British authorities are investigating a possible terrorist attack that killed at least 19 people and injured approximately 50 others. Pop singer Ariana Grande was performing Monday night at the Manchester Arena in England, when an explosion rocked the arena.
An official with the Greater Manchester Police released a statement Monday after the incident. He stated that they are treating the incident as a possible “terrorist incident until the police know otherwise”.
Immediately after the attack, British authorities raised the terrorist threat level to “severe”. This indicated that the possibility of further terrorist attacks highly likely.
The British Police believe that the explosion occurred in the foyer of Manchester Arena at approximately 10:30 p.m., after the concert had finished. The arena management tweeted its own statement on the incident. They stated that the explosion happened “outside the venue in a public space.” This has led to some confusion on the exact time and location of the explosion.
It is also not clear if there were one or two explosions. Some witnesses have reported hearing one explosion and other witnesses have stated that they heard two separate explosions. Police have not yet confirmed if there was more than one explosion during the incident. About three hours after the attack, the Police tweeted that they would be conducting a controlled explosion in a park near the arena. No information has been released on the controlled explosion.
Police have confirmed that pop singer Ariana Grande, was performing at the arena as part of her “Dangerous Woman” world tour. They further stated that pop singer was “okay” and that she was not injured during the incident.
Several witnesses described the moments after the attack as chaotic, as concertgoers rushed to get out of the arena. Video released from inside the arena showed people screaming as they made their way out of the area. One of the concertgoers’, Sasina Akhtar told the Manchester Evening News that Grande had just finished her last song when she heard a loud explosion behind her. She then saw young girls with blood on them. She further stated that everyone was screaming and people were running and the arena was covered in smoke.
Another witness David Richardson, who attended the concert with his 13-year-old daughter, stated that he heard two explosions just after the show. He said that one of the explosions was about 40 feet behind him near one of the exits. He said that at first, he thought it was people messing around, but then he heard a second explosion and this was when he saw smoke and people around him started running.
Law enforcement officials say a suicide bombing is the likely reason for the blast. A male at the scene has been identified as the probable attacker. No further details have been released. It is still unknown if there was more than one suicide bomber.
The Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying that they are closely monitoring the situation in Manchester, England. They further stated that US Agencies are working with foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.
DHS officials stated that they have no information to indicate any specific credible threat in the United States.
As of the time of publishing this article, no terrorist organizations have claimed responsibility for the incident.