Ariana Grande ‘Broken’ After 22 Killed at Manchester Concert in Suspected Suicide Attack

By Michael Holden and Andrew Yates

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – At least 22 people were killed and 59 wounded in an explosion at the end of a concert by U.S. singer Ariana Grande in the English city of Manchester on Monday, in what two U.S. officials said was a suspected suicide bombing.

Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Singer Ariana Grande arrives at the 2016 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Armed police officers stand near the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, in northern England, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack. If confirmed, it would be the deadliest militant assault in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.

Police responded to reports of an explosion shortly after 10:33 pm (2133 GMT) at Manchester Arena, which has the capacity to hold 21,000 people, where the U.S. singer had been performing to an audience that included many children.

A witness 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 video posted on Twitter showed fans, many of them young, screaming and running from the venue. (Watch below.) Dozens of parents frantically searched for their children, posting photos and pleading for information on social media.

“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 told Reuters.

“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.”

Ariana Grande, 23, later said on Twitter: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.” (More on Ariana at the bottom of this page.)

May, who faces an election in two-and-a-half weeks, said her thoughts were with the victims and their families. May and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, agreed to suspend campaigning ahead of the June 8 election.

“We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack,” May said in a statement. “All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

May will hold a crisis response meeting on Tuesday.

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 but gave no further details on their investigation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his condolences over the blast to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Chinese state media reported.

SUICIDE BOMBER?

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but U.S. officials drew parallels to the coordinated attacks in November 2015 by Islamist militants on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites in Paris, which claimed about 130 lives.

Two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said initial signs indicated that a suicide bomber was responsible for the blast.

“In the absence of conclusive evidence, the choice of venue, the timing and the mode of attack all suggest this was terrorism,” said a U.S. counter terrorism official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Islamic State supporters took to social media to celebrate the blast and some encouraged similar attacks elsewhere.

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

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was monitoring the situation in Manchester closely but said it had no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States.

British counter-terrorism police have said they are making on average an arrest every day in connection with suspected terrorism.

In March, a British-born convert to Islam ploughed a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing four people before stabbing to death a police officer who was on the grounds of parliament. The man was shot dead at the scene.

In 2015, Pakistani student Abid Naseer was convicted in a U.S. court of conspiring with al Qaeda to blow up the Arndale shopping centre in the centre of Manchester in April 2009.

PARENTS’ ANGUISH

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

Desperate parents and friends used social media to search for loved ones while the wounded were being treated at six hospitals across Manchester.

“Everyone pls share this, my little sister Emma was at the Ari concert tonight in #Manchester and she isn’t answering her phone, pls help me,” said one message posted alongside a picture of a blonde girl with flowers in her hair.

Paula Robinson, 48, from West Dalton about 40 miles east of Manchester, said she was at the train station next to the arena with her husband when she felt the explosion and saw dozens of teenage girls screaming and running away from arena.

“We ran out,” Robinson told Reuters. “It was literally seconds after the explosion. I got the teens to run with me.”

Robinson took dozens of teenage girls to the nearby Holiday Inn Express hotel and tweeted out her phone number to worried parents, telling them to meet her there. She said her phone had not stopped ringing since her tweet.

“Parents were frantic running about trying to get to their children,” she said. “There were lots and lots of children at Holiday Inn.”

Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Police set up a cordon outside the Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Still image from video shows people fleeing Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. TWITTER.COM/HANNAWWH/via Reuters TV
Police vans and ambulances are seen outside the Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Police are seen outside the Manchester Arena in northern England where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
People sit by the side of the road next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Vehicles are seen near a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
An ambulance drives away from the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Police vehicles and a police officer are seen outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, northern England, Britain May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, Britain in this still image taken from video May 22, 2017. @ZACH_BRUCE/ via REUTERS TV
Still image taken from video shows a street scene near Manchester Arena after a blast, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2017. FACEBOOK: CALIMARCO PT-PERSONAL TRAINER / INSTAGRAM: CALIMARCOPT/via REUTERS TV
Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, addresses the media near the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing in Manchester, northern England, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jon Super
Armed police officers stand next to a police cordon outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England, Britain, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
The sun rises as police stand guard outside the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Forensic police search the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
A youngster wearing a t-shirt showing U.S. singer Ariana Grande talks to the media near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Commuters make their way down Trinity Way near the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

(Additional Reporting by Alistair Smout, Kate Holton and David Milliken in LONDON, Mark Hosenball in LOS ANGELES, John Walcott in WASHINGTON, D.C., Leela de Kretser in NEW YORK, Mostafa Hashem in CAIRO, and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Nick Tattersall; Editing by Sandra Maler, Toni Reinhold and Paul Tait)

Watch: “There was blood, bodies everywhere”

Pop Sar Ariana Grande ‘Broken From he Bottom of My Heart’

By Dan Whitcomb

A tweet from U.S. singer Ariana Grande is seen as she makes her first comment since a bombing at her concert in Manchester, England, May 23, 2017. Ariana Grande/Twitter/via Reuters TV

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pop star Ariana Grande said on Monday she was “broken” five hours after a bombing killed 19 people and wounded dozens of others at her concert in Manchester, England.

Making her first comment since an explosion detonated just outside Manchester Arena at the end of her performance there, Grande said on Twitter: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”

Representatives for Grande have said that the 23-year-old pop star was physically “okay” following the blast, which British authorities say was being treated as a terrorist attack.

Two U.S. officials have told Reuters on condition of anonymity that initial signs pointed to a suicide bomber as being responsible for the bombing.

Grande was performing in Manchester during the European leg of a concert tour to support her latest album, “Dangerous Woman.”

She was scheduled to perform at London’s O2 arena on Thursday and then in Belgium, Poland and Germany in the coming weeks. It was not immediately clear whether those concerts would go forward following Monday’s attack.

Grande, who starred in the Broadway musical “13” and on the Nickelodeon TV series Victorious before releasing her solo debut album, is credited with having an exceptionally broad vocal range for a pop star.

She is best known for her singles “Problem,” and “Break Free” from her sophomore album, My Everything.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)