Police probe 'suicide bomber' suspicions after Manchester blast

Police are investigating the possibility a suicide bomber is behind the deadly blast at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester overnight in England.

Multiple reports suggest police are investigating the potential of a suicide attack at the concert, largely attended by children.

Nineteen people have been confirmed killed, however, BBC reported on Tuesday afternoon the figure had grown to 22.

There were 59 confirmed injured in what Britain's prime minister called an "appalling terrorist attack" shortly after the end of Grande's show at the Manchester Arena.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned it as a "vile attack on the innocent".


  • A terrorist incident occurred at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester
  • Police have confirmed there have been 19 deaths
  • People were seen running from the area in panic
  • At least 59 people have been injured
  • There is a heavy police presence in the area

Police confirmed there were 19 confirmed fatalities in the blast that occurred at 10.33pm Monday night that is being treated as a terrorist incident at the Manchester Arena.

Hotels and motels in the nearby area were transformed into makeshift shelters for shocked and distraught teens, while their panicked parents desperately tried to make contact in the hours after the blast.

British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her shock and sadness for the victims and their families in "what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack".

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the House of Representatives in Canberra this afternoon, signalling his support for Britain and declaring "our nations will never give in to terrorism".

Mr Turnbull told the House it was a "basic human right" for people to be able to attend public events like concerts. There had been too many such attacks in recent times, he said.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins gave a brief statement to the press shortly after 3am local time, confirming the blast was being investigated as a "terrorist incident".

"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 across Greater Manchester," Chief Hopkins said outside the Greater Manchester Police headquarters.

"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."

The spokesman thanked members of the public for their support, asking them to "remain vigilant" and report any new information.

Ariana Grande, who was not injured in the blast, has tweeted about her heartbreak over what occurred.

A heavy police and emergency services presence remains at the scene and a controlled explosion was carried out on what was since confirmed to be a non-suspect item.

Manchester Police confirmed the item found at Cathedral Garden was abandoned clothing unrelated to the earlier incident.

"Officers carrying out a precautionary controlled explosion in Cathedral Garden confirm that it was abandoned clothing, not a suspicious item," the police confirmed on Twitter.

Prime Minister Theresa May made a brief statement in the early hours of Tuesday morning to say the British government is "working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

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

There was nothing further from 10 Downing Street but it is expected Ms May will convene Cobra, an emergency Cabinet briefing which will likely include police, counter-terrorism and intelligence chiefs.

Concertgoer Abby Mullen was trying to make an early exit from the arena when she was knocked by "a huge explosion - you could feel it in your chest".

"That sound, the blood and those who where running around clueless... will not be leaving my mind any time soon or the minds of those involved," she wrote online.

The blast occurred shortly after the Ariana Grande, pictured in 2015, concert ended at the Manchester Arena on Monday night. Source: AP

The blast, which is believed to have occurred outside or at the entrance to the arena, is the worst terrorist attack in the United Kingdom since the July 2005 7/7 bombings in London.

Staff treating the injured at hospitals around Manchester have described the injuries as similar to those caused by shrapnel or a nail bomb.

There is a heavy armed police presence in the area following the blast. Source: AP

On Twitter police had warned an already on-edge public "if you [sic] hearing anything don't be concerned".

The BBC's Daniel Sanford reported the North West Counter Terrorism Unit had taken the lead on the investigation.

A young woman wounded in the blast. Source: Instagram

More than 20,000 young people attending an Ariana Grande concert were leaving the Manchester Arena when a loud blast was heard on Monday night.

The Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, released a statement confirming the incident occurred outside the venue.

Police assist young concertgoers in the streets of Manchester. Source: AP

"We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night," the arena said on Twitter.

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

Young people targeted

A witness who attended the concert told Reuters she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush as thousands of people trying to escape.

Police and emergency services remain in the streets of Manchester following the possible terrorist attack. Source: AP

"We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming," concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane said.

"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."

Witnesses reported that many children were at the concert.

People flee the Manchester Arena after a blast is heard. Source: Twitter

Nearby Manchester Victoria train station was closed immediately after the explosion went off with no trains going in or out of the station.

Footage and photos from the scene show people streaming out of the arena following Ariana Grande's show on her "Dangerous Woman Tour" with police moving on the area.

Ariana Grande.

American pop star Ariana Grande had just finished her performance when the blasts occurred with her management team confirming she was safe but "hysterical".

Robert Tempkin, 22, told the BBC everyone was "screaming and running, there were coats and people's phones on the floor. People just dropped everything."

"Some people were screaming they'd seen blood but other people were saying it was balloons busting or a speaker had been popped," he said.

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

"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.

Concertgoers leave the stadium arena in Manchester.

"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."

The Independent quotes 22-year-old Majid Khan who was with his sister and countless others "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".