remember the victims of the atrocity in a series of vigils across the country.

But one was marred by the arrest of an axe-wielding man heard screaming and shouting at the vigil in Birmingham’s Victoria Square.

Police confirmed the man, 39, was detained and taken away in a riot van amid heightened tensions following last night’s attack.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE MANCHESTER ARENA ATTACK

Today we launch a Together With Manchester appeal – to raise money for families of the victims of the Arena bomb.

News UK, publisher of The Sun, has made a corporate donation of £100,000 to the appeal.

Here’s how you can show your support….

ONLINE: www.justgiving.com/TogetherWithManchester

TEXT: Text TWMC50 and amount to 70070 – eg TWMC50 £5
(you can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10)

A well-wisher talks to a police officer as she clutches a bouquet of flowers outside the Arena today

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A well-wisher talks to a police officer as she clutches a bouquet of flowers outside the Arena today

The blast detonated in the foyer near the box office as thousands of pop fans left the concert, many going to Victoria station

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The blast detonated in the foyer near the box office as thousands of pop fans left the concert, many going to Victoria station

Witnesses told of seeing shards of metal tearing into concert-goers in the foyer area of the world-famous concert venue – leaving dozens lying in pools of blood.

The horrific blast could he heard echoing through the packed arena as families tried to make their way home as the concert came to an end just after 10.40pm.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s wife and two daughters were “caught up in the attack”, according to reports in Spain.

Heavily armed police have been spotted in Manchester

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Armed police raided a house in Fallowfield, south Manchester, in connection with last night’s bomb

A police forensic investigator at an address in Elsmore Road, Greater Manchester

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A police forensic investigator at an address in Elsmore Road, Greater Manchester

Some reports claimed the terrorist caught a £3.80 tram to the arena to carry out the suicide bombing.

But other US security sources, citing British intelligence officials, suggested he may have caught a train.

Two former top anti-terror cops have said the atrocity was “well planned” and “sophisticated”.

Theresa May – speaking from the steps of Downing Street – said this morning the attack “stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice.”

The PM added the “cowardice of the attacker was met by the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester.”

Mum and daughter caught up in terror attack look out from their hotel window

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Mum and daughter caught up in terror attack look out from their hotel window

Theresa May slammed the 'appalling terrorist attack' and says her 'thoughts are with the victims' families'

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Theresa May slammed the ‘appalling terrorist attack’ and says her ‘thoughts are with the victims’ families’

Ewitnesses told how they heard the first blast as Ariana left the stage.

Cherry Dale, 12, and Halle Norris, 10, travelled with dad Andy Andrews, 33, and Halle’s mum Chloe Nayman, 28, from Middlesborough.

Cherry said: “Ariana finished her last song, Dangerous Woman, and said goodbye and thank you. Then there was a massive bang. Ariana Grande was running off the stage.

Around 100 members of the public line up to donate blood in Manchester city centre

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Around 100 members of the public line up to donate blood in Manchester city centre

Tearful fans outside the Park Inn hotel in Manchester this morning

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Tearful fans outside the Park Inn hotel in Manchester this morning

“That was the first explosion then another went off in a tunnel as people were running out of the arena. People were screaming and hiding under chairs.

“We saw one little boy who was about six get knocked over and people were running over him. The second bomb was close to us.

“It was as we were leaving. Everyone was walking out of the tunnels and it was like the bomb had been thrown in the tunnel where everyone was running.

“Outside, people were running in front of cars crying, they just wanted to be safe.”

Cherry said: “It was the first time we’ve been to a concert. It was so frightening. We saw one little boy who was about six get knocked over and people were running over him. We couldn’t see him after that. He was just lost.

Dramatic footage captured the moment concert-goers ran for their lives

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Dramatic footage captured the moment concert-goers ran for their lives

Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes of the blast

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Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes of the blast

“A woman came here and she was covered in from her head to her toes. She’d been hit in the back in the explosion and an ambulance came and took her away.”

Chloe said: “People were laying on the floor like there was a gunman and people were running out.

“There was children up my waist, little ones screaming and crying.

“People were just frantic. I was trying to gather the smaller children to guide them out safely. There was people screaming, banging into each other.

“As we were running to the hotel holding hands we saw two little girls screaming for their parents. I took them and said, ‘come with us, you’ll be safe with us.’

“The little girl’s phone rang. It was the ambulance, they had her father. He’d been hit in the chest with shrapnel.

“I took the phone and spoke to them to tell him they were safe.

“Their mum had gone to another hospital. We don’t know how she is still. Her aunt came for her and the police took them to their parents.”

Paramedics attend to a bloodied victim outside the arena

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Paramedics attend to a bloodied victim outside the arena

Forensic teams search the bomb site for clues this morning

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Forensic teams search the bomb site for clues this morning

Michael Harrison, 25, a business analyst from Manchester, was in his flat nearby when he heard the blast.

Speaking outside the arena this morning he said: “We were just in our flat watching telly when there was this almighty bang.

“There are building works going on in our block so we thought it could be connected to that at first.

“But then we saw people streaming out of the arena down Cheetham Hill Road. They looked really shocked. Some we carrying balloons.

“Then we saw on Twitter that it was a terror attack.

“We were in shock. You just don’t think anything like that will happen in your city.”

Former MoD counter-terror boss Major General Chip Chapman told Sky News today: “The suicide bomb aspect shows that this is absolutely jihadi, Islamist terrorism.

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Thousands run screaming after ‘explosions’ at Ariana Grande gig in Manchester Arena

Concert-goers screamed and fled in panic as a terrorist detonated a huge bomb

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Concert-goers screamed and fled in panic as a terrorist detonated a huge bomb

Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena

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Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena

The scene at Manchester Royal Infirmary as the death toll from the Manchester bomb attack rose to 22

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The scene at Manchester Royal Infirmary as the death toll from the Manchester bomb attack rose to 22

Flags have been lowered to half-mast in Downing Street in honour of the victims

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Flags have been lowered to half-mast in Downing Street in honour of the victims

A man carries some flowers to the scene of where 22 concert-goers have been reported killed

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A man carries some flowers to the scene of where 22 concert-goers have been reported killed

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PM Theresa May delivers defiant statement after terror attack at Ariana Grande gig in Manchester“You can rule out separatist terrorism from Northern Ireland and we can rule out right-wing terrorism.

“They’ll be looking at whether there’s a network there or whether this is a lone individual.

“Most of the time it’s not a lone individual, it’s very rare that you’ll find someone who’s able to construct a bomb as a lone individual.

“I probably think this guy was on a database.”

Witnesses told how nuts and bolts were sent flying in the blast at the foyer area as fans made their way to Manchester Victoria train station next door.

The attack came on the fourth anniversary of the murder of British soldier  Lee Rigby and just two months after four were slaughtered when a Hyundai 4×4 driver mowed down people on Westminster Bridge, central London.

Shocking pictures and video footage have shown the bloodied injured leaving the 21,000 capacity arena as passers-by rushed to try and help.

Paramedics at the scene told the BBC of “shrapnel-like injuries”, suggesting the explosion could have been caused by a nail bomb.

There are many children among the 22 killed in the Manchester attack, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said.

Shocking. Horrendous. Love and light to all affected. Sickened by the world we live in, at times. Cowardly.

Mr Hopkins said the lone male attacker, who died in the blast, was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated.

He added: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.

“Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives.

A man carries a young girl on his shoulders near the scene of the attack

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A man carries a young girl on his shoulders near the scene of the attack

A young boy and his dog are helped to safety

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A young boy and his dog are helped to safety

Dozens were injured in the terror attack which happened as the gig finished

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Dozens were injured in the terror attack which happened as the gig finished

An injured fan is led away from the carnage

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An injured fan is led away from the carnage

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GM Chief Constable Ian Hopkins gives briefing following Manchester Arena explosion

Fans comfort each other after the attack

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Fans comfort each other after the attack

“Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones.

“We continue to do all we can to support them.

“They are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.

“This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester as they wake up to news of the events last night.

“This will include armed officers as people would expect.

“More than 400 officers have been involved in this operation during the night.

Armed police escort a stretcher carrying a casualty down the steps at Manchester Arena

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Armed police escort a stretcher carrying a casualty down the steps at Manchester Arena

The roads around the arena were sealed off after the attack

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The roads around the arena were sealed off after the attack

Police chief constable Ian Hopkins speaks to the media in Manchester

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Police chief constable Ian Hopkins speaks to the media in Manchester

This young fan is in safe hands after the deadly attack

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This young fan is in safe hands after the deadly attack

Bomb disposal teams were called to the attack site

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Bomb disposal teams were called to the attack site

“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man.

“The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena.

“We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd arriving in Downing Street for a COBRA meeting on the terror attack

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Home Secretary Amber Rudd arriving in Downing Street for a COBRA meeting on the terror attack

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Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham pays tribute to victims of the Manchester Arena explosion

Armed cops patrolling the streets of Manchester this morning

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Armed cops patrolling the streets of Manchester this morning

“The station will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway.

“People should plan their route to work and follow Transport for Greater Manchester for updates on social media.

“Terrorists attempt to disrupt our lives and create distrust and fear in communities.

“We have a long history in Greater Manchester of communities standing together during difficult times.

“In the coming days we will be working closely with community leaders to address any issues.

A young fan is comforted as she leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester

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A young fan is comforted as she leaves the Park Inn hotel in central Manchester

One of the walking wounded heads home after being treated for his injuries

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One of the walking wounded heads home after being treated for his injuries

Armed police on the streets after the suicide attack

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Armed police on the streets after the suicide attack

By the early hours the streets were clear of people

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By the early hours the streets were clear of people

“It is important that we all continue to remain vigilant, but also to go about our daily lives. We would ask people to be alert and report any suspicious activity to police on the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789321 or dialling 999.”

Anyone with images or footage that can assist the investigation should be uploaded to UK police image appeal online.

PRIME MINISTER HALTS ELECTION CAMPAIGN

THERESA May has condemned the “appalling terrorist attack” at Manchester Arena – as all parties suspended General Election campaigns.

The PM said her thoughts were with the families of victims of last night’s explosion, which left 22 dead.

She has called an emergency Cobra meeting for 9am this morning.

In a brief statement, the Prime Minister said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

“All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had spoken with Mrs May.

He said: “We have agreed that all national campaigning in the general election will be suspended until further notice.”

He added: “I am horrified by the horrendous events in Manchester last night.

“My thoughts are with families and friends of those who have died and been injured.

“Today the whole country will grieve for the people who have lost their lives.”

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Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins gives statement following arena ‘terror attack’

Cherry Dale, 12 (right) , and Halle Norris, 10, travelled Halle’s mum Chloe Nayman

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Cherry Dale, 12 (right) , and Halle Norris, 10, travelled Halle’s mum Chloe Nayman

Flowers left close to the Manchester Arena, the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22

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Flowers left close to the Manchester Arena, the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22

We Love Manchester signs have begun to pop up around the city in a show of solidarity

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We Love Manchester signs have begun to pop up around the city in a show of solidarity

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Appeal for missing people following Manchester Arena terrorist attack at Ariana Grande concertBomb squads were called in and carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious item, which was later found to be abandoned clothing.

British Transport Police have confirmed the first explosion went off in the foyer area of the stadium, adding that emergency services are working to establish the cause and ask people to avoid the area.

Manchester’s Victoria Station, which backs onto the arena, was evacuated following the blast, and all train services were suspended for Tuesday.

British officials have yet to make a statement about the nature of the blast but security minister Ben Wallace has called for vigilance and asked anyone who sees anything suspicious to call the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789123.

Manchester Royal Infirmary declared a major incident at 11.10pm and cleared its A&E department to treat the victims.

Victoria Station

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A police officer patrols Victoria Station, near to the Manchester Arena

‘BROKEN’ ARIANA CALLS OFF TOUR

Ariana Grande has posted a heartbreaking statement saying she is “broken” following the terror attack.

The 23-year-old pop star, who was confirmed to be safe following the massacre, posted the emotional message on her Twitter account.

She said: “Broken from the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

The singer is believed to have called off her world tour, having cancelled her gig in London on Thursday and put her entire European tour on hold, according to TMZ.

Were you at Manchester Arena on Monday evening? Call 0207 782 4368 or email tips@the-sun.co.uk

Courtney Spencer, a 17-year-old student who was at the concert with a pal, told The Sun: “It happened just in front of us at the top of the stairs. We didn’t know what had happened.

“It could have been a gun or a bang or an explosion.

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“We just grabbed each other and got away. One lass was laying in her mother’s arms. I’m not sure if she has collapsed in shock or was injured.”

Abby Mullen said she was also leaving the venue at the time of the blast and refuted earlier claims it had been caused by a speaker or balloon, which had circulated on social media after the explosion.

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Fans flee from seats in the Manchester Arena as panic spreads after explosion

A man injured in the suspected terrorist attack at Manchester Arena at the scene

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A man injured in the suspected terrorist attack at Manchester Arena at the scene

She wrote on Facebook: “As we where leaving a bomb or explosion went off centimetres in front of me.

“Peoples skin/blood&faeces where everywhere including in my hair & on my bag. I’m still finding bits of god knows what in my hair. I am fine & back in my hotel I hope everyone involved and in front of me is okay.”

Chris Parker, 33, was walking through the station towards the box office when one explosion went off.

He said he saw at least six ­people seriously injured on the floor and told The Sun: “I was walking through and one huge bang went off.

“There was nuts and bolts flying everywhere, and also human flesh. It was just one bang and a white flash. I treated a woman called Pauline. I’ve got blood on my hands. It was like a war zone inside where the box office is.

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Controlled explosion in Cathedral gardens following Manchester concert ‘terrorist incident’

Armed police at the scene in Manchester after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert

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Armed police at the scene in Manchester after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert

Pictures from inside the venue show concertgoers rushing for the exit

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Pictures from inside the venue show concertgoers rushing for the exit

“There looked to be at least six people potentially fatally wounded. I saw one woman’s leg off. It is mayhem.”

Concert-goer Majid Khan, 22, added: “I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10.40-10.45pm-ish a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.

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Girl in Manchester terror attack says she will go to concerts again”It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit Trinity Way and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could.

“Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.”

There is a huge police presence in Manchester tonight as emergency services respond

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There is a huge police presence in Manchester as emergency services respond

Ariana Grande has finished her performance at Manchester Arena shortly before tonight the blast

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Ariana Grande had finished her performance at Manchester Arena shortly before the blast

Armed police quickly arrived at the scene followed by bomb squads

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Armed police quickly arrived at the scene followed by bomb squads

Concertgoers are seen fleeing the venue through the streets of Manchester tonight

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Concert-goers are seen fleeing the venue through the streets of Manchester

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Armed police on the scene in Manchester after reports of explosion at Ariana Grande concert

Kirstyn Pollard was at the gig for her daughter Grace’s ninth birthday

“Ariana Grande came on for an encore, she blew a kiss to the audience, walked off – and then the bang happened,” she said.

“We were at the front right and the bang seemed to come from the back left, and then suddenly you just heard screaming and everybody was running from the back towards the front, it was just sheer chaos.

“We made our way to the side and I was looking down thinking, I thought if this is like Paris, if there’s anything else going on I’m going to get off via the stage.

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Ariana Grande fan films star performing minutes before deadly Manchester terror attack”I thought it sounded like a bomb. Some people said it was a balloon – but I knew it was a bomb.
“I think it’s appalling – there were so many children there.

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. But you can’t let them win can you, we’re going to carry on, we’re going to go to more concerts.”

A person holds a lit candle during a prayer session with the Dean of Manchester near the Manchester Arena

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A person holds a lit candle during a prayer session with the Dean of Manchester near the Manchester Arena

Walking casualties leave a nearby hotel that took in people from the Manchester Arena stadium

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Walking casualties leave a nearby hotel that took in people from the Manchester Arena stadium

Armed police on duty today at Piccadilly Station

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Armed police on duty today at Piccadilly Station

Manchester Arena said: “We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night.

“The incident took place outside the venue in a public space.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.”

A Twitter user said: “Everyone screamed and ran out I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

Another added: “Just got out of Manchester arena after seeing Ariana perform. There was a loud bang when the lights came on & everyone ran out screaming.”

In the aftermath of the explosion youngsters struggled to get home with the city’s kindhearted residents offering places to stay and taxi drivers giving free trips.

Police rush to Manhcester Arena as crowds are seen fleeing

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Police rush to Manchester Arena as crowds are seen fleeing

Thousands were at the arena watching a performance by Ariana Grande

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Thousands were at the arena watching a performance by Ariana Grande

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Emergency services head towards the MEN Arena amid reports of ‘loud bangs’Politicians have reacted to Monday evening’s shocking scenes.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said her thoughts are with the victims and families of those affected in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack”.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This is a shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were simply enjoying a concert.

“My deepest sympathies are with the victims, and with families who have lost loved ones, as well as those desperately waiting for news.

“I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the emergency services.

Casualties are carried out of the arena in Manchester this evening as the hospital declared a state of emergency

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Casualties are carried out of the arena in Manchester this evening as the hospital declared a state of emergency

“This is an attack on innocent people and the nation is united both in its grief and its determination to stand up to this kind of deplorable attack.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.”

Newly elected Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham tweeted: “My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.”

US President Donald Trump has offered his condolences to the victims who lost their lives and their families in the Manchester terror attack which killed at least 22 people.

“I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured… and to the so many families of the victims. We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.

US President Donald Trump has offered his condolences to the victims

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US President Donald Trump has offered his condolences to the victims

“So many young beautiful and innocent people enjoying and living their lives, murdered… by evil losers in life,” he added, calling on the international community to rally to “protect human life” from terror.

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, who played Hayley in Coronation Street, was among those tweeting asking for information with her daughter and husband caught up in the chaos.

She said: “My husband and daughter safe but what is happening at MEN please? They were told mass panic after loud noise that wasn’t explosion.”

Major General Chip Chapman, former MoD counter-terror boss discusses the network needed for a terroristOthers have turned to social media in a bid to check on relatives with a Holiday Inn in the city taking in unaccompanied children.

Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, opened in 1995 and is a popular concert and sporting venue.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe” meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

For the latest news on this story keep checking back at Sun Online, where we will bring you live updates as soon as they happen, before anyone else.
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Former Pentagon chief Gates warns of more IS attacks

May 23, 2017

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | Former US defense chief Robert Gates warns that Islamic State fighters will step up attacks against the West as they lose ground in Iraq and Syria

WASHINGTON (AFP) – 

Former US defense secretary Robert Gates warned Tuesday that the West can expect further attacks like the suicide bombing in Manchester that killed at least 22 people.

Gates, who served under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said Islamic State jihadists would step up international terror attacks as they lose ground in Iraq and Syria.

“As people scurry away from those sites, that doesn’t mean they are defeated individually or have lost their commitment to attacking the ‘crusaders,'” Gates said at a Washington conference.

“It just means they will change their tactics.”

US-backed local forces have pushed IS out of almost all of their former stronghold Mosul in Iraq, and an offensive on Raqa in Syria is expected to begin in the coming months.

But the jihadists’ eventual loss of this emblematic pair of cities should not be overstated.

“Just as we have seen Al-Qaeda metastasize subsequent to the killing of Osama bin Laden back in 2011… I think you will see ISIS become more active and more aggressive in a variety of places in the West,” Gates predicted.

President Donald Trump has instructed the Pentagon to “annihilate” IS in a bid to prevent escaped foreign fighters from returning home.

The move to encircle then kill as many jihadists in place as possible — rather than letting them exit a city and targeting them as they flee — reflects an increased urgency to stop battle-hardened jihadists bringing their military expertise and ideology back to European capitals and other areas.

Twenty-two people, including children, were killed in a suicide bombing at a pop concert packed with teens in the British city of Manchester late Monday. Another 59 were wounded.

IS has claimed responsibility.

Trump’s Saudi embrace, Iran disdain upend Obama’s vision: analysts — In the Middle East, Trump “succeeded in bringing peace, which in recent years had become a dirty word, back to the centre of Israeli public and political discourse.”

May 23, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Cécile FEUILLATRE | US President Donald Trump (C) praised the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council, specifically Saudi Arabia, for efforts to cut off funding to extremists while lambasting Iran

PARIS (AFP) – 

US President Donald Trump’s emphatic embrace of Sunni Arab regimes and his vilification of Iran mark a stark departure from the vision of his predecessor Barack Obama in the volatile region, analysts say.

Pointedly delivering his first foreign speech in Riyadh on Sunday, Trump praised the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council, specifically Saudi Arabia, for efforts to cut off funding to extremists while lambasting Iran as the “spearhead of terrorism”.

While the unpredictable Trump completed the visit to the region without committing a major gaffe, his approach “swept away the entire Obama legacy with the wave of a hand,” said Thierry Coville, an Iran expert at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.

“That the United States wants to restore a certain balance in its ties with Saudi Arabia, OK, but to put Iran and the IS group on the same level is false, illogical and counter-productive,” Coville told AFP.

Coville said that removing human rights concerns routinely levelled at Arab states from the centre of US foreign policy was “understandable”.

But he added: “Telling (Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi) that he is doing a ‘fantastic’ job and saying that Saudi Arabia is a ‘magnificent kingdom’, while forgetting that in Iran people are making the effort to get out and vote, is very dangerous.”

Hasni Abidi, head of the Geneva-based Study and Research Centre for the Arab and Mediterranean World (CERNAM), also spoke of a “break in US policy”.

Obama, whose secretary of state John Kerry helped broker the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, “banked on Iran’s moderate forces, (while) Trump has chosen the Sunni camp, starting with Saudi Arabia, a country with unequalled financial means,” Abidi told AFP.

Washington and Riyadh agreed deals totalling some $380 billion (340 billion euros).

“But the price of regaining the confidence of Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council is to portray Iran as a threat,” Abidi added.

He noted that Washington still depends on Iran for cooperation in Iraq against IS and in Afghanistan against the Taliban, and Trump has “shown caution so far”.

Coville went further, calling Trump’s speech a “smokescreen” aimed at “making people forget that he is in the process of validating the nuclear accord”.

He also noted that Iran Air, in Tehran’s first deal with a US aviation group since the 1979 Islamic revolution, finalised in December a contract worth $16.6 billion to purchase 80 Boeing planes.

Paris-based political scientist Azadeh Kian said authorities in Tehran had not taken Trump’s Riyadh speech seriously, pointing to a tweet by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying that Washington was “milking” Saudi Arabia.

But she said it was “worrying, especially after an election… that showed that there is a real dynamic towards democratisation and opening in Iranian society.”

– ‘More hope than experience’ –

Meanwhile Trump’s call for Israelis and Palestinians to “make a deal” has drawn praised mixed with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Speaking in Jerusalem, the US leader offered no specifics but said he was “personally committed” to helping to resolve the decades-old conflict.

“Making peace, however, will not be easy,” Trump said. “But with determination, compromise and the belief that peace is possible, Israelis and Palestinians can make a deal.”

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Trump had “succeeded in bringing peace, which in recent years had become a dirty word, back to the centre of Israeli public and political discourse.”

But it added: “Trump has the will and motivation, but for now he has no plan.”

Former Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller, writing in Politico last week, argued that “strange as it may seem, Trump actually has a Middle East strategy, or at least a reasonably coherent approach.”

The idea is to forge a “US-Israeli-Sunni Arab entente… held together by several objectives they share in varying degrees: destroy ISIS, roll back Iranian influence, and deliver some kind of Israeli-Palestinian peace,” Miller wrote.

It is a “transactional deal” in which the Arab states would help Washington revive the peace process in exchange for a much tougher US policy against Iran, he said.

However, he warned: “But Washington’s approach seems driven more by hope than experience. Trump is likely to discover that the region… is more complicated than he thought.”

by Cécile FEUILLATRE

‘Islamic State’ claims Manchester Arena suicide bombing

May 23, 2017

Wounded people inside the Manchester Arena after a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert on Monday evening. Credit Press Association, via Associated Press

‘Islamic State’ has claimed the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which killed 22 people. Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man, and are working to identify a suspect killed in the attack.

– Police confirm 22 people have died after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert. More than 50 others were injured.  

– Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, which police say was carried out by one man using an improvised explosive device.

– Police say a 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the bombing. There are reports that a raid was carried out in the Whalley Range area of the city.

Police and other emergency services are seen near the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion. Police have confirmed they are responding to an incident during an Ariana Grande concert at the venue.

Rex Features | AP Images
Police and other emergency services are seen near the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion. Police have confirmed they are responding to an incident during an Ariana Grande concert at the venue.

The “Islamic State” (IS) militant group said it was responsible for the Manchester Arena attack, which it said had been carried out with a device that was planted at the arena.

IS is known to make such claims even where it has not had direct involvement in planning and orchestrating specific terror attacks.

Police, who contrastingly said an improvised explosive device was carried by the attacker, said late on Tuesday morning that they had arrested a suspect linked to the bombing. The bomber is believed to have been carrying an identification document on him.

There were reports early on Tuesday afternoon that police had carried out a raid in the Whalley Range area of the city.

With regards to last night’s incident at the Manchester arena, we can confirm we have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester.

Hundreds fled the Manchester Arena after two large bangs on Monday evening. Video posted on Twitter showed fans streaming out of the venue where a concert attended by mainly teenagers and children had been taking place.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said police believed the incident was carried out by one man. The attacker died at the arena in an explosion caused by an improvised explosive device, Hopkins said. While he did not give an age range of the victims, he confirmed children were among the dead.

One of the victims was reported to be eight years old.

Hopkins said forensic investigators were still determining whether the attacker had accomplices. He said there was still no information about the individual who had detonated the device, adding it was “the most horrific incident” the city had ever faced.

Theresa May condemns suicide bombing as ‘worst of humanity’

Manchester and the world show solidarity with concert attack victims

World leaders condemn Manchester attack

By Tuesday morning, there had been an uneasy calm in the city center as the working day began, DW’s Lars Bevanger noted. Major roads as well as the city’s Victoria railway station were closed. One of the victims

Unusual calm near arena as people try to make their way to work. Large area cordoned off for ongoing investigation.

Towards noon, however, there was some panic as police evacuated the city’s Arndale Center shopping mall. An arrest was made but this was said not to be related to the bombing. The mall was subsequently reopened, but police asked people to avoid the city center.

Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, COBRA, on Tuesday morning. Subsequently, May announced that police believed they knew the identity of the suicide bomber.

Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham said the city would show resilience in the face of the attack.

“These were children and young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorize and kill,” said Burnham. “This was an evil act. We are grieving today but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual – as far as possible – in our great city.”

Manchester Arena incident. Armed police at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig (picture-alliance/empics/PA Wire/P. Byrne)Armed police swarmed the area after the incident

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd called the incident “a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.”

Eyewitness reports

Concert attendee Majid Khan, 22, told The Guardian newspaper a bomb-like bang went off as people were exiting the 18,000-capacity venue, leading to a mass panic. “Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there,” he was quoted as saying.

Concertgoer Catherine Macfarlane told the Reuters news agency: “Everyone was screaming and people were running. It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out.”

Großbritannien Polizeieinsatz in Manchester (picture-alliance/ZUMA/London News Pictures/J. Goodman)

Witnesses described panicked crowds rushing the exits

One eyewitness said metal nuts appeared to have been packed into the explosive device.The BBC has reported that people were treated for “shrapnel-like injuries.” The Manchester Evening News said staff at Wythenshawe Hospital in South Manchester told people without life-threatening injuries to leave the emergency room.

There was ​condemnation of the attack from around the world  with flags flying at half mast in Berlin and Brussels.

The US singer Ariana Grande has wide appeal among a young audience, after finding success on the children’s TV channel Nickelodeon. Early Tuesday morning, Grande spoke of her sorrow on Twitter.

Local residents offered their homes up to people affected by the incident using the hashtag #RoomForManchester.

Manchester police set up an emergency number for those involved in the blast.

An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area – 0161 856 9400

Manchester was previously targeted by terrorists in June 1996, in a bomb attack that leveled a section of the city center. More than 200 people were injured in that attack, carried out by the IRA, although there were no fatalities.

There were reports on Tuesday morning that police had closed London’s Victoria Coach Station and surrounding streets, after a suspect package was found in the area.

‘Suicide bomber’ strikes at Manchester, UK During Concert Performance — Nineteen people killed and 50 injured in terrorist attack

May 23, 2017

  • Nineteen people killed after explosions rang out at the end of an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester Arena
  • Video footage showed thousands fleeing in tears from the venue, many covered in blood, when gig ended
  • Armed officers surrounded venue and bloodied concertgoers pictured being helped by emergency services
  • Horrifying footage showed petrified children leaping over chairs and barriers as they tried to escape
  • At 3am chief constable of Greater Manchester Police said they were treating it as a ‘terrorist incident’ 
  • An hour later, Grande tweeted: ‘Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words’ 
  • Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn suspended election campaigning and said thoughts were with the victims
  • Anyone concerned about missing loved-ones should call the police’s emergency hotline on 0161 856 9400
  • Were you at the concert tonight? If so, please call 020 361 53 874 or email rory.tingle@mailonline.co.uk

At least 19 people are dead and 59 more injured after a suspected suicide bomber targeted children leaving a packed pop concert at Manchester Arena last night in Britain’s worst terror attack since 7/7.

Witnesses told of nuts and bolts tearing into young gig-goers when the blast was detonated in the foyer area between the arena and the next-door Victoria station just after the Ariana Grande performance ended.

One image captured bodies of the dead and injured lying in an area between the arena and the next-door Victoria station, which had been packed with people leaving the venue as the gig wound down.

As the explosion tore through the lobby, terrified youngsters stampeded for the sold-out 21,000-seater stadium’s exits in horrifying scenes caught on mobile phone cameras. Witnesses described the carnage as being ‘like a war zone’.

Armed police, the bomb squad and scores of emergency vehicles descended on the venue in the aftermath of the explosion, which took place at 10:35pm last night.

Shortly after 1.30am, a controlled explosion was carried out in the Cathedral Gardens near Manchester Arena, but police later confirmed the suspicious package had been an item of clothing.

Officials in the US said their UK counterparts had identified a possible male suicide bomber as being responsible for the atrocity. In a 3am press conference, Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins confirmed his force were treating it as a terror attack.

An hour later, US star Grande, who escaped unharmed, tweeted she was ‘broken’.

‘From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words,’ she added. Her manager Scooter Braun said: ‘We mourn for the children.’

This distressing picture purportedly shows the inside of the arena after the suicide attack at the Ariana Grande concert - its veracity has been confirmed by the two witnesses

This distressing picture purportedly shows the inside of the arena after the suicide attack at the Ariana Grande concert – its veracity has been confirmed by the two witnesses

Casualties are stretchered out of the concert tonight after a terror attack in the Ariana Grande concert 

Casualties are stretchered out of the concert tonight after a terror attack in the Ariana Grande concert

Concert-goers and witnesses have described the chaos after 'huge bomb-like bangs' went off in Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande gig

A father carries away his daughter following the suspected terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert

This was the scene inside the Manchester Arena tonight after the suspected terror attack at the teen concert

This was the scene inside the Manchester Arena tonight after the suspected terror attack at the teen concert

Concert-goers helped injured people make their way from the gig in Manchester tonight

Concert-goers helped injured people make their way from the gig in Manchester tonight

A child was spotted clutching a balloon while wrapped in a foil wrap following the terror attack at the Manchester Arena

A child was spotted clutching a balloon while wrapped in a foil wrap following the terror attack at the Manchester Arena

Witnesses reported hearing a 'huge bang' at the venue shortly after US singer Ariana Grande's gig finished

Witnesses reported hearing a ‘huge bang’ at the venue shortly after US singer Ariana Grande’s gig finished

This graphic shows where the explosion took place, in the foyer area, leading towards Victoria railway station 

This graphic shows where the explosion took place, in the foyer area, leading towards Victoria railway station

Witness Evie Brewster, who had been taken to her first concert by her mother, told MailOnline how the boom of the explosion echoed around the arena at the end of the gig.

‘Ariana Grande had just finished her last song and left the stage when a huge explosion sounded,’ she said.

‘Suddenly everybody started screaming and running for the exit. We could hear the police and ambulance sirens. It was terrifying.

‘There were thousands of people trying to get out at once. They were all screaming and crying. The whole place smelt smokey and burnt.

‘The explosion sounded like it was inside the building somewhere.’

Video footage showed thousands of people fleeing in tears from the venue, many covered in blood, after concert finished. Many people appeared to have lower-limb injuries.

The awful moment the ‘nail bomb’ explodes at Ariana Grande concert
A Twitter account - which was unverified - posted this hours before the attack, warning of a terror attack 

The Twitter account also posted this picture of the ISIS flag with the hashtag 'Manchester Arena' 

A Twitter account – which was unverified – posted this hours before the attack, warning of a terror attack

Witness Abby Mullen from Airdrie, who was at the event, described the carnage.

‘As we were leaving a bomb or explosion went off centimetres in front of me,’ she said. ‘People’s skin and faeces where everywhere including in my hair and on my bag.

‘I’m still finding bits of God knows what in my hair. You never ever expect these things to happen to you but this proves it can happen to anybody.

‘That sound, the blood and those who were running around clueless with body parts and bits of skin missing will not be leaving my mind any time soon or the minds of those involved.’

Prior to the incident yesterday evening, an unverified Twitter account posted cryptic Tweets showing the ISIS black flag alongside the hashtags #IslamicState and #Manchesterarena. It was unclear early today what if any significance these Tweets carried.

But the Tweeter also said: ‘You forget our threat? This is the just terror’. His account was deleted shortly afterwards.

Crowds run through Manchester station in panic after bomb blast

Bloodied concertgoers were pictured being helped by armed police outside the arena after explosions rang out at the gig

Crowds of children could be seen streaming outside of the arena throughout the evening as the scale of the attack became clear

A woman sitting on a wall  comforts a girl wrapped in a white blanket. Distressing scenes like this one were a reminder of the huge number of young people in the venue 

A woman sitting on a wall  comforts a girl wrapped in a white blanket. Distressing scenes like this one were a reminder of the huge number of young people in the venue

Ariana Grande has attracted an overwhelmingly young fan base ever since appearing as Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon's high school sitcom 'Victorious'. Pictured: Crowds of adults and children leaving Manchester Arena 

Ariana Grande has attracted an overwhelmingly young fan base ever since appearing as Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon’s high school sitcom ‘Victorious’. Pictured: Crowds of adults and children leaving Manchester Arena

A man comforts a child wrapped in a white blanket. Lots of other children were seen being cared for by police and passers-by

A man comforts a child wrapped in a white blanket. Lots of other children were seen being cared for by police and passers-by

In Turkey, 39 people died when a gunman attacked New Year's revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul. Pictured: A man comforts a child after leaving the concert hall

In Turkey, 39 people died when a gunman attacked New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul. Pictured: A man comforts a child after leaving the concert hall

Pop concerts and nightclubs have been a terrorism target before. Almost 90 people were killed by gunmen at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal in November 2015. Pictured: Concert-goers sit by a wall outside the venue

Pop concerts and nightclubs have been a terrorism target before. Almost 90 people were killed by gunmen at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal in November 2015. Pictured: Concert-goers sit by a wall outside the venue

A boy accompanied by an adult carries a dog outside the arena, where crowds of police were gathered. Greater Manchester Police said they will be releasing a contact number for missing people as soon as possible

A boy accompanied by an adult carries a dog outside the arena, where crowds of police were gathered. Greater Manchester Police said they will be releasing a contact number for missing people as soon as possible

After the incident police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena, and the train station near the arena, Victoria Station, was evacuated and all trains cancelled

After the incident police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena, and the train station near the arena, Victoria Station, was evacuated and all trains cancelled

A woman speaks on her phone as a group of concert goers walk past on the pavement. A police officer stays at hand to help direct people away from the scene

A woman speaks on her phone as a group of concert goers walk past on the pavement. A police officer stays at hand to help direct people away from the scene

'This does not appear to have been a carefully planned attack involving multiple actors, extensive surveillance of the target or exotic materials,' said a U.S. official. Pictured: An armoured police vehicle patrolling near Manchester Arena 

‘This does not appear to have been a carefully planned attack involving multiple actors, extensive surveillance of the target or exotic materials,’ said a U.S. official. Pictured: An armoured police vehicle patrolling near Manchester Arena

Scooter Braun, Ariana Grande's manager, said: 'Tonight, our hearts are broken. Words cannot express our sorrow for the victims and families harmed.' Pictured: A makeshift emergency services base outside Manchester Central Fire Station

Scooter Braun, Ariana Grande’s manager, said: ‘Tonight, our hearts are broken. Words cannot express our sorrow for the victims and families harmed.’ Pictured: A makeshift emergency services base outside Manchester Central Fire Station

Officers watch on as a Royal Logistics Corps bomb disposal robot moves into place behind a security cordon outside Manchester Arena 

Officers watch on as a Royal Logistics Corps bomb disposal robot moves into place behind a security cordon outside Manchester Arena

No militant group has claimed responsibility so far but Islamic State supporters celebrated on social media. Pictured: Police patrolling the Manchester streets 

Crowds of people were seen outside the venue speaking on mobile phones, presumably to contact loved ones or tell relatives they were ok

Crowds of people were seen outside the venue speaking on mobile phones, presumably to contact loved ones or tell relatives they were ok

Manchester Arena said on its website that the blast struck outside the venue as concertgoers were leaving. Pictured: Children holding hands walking away from the scene

Manchester Arena said on its website that the blast struck outside the venue as concertgoers were leaving. Pictured: Children holding hands walking away from the scene

May is due to chair a meeting of the government's COBRA emergency committee later Tuesday. She and other candidates suspended campaigning for Britain's June 8 election after the blast. Pictured: A child being cared for by police

May is due to chair a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee later Tuesday. She and other candidates suspended campaigning for Britain’s June 8 election after the blast. Pictured: A child being cared for by police

Outside the arena, shocked concert-goers struggled to find ways home as the adjoining Victoria station was closed.

Chris Parker, 33, told how like many others he was heading towards the box office when he heard the explosion.

He told The Sun: ‘There was nuts and bolts flying everywhere, and also human flesh. It was just one bang and a white flash.

‘I treated a woman called Pauline. I’ve got blood on my hands. It was like a war zone inside where the box office is.’

Gary Walker told the Daily Star: ‘The nuts must have been packed in the device that’s exploded – there’s nowhere else they could’ve come from.’

Ariana Grande fans running away from venue after an explosion
This picture shows the layout of Manchester Arena - the explosion happened in the foyer area leading to the railway station (in the bottom left corner)

This picture shows the layout of Manchester Arena – the explosion happened in the foyer area leading to the railway station (in the bottom left corner)

A woman spotted being helped by emergency services following the suspected terror attack in Manchester 

A man with a bandage on his head exits the arena after the terror attack inside the Manchester Arena 

A man with a bandage on his head exits the arena after the terror attack inside the Manchester Arena

Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many of the casualties of the attack were taken. Medical facilities around the city put into placed well-practised emergency response plans to deal with the incident

Manchester Royal Infirmary, where many of the casualties of the attack were taken. Medical facilities around the city put into placed well-practised emergency response plans to deal with the incident

Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, addressed the media to tell them everything possible was being done to help the victims of the attack and officers were liasing with members of the intelligence services

Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, addressed the media to tell them everything possible was being done to help the victims of the attack and officers were liasing with members of the intelligence services

Greater Manchester Police has been widely praised for its fast reaction to the incident by commentators across the world 

Greater Manchester Police has been widely praised for its fast reaction to the incident by commentators across the world

Lots of concert-goers wore foil thermal tops to stave off the cold as they waited outside the venue next to members of the emergency services

Lots of concert-goers wore foil thermal tops to stave off the cold as they waited outside the venue next to members of the emergency services

Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours after the incident: 'Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words.' Pictured: A girl on the phone next to a group of police

Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours after the incident: ‘Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.’ Pictured: A girl on the phone next to a group of police

Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said police were treating the blast as a terrorist incident and were working with counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies. They gave no further details on their investigation

Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said police were treating the blast as a terrorist incident and were working with counter-terrorism police and intelligence agencies. They gave no further details on their investigation

It is unclear where exactly the blast occurred, but initial reports indicated it happened either just outside the Manchester Arena or near a foyer. Pictured: Police help an injured woman in Victoria Station 

It is unclear where exactly the blast occurred, but initial reports indicated it happened either just outside the Manchester Arena or near a foyer. Pictured: Police help an injured woman in Victoria Station

A young girl is helped by police after the horrific incident inside the teen concert this evening 

A young girl is helped by police after the horrific incident inside the teen concert this evening

Manchester Arena victims carried out after ‘terrorist’ attack

One picture, purportedly published from the scene on social media, appeared to show bodies in the lobby area of the arena. Late last night two witnesses confirmed its veracity to MailOnline.

Survivors were ferried to six hospitals around Greater Manchester, Chief Constable Hopkins said.

He told reporters: ‘At around 10.33pm we received reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena in the city centre.

‘This was at the conclusion of the Ariana Grande concert. Currently, we have 19 people confirmed to have lost their lives in the explosion and around 50 casualties that are being treated at six hospitals around Greater Manchester.

‘My thoughts are very much with those who have been injured and lost their lives and their loved ones at this terrible time, we are doing all we can to support them.

‘We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information, we are working closely with national counter-terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners.

‘This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. We are doing all that we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected as we gather information about what happened last night.’

A North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesman tweeted: ‘NWAS has taken 59 casualties from the Manchester Arena incident to various hospitals and treated a number of walking wounded on scene.’

A spokesman said the explosion happened within the foyer area of the venue, leading towards Victoria railway station. A bomb disposal unit were also spotted arriving at the scene.

Greater Manchester Police have told people still in need of assistance to go to the Etihad Stadium, the home of Manchester City FC.

Senior counter terror officials met in London in the early hours of today, the BBC reported, with PM Theresa May set to hold a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee this morning.

She also announced a suspension of campaigning for next month’s General Election, adding her thoughts are with the victims and families of those affected in ‘what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack’.

Politicians of all parties were quick to condemn the atrocity. Nigel Farage said the ‘direct attack on children’ marked ‘a new low’ for terrorists.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added: ‘Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.’

Blood seen dripping from victim’s leg after Manchester ‘explosion’
The area around the arena was swamped with police and emergency services. Approach roads have been closed by police

The area around the arena was swamped with police and emergency services. Approach roads have been closed by police

Police seen amongst panicking fans at Ariana Grande concert
Heavily-armed officers watch on as a colleague with a dog walks along the pavement. Greater Manchester Police say they are working with intelligence agencies to investigate the attack

Heavily-armed officers watch on as a colleague with a dog walks along the pavement. Greater Manchester Police say they are working with intelligence agencies to investigate the attack

Prime Minister Theresa May said the government is trying to establish 'the full details' of the attack. Pictured: A young victim wearing a foil thermal top is helped by police

Prime Minister Theresa May said the government is trying to establish ‘the full details’ of the attack. Pictured: A young victim wearing a foil thermal top is helped by police

Bomb disposal units were seen outside the venue. A controlled explosion in Cathedral Gardens was later confirmed as an item of clothing

Bomb disposal units were seen outside the venue. A controlled explosion in Cathedral Gardens was later confirmed as an item of clothing

Loud BANG heard and explosion seen at Manchester Arena

 Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: ‘This is a shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were simply enjoying a concert.

‘My deepest sympathies are with the victims, and with families who have lost loved ones, as well as those desperately waiting for news.

‘I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the emergency services.

‘This is an attack on innocent people and the nation is united both in its grief and its determination to stand up to this deplorable attack.’

Andy Burnham, the newly elected Mayor of Manchester tweeted: ‘My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city’

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram tweeted: ‘My 2 daughters caught up in the Manchester explosion at the arena. They are thankfully safe, but I fear for others.’

He posted later: ‘Confirmed deaths at the Manchester arena. Feel sick to think that people have lost their lives at a gig attended by so many young people.

‘All my thoughts go out to those parents waiting to hear of the safety of their children. It’s a parents worse nightmare. So, so sad.’

And celebrities, including former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand, also paid tribute. Rio said: ‘Just heard the news what’s happening in Manchester… hope everyone is safe and sound!’

‘There’re no problems here’: Manchester Arena announcement urges no panic
Armed police carrying assault rifles were quick to arrive at the scene. Police said they are treating the incident as terror-related 'until we know otherwise'

Armed police carrying assault rifles were quick to arrive at the scene. Police said they are treating the incident as terror-related ‘until we know otherwise’

Armed officers surrounded the venue after the explosion at the end of a performance by US singer Ariana Grande

Armed officers surrounded the venue after the explosion at the end of a performance by US singer Ariana Grande

People attending the concert by Ariana Grande fled in panic on hearing the noises - some in tears

People attending the concert by Ariana Grande fled in panic on hearing the noises – some in tears

Friends consoled one another outside the venue after the suspected terror attack in Manchester tonight 

Friends consoled one another outside the venue after the suspected terror attack in Manchester tonight

Terrifying scenes inside Manchester Arena as crowd flee concert

Other witnesses contacted MailOnline through the night to give their accounts of the outrage.

One woman, Laura, 22, told MailOnline: ‘There was a woman leaning against a car in the car park with her head down, covered in blood and a little girl being lifted away by paramedics. There were quite a few people injured in the car park.’

Her friend, Livvy, 22, added: ‘we saw the explosion happen. Bits of it hit me. My first thought was, ‘that’s a bomb’.

‘It was just when we were leaving. We saw a flash of light and smoke.

‘We’re really shaken up. If we had been there moment earlier we would have been caught up in it rather than seeing it.’

Jonathan Yates, 24, from the Wirral, said: ‘The concert had finished and the lights came on almost instantly. There was a bang, a weird bang. There were lots of balloons but I thought to myself that can’t be a balloon, that’s not normal.

Manchester police treating arena blast as ‘terrorist incident’
 Manchester Fire and Rescue described the incident as "utterly heartbreaking" and asked people not to dial 999 "unless you really need us"

 Manchester Fire and Rescue described the incident as ‘utterly heartbreaking’ and asked people not to dial 999 ‘unless you really need us’

The ambulance service warned people only to call 'for life-threatening emergencies' and said a 'large number of resources' were at the incident

The ambulance service warned people only to call ‘for life-threatening emergencies’ and said a ‘large number of resources’ were at the incident

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "This is an absolutely horrifying incident and our thoughts are with everyone affected.' Pictured: Paramedics wheel away a casualty inside Piccadilly Station 

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: ‘This is an absolutely horrifying incident and our thoughts are with everyone affected.’ Pictured: Paramedics wheel away a casualty inside Piccadilly Station

Police chat to concert-goers following the horrific attack at Manchester Arena this evening 

Police chat to concert-goers following the horrific attack at Manchester Arena this evening

Armed police spotted outside the gig following reports of an explosion at the venue during the Ariana Grande gig

Armed police spotted outside the gig following reports of an explosion at the venue during the Ariana Grande gig

‘We were sat on the floor level and it came from the higher seats, people were running and screaming. Everyone stopped and I turned to my friend and said ‘we need to run’. Everyone was running and screaming and then when we got out it felt a bit more OK.

‘I heard five or six bangs that sounded like gunshots. When we got outside people were outside, crying and on their phones.

‘You don’t think it’s something that’s going to happen when you go… it was such a nice, fun concert.’

Terrified crowds leave Manchester Arena after bomb blast

A policeman talks to a crowd of concertgoers outside Manchester Arena. Politicians have tweeted messages of support for the victims

A man with an injured legs guides a teenage girl outside of the venue following the blast, the cause of which has not been determined for certain 

A man with an injured legs guides a teenage girl outside of the venue following the blast, the cause of which has not been determined for certain

A group of concert-goers sit down near a metal barrier. Witnesses who attended the concert said she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush by thousands of people trying to escape the building

A group of concert-goers sit down near a metal barrier. Witnesses who attended the concert said she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush by thousands of people trying to escape the building

Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours after the incident: 'Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words.' Pictured: A girl on the phone next to a group of police

Witnesses described seeing crowds of people outside the concert hall on their phones trying to contact their parents

Armed police descended on the venue after the terror attack at Manchester Arena tonight

Armed police descended on the venue after the terror attack at Manchester Arena tonight

A woman sits in the street wrapped in a foil blanket after the explosion inside the Manchester Arena tonight

A woman sits in the street wrapped in a foil blanket after the explosion inside the Manchester Arena tonight

British Transport Police said in a statement: 'Officers are at Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the stadium at 10.30pm this evening.' Pictured: Officers in Victoria Railway Station

Due to the shutdown of the railway station and roads in the city centre many people have found it difficult to get home

British Transport Police said in a statement: ‘Officers are at Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the stadium at 10.30pm this evening.’ Pictured: Emergency services in Victoria Railway Station

Police officers stand in a line on a road near Piccadilly Station. Manchester City FC tweeted: "It's with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city's emergency services'

Police officers stand in a line on a road near Piccadilly Station. Manchester City FC tweeted: ‘It’s with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city’s emergency services’

Sir Richard Leese gave his 'heartfelt thanks' to the emergency services for their work in responding to the incident. Pictured: A casualty is taken away from the arena on a stretcher

Sick ISIS supporters celebrate attack on social media

ISIS supporters celebrated online overnight following the blast in Manchester Arena which claimed the lives of at least 19 people and wounded more than 50 others.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the blast which struck as 21,000 fans were leaving the venue at the end of the Ariana Grande concert.

Two messages, posted four hours before the attack, appeared to predict the atrocity.

A Twitter account - which was unverified - posted this hours before the attack, warning of a terror attack 

The Twitter account also posted this picture of the ISIS flag with the hashtag 'Manchester Arena' 

A Twitter account – which was unverified – posted this four hours before the attack

Several ISIS-friendly accounts posted the hashtag #ManchesteArena and #ArianaGrande

Several ISIS-friendly accounts posted the hashtag #ManchesteArena and #ArianaGrande

None of the ISIS fan pages have claimed responsibility for last night's terror attack 

None of the ISIS fan pages have claimed responsibility for last night’s terror attack

Twitter suspended dozens of accounts, but other euphoric supporters posted messages across Telegram and other secured messaging systems.

One message on Twitter posted by a user called Abdul Haqq said: ‘It seems that bombs of the British airforce over children of Mosul and Raqqa has just came back to #Manchester.’

Others shared messages encouraging so-called ‘lone wolf’ attacks as well as videos threatening the west and the United States.

Nick Schurok, 28, from Manchester, told MailOnline: ‘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.’

Jenny Brewster, Evie’s mother, said: ‘We were exiting the building when it happened. We’d headed towards the main doors as Ariana was performing the last song because we wanted to beat the crowds, but – as we made our way there – a wall of security men blocked it and told us to go the other way.

‘Seconds later they shouted ‘RUN!’ and the explosion happened right behind them. Hundreds of people were running and screaming. Those men saved our lives.’

Catherine Macfarlane said: ‘We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming.

‘It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out of the area.’

Police shut down the streets around the concert hall in the aftermath of the attack. Here, a group of women walk over a plastic barrier held down by a police officer 

Police shut down the streets around the concert hall in the aftermath of the attack. Here, a group of women walk over a plastic barrier held down by a police officer

Two women support each other as they walk away from the concert venue. The pink balloon being carried is a reminder of the huge number of children who attended the performance

Two women support each other as they walk away from the concert venue. The pink balloon being carried is a reminder of the huge number of children who attended the performance

This was the view of the street outside Manchester Arena tonight after there were explosions at the Ariana Grande gig

This was the view of the street outside Manchester Arena tonight after there were explosions at the Ariana Grande gig

A bloodied man with a bandage around his head stands outside the venue. He is covered with a foil blanket for warmth

A bloodied man with a bandage around his head stands outside the venue. He is covered with a foil blanket for warmth

Medics carry bodies of victims outside the arena. Nurses at nearby Wythenshawe Hospital told patients in A&E to leave it they did not have serious injuries to make way for casualties from the blast

Medics carry bodies of victims outside the arena. Nurses at nearby Wythenshawe Hospital told patients in A&E to leave it they did not have serious injuries to make way for casualties from the blast

Manchester City FC also tweeted a tribute: 'It's with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city's emergency services.' Pictured: People outside the concert venue text on their phones

Manchester City FC also tweeted a tribute: ‘It’s with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city’s emergency services.’ Pictured: People outside the concert venue text on their phones

A man wearing a white towel walks next to a police officer. Concertgoers affected by the suspected terror attack  have been offered shelter by locals

A man wearing a white towel walks next to a police officer. Concertgoers affected by the suspected terror attack have been offered shelter by locals

The city's mayor, former Labour MP Andy Burnham, tweeted: 'If you are stranded in the area you can... follow #RoomForManchester where hotels and local people of our great city are offering refuge.' Pictured: Emergency services in Manchester Victoria Station 

The city’s mayor, former Labour MP Andy Burnham, tweeted: ‘If you are stranded in the area you can… follow #RoomForManchester where hotels and local people of our great city are offering refuge.’ Pictured: Emergency services in Manchester Victoria Station

There were reports that a Holiday Inn hotel near Manchester Arena had taken in "50+ children" who were unaccompanied at the gig. Pictured: Paramedics, watched by police, help casualties

There were reports that a Holiday Inn hotel near Manchester Arena had taken in ’50+ children’ who were unaccompanied at the gig. Pictured: Paramedics, watched by police, help casualties

A lone policeman guards a cordon outside Manchester Victoria Station, which has been closed to trains 

A lone policeman guards a cordon outside Manchester Victoria Station, which has been closed to trains

Majid Khan, 22, said: ‘I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10.40-10.45pm-ish a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.

‘It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit Trinity Way and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could.

‘Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.’

Police were on the scene following the suspected terror attack at the Manchester concert

Police were on the scene following the suspected terror attack at the Manchester concert

Four years to the day since Lee Rigby: How Manchester ‘suicide bomb’ is Britain’s worst outrage since 7/7

The suspected suicide bombing that killed at least 19 people and left 50 more injured in Manchester Arena is the latest in a string of attacks in Britain.

It is the worst in more than a decade, after the June 2005 London Tube bombings where 56 people were killed by suicide bombers. It’s the first terror strike on Manchester itself since 1996, when an IRA bomb outside a shopping mall injured 212.

Here is a list of recent atrocities that have struck the UK:

Westminster Attack – On March 22, 2017, crazed Islamist Khalid Masood killed four people after mowing his car through crowds on the Westminster Bridge.

Leytonstone knife rampage – On December 5, 2015, Somali-born Muhiddin Mire, 30, went on a knife rampage at a ticket hall at Leytonstone Underground station and tried to slit one man’s throat.

Lee Rigby – On May 22, 2013, Fusilier Rigby was ‘mutilated, almost decapitated and murdered’ by Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, who ambushed him outside military barracks in Woolwich, South East London.

London 7/7 Tube bombings – On July 7, 2005, four Islamist extremists detonated three bombs in backpacks in the London Underground. More than 700 were injured and 56 were killed.

 1966 IRA bombing – On June 15, a lorry packed with 1.5 tons of explosives was detonated close to Marks & Spencer and the Arndale shopping centre. Nobody was killed by 212 were injured.

Jane Pearson, 46, a high school English language mentor from Chadderton, Greater Manchester, had gone to the concert with her daughter, Rachel, 21, as a birthday treat.

She said the arena was packed full of young children.

Mrs Pearson said: ‘It’s the worst kind of people who could even consider doing something like this and quite frankly those sort of people, they deserve the worst punishment ever.

‘I can’t imagine what goes in to the heads of these people that want to hurt children? And families who have come together for such a happy occasion. It’s disgusting. It’s absolutely disgusting.’

Chaotic scenes following ‘explosion’ at Manchester Arena
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Footage posted online by concert-goers showing fans filing out of the building while an announcer tried to maintain calm

Footage posted online by concert-goers showing fans filing out of the building while an announcer tried to maintain calm

21 YEARS AFTER MASSIVE IRA BOMB BLAST

Nobody was killed but 212 people were injured after a lorry packed with 1.5 tons of explosives was detonated close to Marks & Spencer and the Arndale shopping centre.

The blast caused £700million in damage as the bomb – the biggest detonated on the mainland since the war – destroyed shops and office buildings within a half-mile radius.

Just minutes earlier police had directed shoppers away from the vehicle and a bomb squad was called in but were unable to defuse the device in time.

The IRA had telephoned warnings about 90 minutes before the blast on Corporation Street in the city centre.

In 2015, Pakistani national Abid Naseer was convicted of plotting terror attacks after being extradited to the US from the UK. He had been living in Manchester where he plotted to kill hundreds in a bombing attack at the Arndale shopping complex during the busy Easter weekend.

Erin McDougle, 20, from Newcastle said: ‘There was a loud bang at the end of the concert. The lights were already on so we knew it wasn’t part of the show.

‘At first we thought it was a bomb. There was a lot of smoke. People started running out. When we got outside the arena there were dozens of police vans and quite a few ambulances.’

Sophie Tedd, 25, from Darlington, said the noise and smoke seemed to come from the tiered seating stage right. ‘We were sitting on that side then suddenly there was this big bang in the block next to us,’ she said.

‘Everyone started screaming and we nearly got trampled on. There was a burning smell.’

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

Erika Ignata, 18, from Cheshire, was at the concert with her 26-year-old sister, Monica.

She told MailOnline: ‘We were on the ground floor when Ariana sung the last song. There was a massive sound which we immediately though was a bomb.

‘I just grabbed my sister and we were running for the door, it was absolute chaos. All around me there were little girls.’

Ms Ignata described running outside and seeing crowds of parents crying and trying to contact their children on the phone.

She added: ‘Me and my sister ran and got into our car which was about 50 yards away from the Arena. I saw lots of girls crying and mums calling out.

‘Lots of people shaking and calling on the phone trying to get in touch with people.’

Sasina Akhtar said: ‘We were in the lower tier and there was an explosion behind us at the back of the arena.

‘We saw young girls with blood on them, everyone was screaming and people were running. There was lots of smoke.’

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn suspend General Election campaign following attack

Britain’s General Election campaign has been suspended in the wake of the Manchester Arena terrorism attack which has left 19 people dead and left 50 wounded.

Tory sources confirmed the break in the campaign following the blast which PM Theresa May described as an ‘appalling terrorist attack’. Later, Jeremy Corbyn said he had agreed to also suspend campaigning in light of the attack.

Politicians have described the blast, which claimed 19 lives, as ‘a direct attack on children’.

Mrs May will chair a meeting later today of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee at 9am.

She said: ‘We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

‘All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.’

A Tory source said the Prime Minister’s General Election campaign was being suspended.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk said: ‘My heart is in Manchester this night. Our thoughts are with the victims.’

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage described the last as a ‘direct attack on children’.

He claimed the blast was an act of Islamic terrorism in an interview on US television.

The former political leader told Fox News: ‘The direct attack on children… marks a new low in all forms of terrorism.’

Farage claimed people in Briton had become complacent to the threats faced by Europe.

He continued: ‘The Manchester terrorist attack was directed at children. It’s going to be a very big shock for the UK.’

Jeremy Corbyn sent a tweet shortly after tonight’s terror attack describing it as ‘terrible’

Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham said: ‘My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.’

A barman at the nearby Steven Charles Snooker Club, who gave his name as Tyler, said he saw people lying on the ground covered in blood.

‘We’ve had a few people in with panic attacks and in all kinds of disarray,’ he told Press Association.

‘We’ve got four girls here – trying to get them sorted to get picked up.

‘There was a gentleman on the floor with his leg all bleeding and woman with blood down one side of her face.

‘We felt something but didn’t know what it was – there was a sound like thunder.

‘One girl had a panic attack and another had streaming tears, a woman had a heart attack just outside.

‘It’s a lot of teenagers – they’re all in tears.’

Police said earlier this morning that there was due to be a controlled explosion in Cathedral gardens, and warned people not to be alarmed

Police said earlier this morning that there was due to be a controlled explosion in Cathedral gardens, and warned people not to be alarmed

A policeman patrols Victoria Railway Station close to Manchester Arena. Display boards direct customers to posters where they can find travel information

A policeman patrols Victoria Railway Station close to Manchester Arena. Display boards direct customers to posters where they can find travel information

‘I am so, so sorry’: Grande says she is left ‘broken’ following the attack

Ariana Grande said today she was ‘broken’ following the suspected terrorist attack after her gig at Manchester Arena that left 19 people dead.

Tweeting in the early hours of this morning, the 23-year-old US pop star said: ‘Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry. I don’t have words.’

Her management team, Scooter Braun Projects, said they were heartbroken by the incident and praised the actions of the emergency services.

They said in a statement: ‘Words cannot express our sorrow for the victims and families harmed in this senseless attack.

‘We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act.

‘We are thankful for the selfless service tonight of Manchester’s first responders who rushed toward danger to help save lives.

‘We ask all of you to hold the victims, their families, and all those affected in your hearts and prayers.’

Nineteen people died after the blast tore through crowds leaving the pop concert, with dozens of others injured in the explosion.

Insiders told TMZ that Grande’s concert scheduled for Thursday at London’s O2 Arena could be cancelled because she was ‘in no condition to perform,’ in addition to ongoing security concerns.

The deadly attack occurred after the 23-year-old singer wrapped up her performance on her Dangerous Woman Tour.

Grande’s tour, her third time hitting the international concert circuit, kicked off with a February show in Phoenix, Arizona.

Further stops on her immediate concert trail include scheduled dates in Antwerp, Belgium, Lodz in Poland and Frankfurt in Germany.

The tour was expected to extend into the autumn, wrapping up on September 21 at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld–Arena.

Nurses at nearby Wythenshawe Hospital told patients in A&E to leave it they did not have serious injuries to make way for casualties from the blast.

A medic said: ‘Anybody who is not serious, can you please leave and get treatment elsewhere as there have been reports of an explosion in Manchester, we’re expecting mass casualties.’

Kindhearted locals also took to social media to offer their help to people who had attended the concert.

Kim Corbett wrote: ‘If anyone needs picking up please let me know. I live in Bury but I’m happy to help any way I can. God bless those hurt tonight.’

Vicky Fraser added: ‘If anybody needs somewhere to stay I will pick them up…can meet them as close as I can get to town.’

There are reports on social media that up to 50 unaccompanied children have been taken in to Manchester Holiday Inn and are being looked after by adults.

Paula Robinson posted on Facebook: ‘We have taken as many kids as we can to Holiday Inn we will keep them safe and stay with them.’

Ariana Grande performs at Manchester arena before big ‘explosion’
Video footage showed people fleeing in tears from the venue after reports of explosions at the end of an Ariana Grande concert (pictured tonight)

Video footage showed people fleeing in tears from the venue after reports of explosions at the end of an Ariana Grande concert (pictured tonight)

In a statement, Manchester Arena said: ‘We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night. The incident took place outside the venue in a public space. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.’

Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, opened in 1995 and is a popular concert and sporting venue.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of ‘severe’ meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Armed police enter chaotic scenes after Manchester ‘explosion’

WHO IS ARIANA GRANDE?

Ariana Grande has attracted an overwhelmingly young fan base ever since appearing as Cat Valentine on Nickelodeon’s high school sitcom ‘Victorious’.

The show, which started in 2010, propelled her to teen idol status, and she went on to star in spinoffs including ‘iCarly,’ as she worked to develop her recording career.

With 105m Instagram followers, she is the second most popular user of the social network – which known for its popularity with young people – after Selena Gomez.

After Manchester, Grande was set to perform at venues in Europe, including Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France, with concerts in Latin America and Asia to follow.

It is unclear whether these performances will go ahead.

British counter-terrorism police have said they are making on average an arrest every day in connection with suspected terrorism.

US pop singer Grande was performing her Dangerous Woman European tour at Manchester Arena when the incident happened.

Later this week, she is scheduled to perform in London, followed by concerts in Belgium, Poland and Germany. A spokesman for the singer said she was unharmed but inconsolable.

Early today, Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, said ‘our hearts are broken’ following the attack.

‘We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act,’ he added.

GLOBAL HISTORY OF TERROR ATTACKS AT ENTERTAINMENT VENUES AND NIGHTCLUBS

November 13, 2015 – Bataclan Theatre: The Paris terror attacks included a bloody mass shooting at the theatre during an Eagles of Death Metal rock gig. There were 89 deaths in the theatre, and a total of 130 across the French capital on the night of Friday the 13th. A total of 368 people were injured across the city. Seven of the Islamic State attackers were killed.

November 13, 2015 – La Carillon bar: The Paris terror attackers also targeted a bar, where 20 people were killed.

December 4, 2015 – Cairo restaurant: Firebombs were thrown into the El Sayad restaurant in Egypt’s Cairo, killing 16 people and injuring three others. Victims died from smoke inhalation or burns, after struggling to escape from the basement venue which had only one exit.

June 12, 2016 – Orlando nightclub: Omar Mateen, 29, slaughtered 49 people and injured 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, last year. Mateen was shot dead after a three-hour standoff with police at the Pulse nightclub. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman and the deadliest violence against LGBTQI people in the history of the United States. The shooter swore allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call to police, but an investigation found Mateen had no links to the terror group.

June 28, 2016 – Kuala Lumpur nightclub: A grenade was thrown into the crowd at Movida nightclub in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June last year. Eight people were injured. In March this year, a high court judge sentenced two people to 25 years’ jail for the attack, as well as an additional 10 years for supporting the Islamic State.

New Years’ Eve 2016-17 – Istanbul nightclub: Partygoers were welcoming in 2017 when a shooter sprayed bullets into Reina nightclub and killed 39 people on New Years’ Eve in Turkey’s Istanbul. The alleged gunman, Abdulkadir Masharipov, who was born in Uzbekistan, was arrested after two weeks on the run.

January 1, 2016 – Tel Aviv bar: Two people were killed at Israel’s Simta bar on New Years’ Day last year while up to seven others were wounded. Witnesses claimed the gunman was smiling calmly while shooting people down at random with a machine gun. The gunman then killed a taxi driver as he fled the scene. Nasha’at Melhem, 31, was named as the killer and he was shot dead in a shoot-out with police a week later.

Includes several videos:

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