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Homeland Security

British Police Still Searching for Clues in Manchester Bombing

By VOA News May 23, 2017

British police are urgently trying to determine whether the suicide bomber who struck a music concert Monday in the northern city of Manchester acted alone or was part of a larger terror network.

The man who blew himself up following an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena has been identified as Salman Abedi, police said.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins identified the 22 year-old Abedi as the alleged attacker, but provided no other details.

The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for Monday's blast that killed at least 22 people and injured 59 others.

The group said "a soldier of the caliphate" was responsible for the attack on people IS described as "crusaders." Many of those killed and injured in the blast were children and teenagers, police said.

British police said investigators believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, and that he died at the site.

On Tuesday afternoon, police raided a residential area and performed a controlled explosion at a house in Fallowfield, a racially-mixed suburb south of Manchester. Earlier Tuesday, police arrested a 23 year-old man in connection with the bombing at a different location outside Manchester but they did not give any information about how he was involved

The blast happened in the lobby of the 21,000 seat Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Grande.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the blast was timed to "cause maximum carnage" and targeted "the young people of our society with cold calculation." She added that many of those injured were being treated at hospitals for life-threatening conditions.

"All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives," she said.

May and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, agreed to suspend campaigning ahead of the country's June 8 elections.

US security officials monitoring situation

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring the situation in Manchester, and that it did not have any information showing a "specific credible threat" to music venues in the U.S.

President Donald Trump said the victims in Wednesday's attack were killed by "evil losers in life."

"I won't call them monsters because they would like that term, they would think that's a great name," Trump said. "I will call them from now on losers, because that's what they are."

He added, "We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people."

After the attack, Manchester police deployed hundreds of officers overnight and at one point conducted a precautionary controlled explosion near the arena of an object they later said turned out to not be anything suspicious.

Video from the concert showed thousands of concertgoers, many of them young girls, scrambling and screaming, trying to escape the building.

Some witnesses said the ground near the blast was covered with nuts and bolts.

Abandoned shoes, phones and jackets were scattered throughout the arena.

"It was a huge explosion. You could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming just trying to get out," a concertgoer told Reuters.

Worried parents who had brought their children to the show crowded the streets outside the building. A nearby hotel opened its doors to the kids looking for their mothers and fathers.

Community embraces victims

Cab drivers turned off their meters and offered to drive people from the ill-fated concert to wherever they want to go.

Thousands of people showed up Tuesday for a vigil held near the scene of the attack. Mayor Eddy Newman and the city's police chief spoke to the crowd and held a moment of silence to remember those that died.



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