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Manchester Police name suspect in Monday’s terror attack at Ariana Grande concert

May 23, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Manchester Police name suspect in Monday’s terror attack at Ariana Grande concert

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MANCHESTER, England (Associated Press) — Investigators hunted Tuesday for possible accomplices of the suicide bomber who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people and sparking a stampede of young concertgoers, some still wearing the American pop star’s trademark kitten ears and holding pink balloons.

The Islamic State group or ISIS claimed responsibility for the Monday night carnage, which also left 59 people wounded, though a top American intelligence official said the claim could not be verified. British police raided two sites in the northern English city, arresting a 23-year-old man at a third location and are hunting additional accomplices.

Manchester police chief Ian Hopkins identified the bombing suspect as 23-year-old Salman Abedi but gave no other details. A European security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation, said Abedi was British-born of Libyan descent.

Officials revealed to local affiliates that the suspect had been investigated in the past for links extremism. However, it looks as if he drifted off law enforcement’s radar, CBS News reported.

British election rolls listed him as living at a modest red brick semi-detached house in a mixed suburb of Manchester where police performed a controlled explosion Tuesday afternoon.

British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack as “callous” and “cowardly.”

Speaking after an emergency Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said police had identified the suspected attacker, though she did not reveal his name. The bomber died in the attack.

“It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack. An attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation,” she said.

“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.”

Images from the scene show people running in a panic down stairs to escape the 21,000-seat arena amid the relentless screams of frightened children and young teenagers. Some parents say their children are still missing.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said that police were still investigating.

Grande, who had just finished the first of three scheduled UK performances, tweeted about her devastation several hours later: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”

Britain has been under a “severe” terror threat alert for three years and there has been an uptick in terror-related arrests in recent months.

Police have been warning that another attack was highly likely after a man plowed his car into a crowd on London’s Westminister Bridge in March and stabbed a policeman, in an attack that left six dead.

Monday’s bomb attack has raised concerns that a more sophisticated network may exist in the country than previously thought.

‘Difficult dawn’ in Manchester

As many as 400 police were deployed in Manchester overnight, Hopkins said early Tuesday, and a CNN journalist saw a heavy armed police presence in parts of the city, particularly outside the Royal Infirmary Hospital where several victims are being treated.

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, described the attack as “our darkest of nights.”

“Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns. It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today. These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorize and kill. This was an evil act,” he said.

London will also see a heavier police presence Tuesday, the mayor’s office said.

Chaotic scenes

The explosion rocked the arena at around 10:30 p.m. (5:30 pm ET), and the sound of wailing sirens cut through the smoky aftermath of the blast soon after.

Crying children and parents desperately tried to find each other as cell phone signals faltered in the deluge of calls, witnesses said.

Manchester resident Charlotte Campbell told CNN as she was still waiting for news on her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. “We’ve tried everything we can. They’re telling us to wait by the phones,” she said.

Olivia had gone to the concert with a friend and neither have been in contact.

“Her dad is out looking … It’s the most horrible feeling ever, to know your daughter is there and you don’t know whether she’s dead or alive.

“I want her home and I want her safe. … I just want her to walk through the door.”

Coral Long, the mother of a 10-year-old concertgoer, told CNN they were getting ready to leave the arena when they heard a loud bang from the left side of the arena that sent the large crowd running. “How we weren’t crushed to death is a miracle.”

She said her daughter was devastated. “For her to be 10 years old and witness something like that is just horrific.”

Karen Ford, who had taken her 13-year-old daughter to the concert, described the scene on the street as mayhem.

The first victims identified

The first two victims have been identified in the explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on Monday, which left 22 people dead and at least 59 injured.

Georgina Callander, 18, and Saffie Rose Roussos, 8, were identified as the first of the 22 people killed at Manchester Arena after attending the concert.

Runshaw College, where Callander was a student, confirmed the news on social media in a statement: “It is with enormous sadness that it appears that one of the people who lost their lives in Monday’s Manchester attack was one of our students here at Runshaw College. Georgina Callander was a former Bishop Rawstorne pupil studying with us on the second year of her Health and Social Care course,” the school said.

Among the victims included 8-year-old Saffie Roussos, (left) from Preston, and 18-year-old Georgina Callander (right)

British star Joe Sugg posted a photo of him and Callander on Twitter with the caption: “So sad to hear about this. RIP Gina.”

Chris Upton, the headteacher at Tarleton Community Primary School, confirmed Roussos’ death to Sky News. He said Roussos “was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the world.”

“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,” Upton told Sky News.

Grande took to Twitter after the attack, saying she was “broken” and “so, so sorry.” Her reps earlier confirmed the singer was “okay.”

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