Manchester Arena bombing: Theresa May raises threat level

People attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester in solidarity with those killed and injured in the terror attack. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty ImagePeople attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester in solidarity with those killed and injured in the terror attack. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Image
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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Manchester Arena bombing: Theresa May raises threat level, and troops to be deployed on Britain’s streets – live news” was written by Chris Johnston and Kevin Rawlinson (now) and Matthew Weaver, Andrew Sparrow and Claire Phipps (earlier), for theguardian.com on Tuesday 23rd May 2017 22.39 UTC

In London the Cyprus High commission is flying flags at half mast in honour of Saffie Roussous, the British Cypriot who at aged eight has been identified as the youngest victim of the Manchester attack.

The Cyprus News Agency reports that Saffie’s relatives, including her father, Andreas, who was born in Cyprus but subsequently moved to Liverpool, is tonight travelling to the UK from the Mediterranean island.

Saffie was at the concert with her mother, Lisa, and older sister Ashlee Bromwich, in her twenties, both of whom are now being treated in hospital for injuries.

The Cypriot high commissioner, Euripides Evriviades tweeted: “Total inadequacy of words in expressing massive sympathy to bereaved family. RIP to 8 y/o angel Saffie-Rose Roussos.”

Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said the doubt about whether a wider group was involved in the Manchester attack led to the decision to raise the threat level.

“The public would expect the police to do everything possible to prevent further attacks and keep them safe. We are flexing our resources to increase police presence at key sites, such as transport and other crowded places and we are reviewing key events over the coming weeks,” Rowley said.

He is the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer and hinted that the use of emergency powers had been used for only a short period previously: “Critical is a very unusual and rare step.”

Rowley added that there was following the Manchester attack there was now an “intense period of risk”, justifying the special measures that will see “far more” police officers on the streets.

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Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the UK’s most senior anti-terror officer, has also issued a statement tonight:

“The investigation into the terrorist attack in Manchester is large scale, fast moving and making good progress. There has been an arrest and there are currently multiple searches and other activity taking place as I speak. However, at this stage it is still not possible to be certain if there was a wider group involved in the attack; 24 hours in we have a number of investigative leads that we are pursuing to manage the ongoing threat.

“This concern has led to the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre to raise the threat level to ‘critical’ this evening. It means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but a further attack may be imminent.

“The public would expect the police to do everything possible to prevent further attacks and keep them safe. We are flexing our resources to increase police presence at key sites, such as transport and other crowded places and we are reviewing key events over the coming weeks.

“As the prime minister has already said this evening I have asked for support from the military to be deployed alongside the police. This will free up armed officers from certain guarding duties to release our officers to support the wider the response. This is part of an agreed and well-rehearsed plan and military personnel will remain under the command and control of the police service.

“At this time we are asking the public to remain calm but alert. If you see anything that causes you concern, then let us know immediately, if you have suspicions about someone’s behaviour call us. Look out for anything that seems out of place, unusual or doesn’t seem to fit in with day-to-day life. It may be nothing but if you see or hear anything that could be terrorist related trust your instinct no matter how small then act and call 999.”

The Guardian understands a national police mobilisation has also been triggered, being run by the National Police Coordination Centre. The centre will find extra officers from around the UK – for example from county forces in mainly rural areas – to be deployed to sites in Manchester, London and other big cities.

The decision to raise the terrorist threat level to critical – the highest – can lead to extra officers being drafted in to patrol areas assessed as vulnerable to attack, under mutual arrangements between the 43 police in England and Wales.

Government guidelines say military help will be provided to “the civil authorities when their capacity is overwhelmed”. The guidelines updated in 2016, say: “The armed forces can be brought in to deal with a range of situations including … after a terrorist attack where armed military personnel may be deployed to locations usually guarded by armed police officers, to enable those officers to undertake other duties.”

For instance, armed police officers assigned to guard nuclear plants can be replaced by soldiers, and directly assist their police colleagues in armed operations.

The guidelines are in full here.

A sign is seen in central Manchester.

It is now 24 hours since Salman Abedi walked into the Manchester Arena and set off a bomb that killed 22 people and injured 59 more.

He targeted a pop concert aimed at teenage girls in particular. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis writes that such performances are often derided by critics, but the likes of Ariana Grande provide the kind of empowering, transcendent experience that terrorists hate.

Updated

Theresa May concluded her statement:

“I do not want the public to feel unduly alarmed. We have faced a serious terror threat in our country for many years and the operational response I have just outlined is a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face. I ask everybody to be vigilant and to co-operate with and support the police as they go about their important work.

“I want to end by repeating the important message I gave in my statement earlier today. We will take every measure available to us and provide every additional resource we can to the police and the security services as they work to protect the public.

“And while we mourn the victims of last night’s appalling attack, we stand defiant. The spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain is far mightier than the sick plots of depraved terrorists, that is why the terrorists will never win and we will prevail.”

Given that a “further attack may be imminent”, as Theresa May told the nation tonight, the threat level has been raised to critical. That allows military personnel to be deployed on the streets of Britain to free up armed police resources to hunt down suspects.

The arrangements are known as military assistance to civil powers. A key driver is that the numbers of police armed officers are limited, and they are best suited to hunt for any other terrorists, where the aim is to arrest if possible and try them in the courts.

This is Theresa May’s statement in full:

“We again discussed the callous and cowardly terrorist attack in Manchester last night and the operational response from the security service, the police and other emergency services. It remains the case that other than the terrorist himself, 22 people were killed in the attack, 59 people remain injured and many of them have life-threatening conditions.

“As Greater Manchester Police confirmed earlier today, the perpetrator was Salman Ramadan Abedi, who was born and brought up in Britain and as the emergency services confirmed throughout the day, his victims were innocent children, young people and their families – our thoughts and prayers are with them all.

“I want to re-iterate what I said this morning about the professionalism of the emergency services and the bravery of the people in Manchester. Through their actions, they proved that cowardice will always be defeated by bravery, that evil can be overcome by good and that our values, the liberal, pluralistic values of Britain, will always prevail over the hateful ideology of the terrorists.”

“The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack. This morning I said that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, the independent organisation responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available, was keeping the threat level under constant review. It has now concluded, on the basis of today’s investigations, that the threat level should be increased for the time being from severe to critical. This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent.”

The prime minister said Operation Temperer – allowing military personnel to take to the streets – was now in force: “This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations. You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe.”

May continued: “In my statement earlier today, I said that the police and security services needed to investigate whether Abedi was acting alone. Those investigations continue. But the work undertaken throughout the day has revealed it is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.

“This morning I said that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, the independent organisation responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available, was keeping the threat level under constant review. It has now concluded, on the basis of today’s investigations, that the threat level should be increased for the time being from severe to critical.”

In the summer of 2007 terrorists tried and failed to bomb the Tiger Tiger in London’s West End, and then went to Scotland where they launched a car bomb attack on Glasgow airport.

Theresa May will chair another meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee at 9.30am tomorrow, Downing Street said.

Updated

The threat level is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which sits within MI5. Critical means an attack is expected imminently.

Home affairs editor Alan Travis tweets:

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The UK alert level has been at critical twice before. The first was in 2006 following the exposure of a plot to blow up planes flying across the Atlantic, while the second came the following year in response to a plot targeting a London nightclub.

A statement from the Met police about these changes will come later this evening, the prime minister adds.

She does not not want the public to be unduly alarmed, May says, but this is a proportionate and appropriate response. “We stand defiant … the terrorists will never will, and we will prevail.”

May says armed police who usually protect places like parliament will be replaced by members of the armed forces.

Updated

Threat level raised to critical

Theresa May is issuing a statement after the second Cobra meeting of the day. The prime minister confirms that the bomber was a 22-year-old man born and raised in the UK.

She praises the emergency services’ response and that “evil can be overcome by good”.

May says it is a possibility that others were linked with Abedi. The threat level should be increased to critical for the time being.

This is the front page of Wednesday’s MEN:

The poet, Tony Walsh – also known as Longfella, delivers a passionate rendition of his poem This Is The Place at the city’s vigil on Tuesday, saying “always remember, never forget. Forever Manchester”.

‘We keep fighting back’: thousand attend vigil for Manchester attack victims – video

Phil and Kim Dick were caught up in the blast when they went to pick up their daughter and granddaughter from the concert. Their relatives were found safe and well but they described caring for one little girl who had been hurt, as well as the horrendous scenes inside the arena.

Speaking to Channel 4 News on Tuesday, Phil also had a message for people who might seek to exploit the atrocity.

It’s an absolutely terrible thing and I just pray to God that none of these extremists try and make political capital out of it because the last thing that anybody needs now is any more divisiveness.

That’s what terrorists want. What they want to do is they want to divide, they want to try and affect our way of life and, unfortunately, there are people on all parts of the political spectrum [who] want to use these kinds of incidents for their own political ends. And, if they do, they’re not much better than the bombers, I don’t think.

You can watch the full interview here. Note: the programme has warned its viewers that the Dicks’ full testimony was graphic and that some people might find it upsetting.

Updated

Poet Tony Walsh.
Poet Tony Walsh.
Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

The author of a poem that stirred the emotions of mourners at a vigil in Manchester says it was a “privilege” to read it.

Poet Tony Walsh, 51, delivered a version of his poem This Is The Place – an ode to the city of Manchester and its people – to a packed Albert Square.

“As a proud Mancunian, I was worried that I’d find that emotional, particularly when I mentioned my mum, who passed away a while ago,” he says. “It meant a lot to me. I wanted to do it for Manchester. I didn’t want to crack, because Manchester won’t crack. I felt quite calm actually, when it came to do it. It was a privilege.”

The poet, originally from Tameside, said the poem was previously commissioned by a charity called Forever Manchester. “There was flashes of humour in there because that’s Manchester all the time, and it’s Manchester even in its darkest hours.

“And it’s important to me that the poem is true to Manchester and its people, and we fight through these things with humour, as hard as it is sometimes. That’s the Mancunian way,” he said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has issued a video statement after attending the vigil in Albert Square.

A Labour spokesman said the party’s general election campaign remained suspended until further notice: “Events planned for tomorrow have been cancelled.”

Updated

Guardian reporter Steven Morris tweets:

The prime minister, Theresa May, is now chairing a second meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee in Whitehall.

It is understood that campaigning for the general election will remain suspended on Wednesday.

Updated

BBC reporter Kathryn Stanczyszyn tweets from Birmingham:

Updated

A vigil in Birmingham for the Manchester Arena victims has been interrupted after a man apparently armed with a large knife and a baseball bat was detained nearby, Press Association reports.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweets:

Police find CCTV video of bomber

Police are understood to have recovered CCTV video of the bomber walking into Manchester Arena where he detonated a bomb. It shows the explosion was deliberate and caused by a device that it is believed was contained in a bag, a source said.

The device is described as homemade and crude. It was stable enough to be transported and exploded with devastating effect. It is believed to have been constructed in Britain.

The attacker had an identity document on him, sources said. The man named by police – Salman Abedi – was born to parents from Libya who came to Britain to flee the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

One senior security source described the attack involving the acquisition and construction of a bomb as “a gamechanger” that has “rocked us backwards” because a successful bomb plot has not occurred in the UK since 2005.

There is uncertainty among investigators about whether Abedi built the bomb himself, or had help. GMP’s chief constable, Ian Hopkins, said: “The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Updated

Family friends of Laura MacIntyre, 15, the schoolgirl from Barra who went missing last night with her close friend Eilidh MacLeod, say she is in hospital with very serious burns. “We’re just getting confirmation of that ourselves,” said Donald Manford, a local councillor and great uncle of Eilidh. “She is very seriously injured and ill.”

Manford said he had yet to hear any word about Eilidh, 14. “She’s a very vibrant young person, who’s very involved in the community. When we have ceilidhs, she’s a dancer and a piper,” he said earlier. “It’s a very anxious time.”

Updated

Former Manchester United player Eric Cantona tweets:

Manchester vigil

Addressing the crowd at the vigil, GMP’s Ian Hopkins said: “As your chief constable of Greater Manchester and as a father I cannot begin to imagine how anyone can carry out such an unthinkable act – murdering 22 people and injuring 59 – and my thoughts and those of my colleague are very much with their families at this incredibly difficult time.”

He continued: “Last night, in the most atrocious circumstances, the people of Greater Manchester showed the world how much we care. How much we care about each other and how much we were prepared to help those in need. And I’ve heard some tremendous stories of doctors coming in to support and police officers, ambulance workers giving up their days off turning up to help those in need.”

Senior figures who attended the Manchester event included the home secretary Amber Rudd, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, and the Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham.

Updated

An appeal set up today by the Manchester Evening News has now raised more than £500,000.

Updated

The alert over a suspicious package found at Salford University has turned out to be a false alarm.

Updated

Manchester City Council and the British Red Cross have launched an appeal for those injured or bereaved by the Manchester attack.
The lord mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman, said the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund will make payments to help families in need, including those faced with funeral costs and individuals who may have suffered life-limiting injuries.

“The fund has been established after countless people, from Manchester and from around the world, expressed their desire to help,” he said. “We are incredibly grateful to the huge amount of people reaching out to offer their support.”

The British Red Cross have kicked off the appeal with a £50,000 donation. To donate go to www.redcross.org.uk/manchester or call 0300 456 4999.

Updated

Helen Pidd is at the vigil:

Updated

People hold placards as they take part in a vigil in Manchester’s Albert Square.
People hold placards as they take part in a vigil in Manchester’s Albert Square.
Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

There has just been a minute’s silence held at the vigil for the 22 people who were killed last night.

Updated

Those attending the vigil include the former England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff.

Manchester Arena incident Former England cricket captain Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff in the crowd ahead of a vigil in Albert Square

Updated

Officers raided the house on Elsmore Road, which is the registered address of Salman Abedi. He has now been named as the man believed to be responsible for the arena atrocity.

A squad of police are seen carrying out a controlled explosion to blast down the front door of the property off Wilbraham Road in Fallowfield at 11.30am on Tuesday.

This video, taken by resident Theo Brown, shows police preparing to go into the property. A number of armed officers are seen waiting for the controlled explosion before raiding the home.

Staff and students at Salford University have been told to leave buildings on the campus.

However, we have no more detail at this stage and it is not clear why the evacuations are taking place.

The former US president tweets:

The Guardian’s North of England editor, Helen Pidd, is at the vigil, which officially begins at 6pm.

Updated

Greater Manchester police chief constable Ian Hopkins.
Greater Manchester police chief constable Ian Hopkins.
Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

It is understood that Ian Hopkins, the Greater Manchester police chief constable, was involved in high-level meetings with counter-terrorism officials about identifying Salman Abedi until moments before he stepped outside the force headquarters.

Hopkins had been due to give an update at 4.30pm, but that was hastily delayed after Abedi was named by the Press Association, which became the first UK news organisation to name the suspected bomber.

Hours earlier, the force had warned news organisations that naming any possibly suspect could hamper the ongoing investigation into Monday night’s atrocity.

Updated

If you want to buy the doctors and nurses at Manchester Royal Infirmary a pint tonight, you have until 6pm to donate to a kitty behind the bar at the Turing Tap, the hospital’s on-site pub. So far more than £1,100 has been pledged to say thank you to the staff who worked through the night to save lives.

Updated

Alan and Frances Kinsey live opposite the raided house on Elsmore Road in Fallowfield. The first they knew of the raid was when Alan Kinsey tried to leave the house at about 11.30am and was told to go back inside by police.

Video he took on his phone from an upstairs window shows about 30 armed police officers surrounding the house and blowing the door open. Alan, 52, says he watched the house following the raid and did not see anybody being taken out.

The couple, who have lived in their house for 17 years, say they do not know the family at the address to talk to. The raid came as a horrible shock, they say.

They say that for the past six months there has seemed to only be a man in his 20s living in the house, with others occasionally coming and going. Alan described the man as more than 6ft 2ins, slim and usually wearing traditional Islamic dress.

Alan says he only communicated with the man once, when they disagreed over parking.

Updated

This is the full statement read by the GMP chief constable, Ian Hopkins:

Can I start by once again passing on our heartfelt sympathies to all the innocent people caught up in last night’s despicable act. We now have a team of specially trained family liaison officers who are supporting families.

There has been much speculation and names of those who may have been killed in the media and social media. We accept that this is inevitable, however, we ask that people allow the police and coroner to release the names once the families are ready and appropriately supported.

As you would expect the police response to this across Greater Manchester has been significant as we support people to go about their daily business.

Part of this response has seen us arrest a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack and we have also carried out two warrants, one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield that included a controlled explosion to enable safe entry.

We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers. However, now more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.

We have been visited by the prime minister and home secretary and we have taken them through the emergency response so far and what we plan to do in future days.

I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. However, he has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further. The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Updated

Bomber named by police

The suicide bomber behind the Manchester terror attack has been named by police as Salman Abedi, 22.

Abedi, believed to be from Manchester, was named by the Greater Manchester police chief constable, Ian Hopkins, in a media briefing outside the force’s headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.

Updated

The Queen and Prince Philip observe a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the Manchester attack at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen and Prince Philip observe a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of the Manchester attack at Buckingham Palace.
Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

A garden party at Buckingham Palace has observed a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the Manchester terror attack. Moments after the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Eugenie arrived at the event a drum roll signalled the start of the tribute.

The minute’s silence was observed just before the playing of the national anthem, which is normally played before garden parties at the palace begin.

In a message of support, the Queen said: “The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert. I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.”

Updated

The parents of two schoolgirls from the Hebridean island of Barra – Laura MacIntyre, 15, and Eilidh MacLeod, 14 – who remain missing after the concert bombing flew to Manchester on Tuesday to help police find their children.

A tweet by Laura’s father Micheal appealing for news of his daughter was retweeted more than 13,000 times:

A similar Facebook post by Eilidh’s aunt, Margaret MacNeil, was shared nearly 84,000 times. She wrote: “Please let us find the girls safe and well.”

Angus MacNeil, the MP for the Western Isles and a family friend of the MacIntyres, said police had asked the girls’ parents for a detailed description of their clothing to help find them.

The island has a population of just over 1,000, and MacNeil said islanders were feeling extremely tense after such a long time without news. The teenagers, who are pupils at the small community high school in Castlebay, had travelled to the concert with Eilidh’s mother Marion on Sunday, MacNeil said.

The girls’ fathers and Laura’s mother had managed to get seats on Tuesday on the only available flight to the mainland from the nearby island of Benbecula after other passengers gave up their places.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, told MSPs at Holyrood that the two girls were still unaccounted for. Police Scotland liaison officers are supporting the family.

“It is hard for any of us to imagine the anguish that their families are going through,” Sturgeon said. “They are in our thoughts and the Scottish government and Police Scotland will do all we possibly can to ensure that they have all the support they need.”

Updated

The three Take That concerts due to take place at the Manchester Arena later this week have been postponed, the venue said this afternoon.

Here is Theresa May signing the book of condolence at Manchester town hall.

A crowdfunding page set up by the Manchester Evening News has raised more than £360,000 since being set up and the total continues to rise. By 11.15am, more than 1,700 supporters had donated £28,000, and by about midday the figure hit £50,000.

One person who donated left a message that read: “My heart is with you all. I am deeply saddened by the recent events. I pray you are all OK and for those that have sadly passed away I pray you are safe in heaven.”

Updated

This is what Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, said about the Manchester attack at a news conference.

The whole House of Representatives extends its condolences to the families of the victims. Our prayers are especially with those who are still searching for their children.

I don’t know – maybe it’s because I am a father of teenagers, but that is the part that keeps me coming back to this. I mean, think about the kids who had this date on their calendar circled. Think about the kids who got their parents to agree to take them to the concert. Or maybe it was a birthday present, or maybe it was a surprise.

Or think about the kids who went to the concert with their friends on the agreement that they would get together and meet their parents outside right after it. Those are the kinds of conversations that go on in families with teenagers. And then all those moms and dads waiting outside when disaster struck – think about that for a second. Many rushing in, hoping to God and fearing the worst.

To deliberately target innocent children is cowardice in its most heinous form. So we should not be surprised that Isis has claimed responsibility for this attack. But we will never bow or bend to radical Islamic terror.

In Manchester, we have seen hotels taking in survivors. We have seen local residents offering beds to those who are stranded. We have seen taxi cabs driving back and forth through the night, offering free rides to bring people to safety. And as we speak, people on social media are reaching out to connect families with their loved ones.

Terror is a threat that we all face together – and with our might, and with our humanity too. In that spirit, I want to express solidarity of the whole House of Representatives to prime minister May and her government. We stand ready to help in any way we can. Because freedom, compassion, and peace will always prevail over violence and hate.

Updated

Downing Street has held a special lobby briefing this afternoon to update journalists on what the government has been doing in relation to the Manchester attack. The prime minister’s spokesman did not have anything new to say about the police investigation, and most of the points that emerged were process-related.

  • May has spoken on the phone today with the American president Donald Trump, the French president Emmanuel Macron, the Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni and the Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. All expressed their support for Britain following the attack. Further calls with world leaders are expected later today.
  • She spoke to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, at 4am to discuss the suspension of the election campaign.
  • She was informed about the attack shortly after it happened. She was in Downing Street at the time, and was alerted by officials.
  • She still plans to attend the Nato and G7 summits later this week. At the G7 summit May is due to lead a discussion on counter-terrorism, something planned before last night’s attack.
  • She visited the incident room when she went to Greater Manchester police HQ earlier today to thank staff. She also met the chief constable, Ian Hopkins, the Greater Manchester fire chief Peter O’Reilly, the Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, and the council leader Richard Leese.
  • She will chair another Cobra meeting in Downing Street later today.
  • The spokesman refused to say whether the suicide bomber was linked to Islamic extremism, or whether he was known to the authorities. The spokesman said the police were still working on confirming the man’s identity.

Updated

Residents in Elsmore Road, where police carried out a controlled explosion and raided a home, saw armed police conducting the operation.

Tina Ward, 32, says she came out of her home at about midday to see about 30 armed police flooding into the front garden of a neighbouring property.

She says the raided house is home to a big Asian family with sons. “They seem to be quiet,” she says. “I’ve been in my house 10 years and they’ve been there longer than me.”

Farazans Kosur lives on Thelwall Avenue, around the corner from the raided house. She says she knew the family in the house, though not very well.

She said the family had sons in their 20s and a younger son and daughter. The older sons would wear religious dress and attend a mosque. The mother was a “very nice woman” and taught Kosur’s friend’s daughter to read the Qur’an.
“It’s terrible,” she says. “I hate the bombing and everybody is scared … It’s a nice area. We’ve had no problems.”

The Facebook page of Nathan Brown shows armed police in Elsmore Road, south Manchester
The Facebook page of Nathan Brown shows armed police in Elsmore Road, south Manchester.
Photograph: Nathan Brown/PA

Updated

The exams regulator Ofqual has announced that pupils affected by the Manchester bombing may qualify for “special consideration” for sitting this summer’s GCSEs, A-levels and other exams.
Earlier, Ofqual said it was up to headteachers whether they wanted to postpone exams. In an update it said there were no plans to cancel exams, but pupils affected by the attack would be treated fairly. It said:

“We have met with exam boards today to discuss our collective response to the tragic events in Manchester last night.

“We know some students from schools and colleges sitting GCSEs, AS and A-levels, as well as other vocational and technical qualifications, are likely to have been affected. Today’s exams have gone ahead as planned and there are no plans to cancel or postpone others.

“We recognise that the impact of these events may not be just short term. We will continue to work closely with exam boards over coming days to gauge the impact on individual schools and colleges, and to make sure that special consideration options are considered and applied appropriately and fairly if students have been affected.”

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Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, has urged adults to “find a way to tell our children what has happened”. She said:

“It is difficult to comprehend the brutality of the bombing in Manchester which specifically targeted the most vulnerable group in our society – children and young people. This horrific and cowardly attack was aimed at an audience for a pop star with a huge young following, a fact that could not have been overlooked by whoever planned such an atrocity.

“This senseless and barbaric act has robbed a group of children (one as young as eight) and teenagers with their lives ahead of them, of their hopes and dreams. For those killed these will never be realised, for those injured they may be irreparably altered.

“Today, as adults, we must find a way to tell our children what has happened. To find the courage to help them understand and give them the reassurance and love they need to deal with such terrible news.”

Updated

James Corden paid tribute to Manchester on CBS’s the Late Late Show on Monday night.

“It’s famous all over the world for so many wonderful things,” the visibly shaken host of the US chat show said.

“Great football teams, Man City. Man United. Incredible music, Oasis and Joy Division. It was the birthplace of the leader of the suffragettes, it’s the home of the inventor of the first computer. It’s a place full of comedy and curries and character.

“But when I think of Manchester, the place that I know, I think of the spirit of the people there, and I’m telling you a more tight-knit group of people you will be hard-pressed to find. Strong, proud, caring people with community at its core and, if it was even possible, the spirit of the people of Manchester will grow even stronger this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Manchester tonight, all of the staff at the MEN Arena, all of the security teams, all of the emergency teams, Ariana and her team and all of those families affected by tonight.”

James Corden pays emotional tribute to Manchester attack victims – video

Updated

Royal Manchester children’s hospital has shared photographs of boxes of food that have been donated by the public and local businesses for NHS staff and families affected. They included crisps, popcorn, drinks and pastries. The hospital tweeted to say: “We are overwhelmed by gifts … Thank you.”

Updated

Injured had metal bolts in their bodies

Relatives of a woman missing in the attack told South West News that victims were left with metal bolts embedded in their bodies.

Paul Dryhurst’s niece, Kelly Brewster, 32, is feared to have been killed when she visited the arena with her sister, Claire Booth, and Booth’s daughter, Hollie, 11.

All three were caught in the blast and Booth, 34, and Hollie were today being treated in hospital for horrific shrapnel wounds.

Speaking from his home in Sheffield, Dryhurst said Booth and Hollie were having bolts surgically removed from their bodies.

Dryhurst, a 59-year-old lorry driver, said: “Kelly has shielded Hollie and Claire from the damage.

“The three were walking out in single file, with Claire in front, Hollie behind her and Kelly behind her. When the bomb has gone off the impact has broken Claire’s jaw and broken Hollie’s legs. They are both currently in hospital having nuts and bolts removed from all places.”

He said his niece, Kelly, was still missing. Dryhurst said “After the impact Claire had gone to Hollie, but when she looked up she couldn’t find Kelly. They lost her in all the commotion.

Paul added: “We’ve now not heard anything for so long and holding on to the old saying ‘no news is good news’, but the longer it goes on, the worse it feels.”

Updated

Theresa May, has arrived at Manchester’s children’s hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary to meet victims of the attack and staff.

May arrived in a black Jaguar and was escorted into the hospital entrance by royal and specialist protection officers from the Metropolitan police.

The prime minister is expected to talk to patients and staff in a visit not expected to last longer than 30 minutes.

Twelve children under 16 are being treated at the children’s hospital and nine adults are being treated at the MRI.

Updated

The former prime minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah have tweeted this.

The US director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, has just returned from London, where he said he had spent a lot of time with intelligence colleagues discussing security threats to the UK and US.

“It once again reminds us. This threat is real. It is not going away and needs significant attention to do everything we can do to protect our people,” Coats told a congressional committee.

On Islamic State involvement in the Manchester bombing, Coats said the US intelligence community “have not verified, yet, the connection”.

Updated

This is from António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general.

Updated

Armed police have arrived at the Etihad stadium, where friends and family of victims are being supported by family liaison officers and British Red Cross staff.

Speaking outside the stadium, British Red Cross worker Niall Pemberton said he had been helping the families since 8am, when the first relatives began to arrive.

He said: “We have got a mixture of families in there going through a range of emotions. Different people at different stages of emotion.

“We are there to provide people with the opportunity to offload. We are here because of some of the expertise we have supporting friends and families.”

There has been a steady trickle of volunteers bringing food, water and pizza to the stadium throughout the day.

Updated

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, walked to the British embassy in Paris (it is close to the Elysée Palace) to sign the book of condolences for victims of the Manchester attack.

Updated

Manchester remains jumpy. As doctors and nurses cared for patients at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and Manchester Children’s hospital, a fire alarm forced the evacuation of the hospital.

A single fire engine arrived and the staff and patients were able to return shortly after they were evacuated.

Updated

This is what Theresa May said when asked what would be done to ensure that people and their children going to music concerts and festivals over the summer will be safe.

Well, the police and others will of course be looking at the security of venues to ensure that people can continue to enjoy summer events, feeling secure, and enjoy those events.

What is clear is that we are ensuring that resources are available for the police in order to be able to do the job that they need to do.

This was a horrendous attack, absolutely horrific, barbaric in its nature, but what I’m also clear about is that we will not let the terrorists win. Our values will prevail.

The Metropolitan police is reviewing security plans for upcoming events in the capital.

Police could be deployed to smaller events that have not been policed in the past, it said.

There will also be an increase in armed and unarmed officers on patrols around key locations and crowded places.

A full review of the security and policing operations for the weekend’s sporting events at Wembley and Twickenham is also under way.

Operation Hercules, involving the deployment of a range of armed officers, will be stepped up. Commander Jane Connors said:

“We are determined to do all we can to protect the capital. That means that over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events you will see more officers, including armed officers.

“We are used to delivering policing operations that seek to mitigate against the severe threat we face from terrorists. It is only right that we now take time to review those existing plans and make sure we are confident that we are doing all we can.

“As you are out and about in London please be alert – call us immediately if you see something suspicious. If you are at an event and something worries you, go straight to a police officer or security guard and tell them.

Updated

The BBC is playing a clip of an interview with Theresa May in Manchester.

She says an “absolutely callous” act has taken place.

She has spoken to the police about the inquiry. They are working to see if the attacker was part of a wider group.

Q: The youngest victim named was eight.

May says this is a “horrendous tragedy”. She is ensuring the police have the resources they need.

She thanks the police for their work. Officers turned up for work when they were off duty.

The terrorists must not prevail.

Q: What can you say to people worried if their children will be safe at concerts this summer?

May says the police will be looking at events to ensure that people are safe.

We must ensure our values prevail, she says.

Updated

That vigil for the victims will take place between 6pm and 7pm, Manchester police has confirmed.

Updated

Prince Charles has expressed his deep distress. In a statement, he said:

My wife and I were so profoundly shocked to learn of the truly dreadful event which took place in Manchester last night.

That such a large number of people, including so many young concert-goers, lost their lives or have suffered so much in this appalling atrocity is deeply distressing and fills us with intense sadness.

Words cannot adequately express what so many families must be feeling at this incredibly difficult time and our most heartfelt sympathy is with all those who have so tragically lost loved ones or who have been affected in some way.

Updated

Residents have gathered at the entrance to Elsmore Road in the suburb of Fallowfield, where police reportedly carried out a controlled explosion at about 12.30 today.

Many say they have heard that a man was arrested at gunpoint at this address, but I haven’t found anybody who actually saw it.

The road has been blocked off, there is a police helicopter overhead and scores of police officers can be seen outside a property at the end of the street. There is also a fire engine parked nearby.

Neville Edwards, who lives locally and whose mother’s house backs on to the property raided by police, said he came to see what was going on after he heard the explosion.

He says he doesn’t know the people who live in the house and, although there have been a few names “bandied about”, he isn’t familiar with any of them.

“The explosion rocked windows and my mum said it rocked her house,” he says. “There were people as far as Platt Lane, which is half a mile away, who felt it.”

He says it was “shocking and scary” for people in the area, given what happened last night. Lots of local parents went to pick children up from the local primary school when they heard it, he says. “There are a lot of families with young children in the area and they need reassuring that it’s under control.

“As you can see it’s a really close-knit area, with really good community links,” says Edwards. “Everybody knows everybody and people would do anything for each other, which makes it even more shocking that this has happened at an address in the area.”

Forensic officers were photographed searching an address in Elsmore Road.

Police forensic investigators at an address in Elsmore Road
Police forensic investigators at an address in Elsmore Road
Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Updated

Theresa May with the Greater Manchester police chief constable Ian Hopkins.
Theresa May with the Greater Manchester police chief constable Ian Hopkins.
Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The British Red Cross has set up a reception centre at the Manchester Etihad stadium for family and friends of those involved in the attack.

Niall Pemberton, a senior emergency response officer, is managing four volunteers who are giving support to the families affected.

He said the atmosphere inside the stadium was sombre. “People are processing the incident, processing their grief, processing their trauma and really going through that array of emotions that would be expected in a situation like this,” he said.

Police have asked people to go to the reception centre if they are still awaiting information and want to be reunited with someone who is missing, as well as those coming to terms with the death of someone who was at the concert. “There’s a real mixture of people,” Pemberton said.

He said there were 10- 12 families in the reception centre.

“We’ve been here since about 8 o’clock this morning. It’s a voluntary response. We’re offering practical and emotional support, what that looks like in practice is helping people come to terms with the situation they’re going through, offering people space, the opportunity to have someone to talk to, or provide refreshments if they’re needed.”

The families are helping each other too, he added. “People are processing grief and the information they’re hearing in different ways. They’re coming together to offer support. The community of Manchester has also put tremendous effort in offering their support.”

Updated

Nicola Sturgeon has told MSPs at Holyrood an urgent security review is under way for policing major public events, including this Saturday’s Scottish cup final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden stadium in Glasgow.

In a short statement updating the Scottish parliament on the Manchester Arena attack, the first minister confirmed Police Scotland has significantly increased the deployment of armed officers and armed response vehicles in public places as a precaution.

Officers from Police Scotland and the British Transport police were on duty at motorway service stations and train stations to interview any Scottish concert-goers on their way home who could be witnesses to the attack, she said.

Sturgeon added that two teenagers from the small Hebridean island of Barra who had attended the Ariana Grande concert, Laura MacIntyre 15, and Eilidh MacLeod, 14, were still missing, 14 hours after the attack. So far, four Scottish injured victims had been identified, with two already discharged from hospital and a third expected to be released later today.

She and Ken Macintosh, Holyrood’s presiding officer, said they had written separately to the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, sharing their condolences.

Macintosh said:

There is a tangible sense of shock and sorrow in parliament as we come together today and reflect on the events of last night in Manchester. The fact that those deliberately targeted in the attack were innocent children and young people who had come together to enjoy a concert makes the news all the more devastating.

Updated

Polish citizens are among those missing after the attack, the Polish foreign ministry has confirmed to Jakub Krupa from the Polish Press Agency.

He says Angelika and Marcin Klis are reported missing.

Updated

The RMT has suspended a planned strike next week on Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Southern Rail in the wake of the Manchester attack.

Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary, said: “In light of the horrific bombing in Manchester last night, and the heightened safety and security alerts on our transport services, RMT’s executive has taken the decision to suspend the 24 hours of strike action scheduled for Tuesday 30 May on Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Southern Rail.

“Our thoughts and solidarity at this time are with the people of Manchester.”

Updated

It seems that the controlled explosion in Fallowfield occurred on Elsmore Road. The Press Association has this:

Armed police sealed off Elsmore Road this morning as residents heard a large bang in the street.

Rosemary Ward, 21, said: “They were all running out of the house when a big bomb went off. That’s obviously what it was because the whole house was shaking. Everyone was panicking. I heard there was 20 people in that one house. It was scary.”

She said: “I’m shaking. I’m just worried about my child.”

Ward added: “It was the bang that shook us up. I started crying and just picked my child up.” She said the police operation was at about 11.30am.

Updated

Dr David Ratcliffe (L), medical director of North West ambulance service and Jon Rouse, chief officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, speak to the media outside Manchester Royal infirmary.
Dr David Ratcliffe (L), medical director of North West ambulance service and Jon Rouse, chief officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, speak to the media outside Manchester Royal infirmary.
Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, arrived at Royal Manchester Children’s hospital on Tuesday afternoon but declined to comment as he rushed into the building.

Twelve children under the age of 16 were among the 59 casualties taken to hospitals in the city, medical staff told reporters outside the Manchester Royal infirmary.

David Ratcliffe, the medical director of the North West ambulance service, said 12 patients were taken by ambulance to the children’s Hospital. Nine were taken to the neighbouring infirmary. Others were taken to hospitals across Greater Manchester.

In a statement, Jon Rouse, the chief officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, expressed “deep condolences” to the victims and their families.

“It’s been a terrible night and morning in terms of Greater Manchester,” he said. “Although we have also seen some of the best aspects of Greater Manchester and the people who live there as well.”

Dozens of cameras and reporters are assembled outside the infirmary in an otherwise calm atmosphere.

Rouse added: “Clearly there are a number of individuals who have very, very serious injuries and are requiring intensive care and people who are going to be in hospital for a long time in terms of that treatment.”

Ratcliffe said: “We sent 60 vehicles to the site, along with highly specialised crews, highly specialised teams, that were able to stabilise patients at the scene and ensure that they received the right treatment at the scene before evacuation to hospital. We took 59 patients to local A&Es around the Greater Manchester area.”

He said nine patients had been taken to the infirmary, six to Salford Royal Foundation Trust, six to the University Hospital of South Manchester, six to Stepping Hill, eight to Bolton hospital, seven to the Royal Oldham hospital and five to North Manchester hospital.

Updated

The Isis claim of responsibility (see earlier) was expected by most analysts given the timing, type and target of the Manchester bombing

It obviously comes after a series of attacks executed by Isis networks or sympathisers (or both) across Europe, including the UK. The attacks have varied in some aspects but are all clearly part of the same effort by the group to terrorise western European populations, polarise communities and motivate their own supporters.

Experts have long predicted a wave of violence as the group’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq crumble under military pressure.

Those predictions were partly based on the idea of a wave of British, French, Belgian and German veterans of the terrorist group’s war in Iraq and Syria returning to their former homes. It is unclear if that is happening generally, or if this latest attack was executed by such an individual or by someone whose connections with the group are tenuous, or even exist at all. The claim of responsibility provides some clues.

Until recently, Isis claims were seen as credible. The group only claimed attacks that were directly or indirectly linked to it, and it was often careful to indicate through the vocabulary used in its communications whether an attacker had been inspired or directed by the group.

Casualty numbers were often inflated – here the claim is of 100 “crusaders” – but claims of links to the attackers were usually substantiated. Sometimes claims included inaccuracies – an early message after the November 2015 attacks in Paris included a bombing, which didn’t happen, among the various attacks launched by its cell – but this seems more due to operational issues than a desire to brag, deny, obfuscate or invent.

More recently, however, the claims have been demonstrably less accurate. Isis claimed responsibility for the truck attack in Nice last year, though no evidence has emerged of any links between the group and the man who murdered more than 80 people in the French city during the 14 July celebrations.

It also claimed responsibility for the Westminster attack in London in March, though again, there is nothing to indicate anyone from the organisation was in touch with Khalid Massood, the extremist who drove a car into pedestrians and stabbed a police officer outside parliament.

Some details of the group’s claim of responsibility for the recent Champs Élysée shooting – by a radicalised, police-hating career criminal – just before the French election also appeared to be wide of the mark.

The Manchester claim has some inaccuracies and gaps: it appears to indicate that several explosive devices were left at the arena rather than a single one being set off by the bomber as a suicide attack; and, unusually, the nom de guerre of the attacker is not given. The former confusion may indicate that a planned operation went awry, with perhaps the bomber setting off the explosives early by accident. The latter omission is harder to explain if Isis was deeply involved in the attack.

In recent years, analysts have looked at the timing of claims. If they were issued quickly – and included some telling operational detail that would only be known to conspirators – then that indicated Isis had prior knowledge of the attack. If they were slower and lacked precision then it implied the group was more distant.

In several cases, Isis provided proof of its deep involvement by publishing pre-recorded videos of attackers, though some of these appear to have reached the group only as the attack was under way. We will have to see if this kind of evidence emerges.

What we haven’t had yet is Isis claiming an attack that has absolutely nothing to do with their agenda and ideology, which is important in working out who was responsible for this tragedy. Clearly we will know more when we learn something concrete about the identity of the bomber.

Updated

A witness in Wilbraham Road, south-west Manchester, has confirmed that an arrest took place there this morning.

Bob Down, who works at a PR agency above the Elektric Club in the road, said: “There were police in a couple of cars and I saw them with one guy putting him into the back of a police van. it was quite low key. They guy looked quite young.”

We cannot confirm reports that this was the 23-year-old arrested by Manchester police.

Updated

Theresa May and Amber Rudd, the home secretary, have arrived at the Greater Manchester police HQ.

Controlled explosion in Fallowfield, south Manchester

Manchester police have conducted a controlled explosion.

In a brief statement the force said:

Police have executed warrants, one in Whalley Range, and one in Fallowfield, where a controlled explosion took place, as part of the investigation into last night’s horrific attack at the Manchester Arena.

Updated

Journalist Ed Caesar, who has written for the Sunday Times and the New Yorker, tweets a picture of the man he claims is the 23-year-old who was arrested by police this morning near his home.

This cannot be verified. The location of the photograph is Wilbraham Road in Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

Updated

David Semple, the chairman of the Manchester Conservative Federation, said he had heard rumours that the suicide bomber may have lived in the flats in Whalley Range being raided by the police. He said:

We saw loads of police cars coming down the street and just followed them. Can’t believe it really.

We heard he could be from here but not 100%. They are signing everyone out of the apartments now – it all feels very strange.

Armed police remained at the scene and the gates to the complex remained locked. A mother and her newborn baby were allowed to leave the complex and she was met by her relatives but no one else has been allowed to leave.

Hassan Swn, 26, a Palestinian student, said police were not allowing residents to collect their cars. The project management graduate, said:

I had a job interview but can’t go because they won’t let me get my car. They said something serious is happening but we don’t know exactly what it’s going on.

Updated

Robert Booth has been speaking to a witness of today’s raid in south Manchester.

Neil Labrow, a resident of the Royston Court apartment complex in Whalley Range, where armed police were engaged in a raid at lunchtime, said he didn’t want to leave his flat while the police operation was under way.

He said in a phone call that residents had been told by police that they could leave, but they would not be able to return to their homes until further notice.

From his window he said he could see three officers in helmets, carrying guns “like you see them using at the airport”.

He said the activity appeared to be focused on a recently built block of mostly two-bedroom apartments.

“There’s quite a turnover of population so you don’t get to know people,” he said.

“There are quite a few Asian families, many students that bring their families over. It was a rough area but over the years it has got much better and there’s not much trouble.”

Updated

Twelve children among the wounded

Twelve children under the age of 16 were among the 59 casualties taken to hospital after the attack, according to David Ratcliffe, the medical director of North West ambulance service.

Updated

Isis claims responsibility

More on Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the attack. “A soldier of the Caliphate managed to place explosive devises in the midst of gatherings of the Crusaders in the British City of Manchester,” its news service said.

Updated

Here is the White House read-out of President Trump’s phone call with Theresa May.

President Donald J Trump spoke this morning from Jerusalem with prime minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom about the apparent terrorist act in Manchester, England.

The two leaders agreed that this attack – which targeted teenage children and their friends at a joyous event – was particularly wanton and depraved.

The president reassured the prime minister that Americans stand with the people of the United Kingdom and that our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism. He offered American aid in the United Kingdom’s investigation and vowed to continue the mutual fight against terrorism.

Both leaders commended the courage, speed and professionalism of those who responded to the wounded, secured the innocent, and tended to the survivors and their families.

The president said he looks forward to seeing prime minister May in person this week and discussing America’s unbreakable commitment to the United Kingdom and the ways both countries can work with allies and partners around the world to defeat terrorism.

May and Trump are due to meet later this week at a G7 meeting in Sicily.

Updated

Saffie Rose Roussos, aged eight, is second victim to be named

A “beautiful little girl” has been named as a victim of the suspected suicide attack after the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that has left at least 22 dead and 59 people injured.

Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, was at the concert with her mother, Lisa, and sister Ashlee Bromwich, who were later found injured in separate hospitals.

Chris Upton, the headteacher at Tarleton Community primary school, where Saffie was a pupil said:

Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair.

The news of her death had come as a “tremendous shock”, he added. “The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking.”

The tight-knit school would be helping staff and pupils to cope with the shocking news, he said.

Saffie was at the concert with her mother Lisa and her sister Ash. It is understood Lisa and Ash are being treated in hospital

Saffie Rose Roussos.
Saffie Rose Roussos.
Photograph: PA

Updated

Summary

What we know so far about the attack:

  • At least 22 people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade. The horror unfolded at about 10.30pm on Monday at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande, whose music is popular with children and teenagers.
  • Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to an unverified report by Reuters. Greater Manchester police say the perpetrator was a man acting alone, who died at the scene after detonating an improvised explosive device.
  • Manchester police have confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old in connection with last night’s attack. Officers in riot gear with guns have also raided a flat on the Whalley Range/Chorlton border. Investigators are trying to establish whether the bomber was part of a wider network.
  • Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre was evacuated after a security alert as the atmosphere in the city remains tense. Manchester police confirmed that a man was arrested in the centre in an operation thought to be unrelated to the attack.
  • Some of the first victims have been been named. Runshaw College, where 18-year-old Georgina Callander was a student, released a statement, saying: “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.” It was also confirmed that eight-year-old Saffie Roussos was killed in that attack.
  • A large area around the Manchester arena has been cordoned off. Victoria station has been closed and train services cancelled for the whole of Tuesday. Police have asked people to stay away from the area.
  • Extra police have been deployed in many cities including London. The British Transport Police said extra officers, some armed, would be on patrol today.
  • A vigil for the victims will be held in Manchester centre tonight. The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “There is a need for the city, and the city region, to come together, so we are making arrangements for a vigil.”

Reaction:

President Trump has tweeted this.

Mr Hamed, who runs the Q2 management company which maintains the buildings in Whalley Range area of Manchester where a police raid is taking place (see 12.40pm and 12.56pm), says a flat at the back end of the complex was raided close to the Spire hospital. He was called to the building by a relative who lives in the flats. He said:

My daughter-in-law lives here and she rang me to say that police are here. All the people living here are families. I can’t believe that. I did not know them personally but have a good number coming from outside the UK, like students, but we don’t have any people living on their own. It is not good news.

We have students from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya and then families from Manchester. They are two-bed flats. They are from every race.

Police raid
Police raid
Photograph: Nazia Parveen

Updated

All entry points to the road have been cordoned off and residents are being held back by officers. It is understood the man who detonated the bomb lived in one of the flats at Royston Court in Carlton Road being raided by the police.

Residents said the flats were built two years ago and are mainly occupied by refugees.

Updated

This is from the BBC’s home affairs correspondent, Tom Symonds, on Islamic State claiming responsibility for the Manchester attack.

And this is from Gordon Corera, the BBC’s security correspondent.

Updated

According to Reuters, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. This cannot be independently verified.

Updated

Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, has said the American authorities are “working closely” with the British authorities to help them investigate the attack.

Updated

STV has postponed its live televised Scottish leaders’ debate scheduled for Wednesday evening after the Manchester Arena bombing, with the parties preparing to suspend campaigning for much of this week.

The debate, due to be broadcast from the Tramway arts centre in Glasgow, was to include Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National party leader, Ruth Davidson, of the Scottish Tories, Kezia Dugdale, of Scottish Labour, and Willie Rennie, of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

STV said: “In light of events in Manchester and the suspension of general election campaigning, STV has taken the decision to postpone its Scottish party leaders’ debate planned for Wednesday evening.”

Updated

Armed officers in riot gear raid flat in Whalley Range

Officers in riot gear with guns have raided a flat in Whalley Range in Manchester.

More than a dozen officers in unmarked cars and police vans raided a flat at Royston Court in Carlton Road at about 12.20pm.

The public were told to keep out of the way as the officers made their way to the flat on the tree-lined street. A large police presence remains in the area.

Police raid in Carlton Road.
Police raid in Carlton Road.
Photograph: Nazia Parveen

Updated

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has confirmed police are in contact with the families of two Scottish teenagers who are missing after attending the concert in Manchester targeted in a terror attack.

Speaking at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh after a meeting of the Scottish government’s resilience committee, Sturgeon described the attack as a “dreadful atrocity”.

She also said that four people had attended hospitals in Scotland after the bomb attack. Two of them have already been discharged, she said.

Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media in Edinburgh
Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media in Edinburgh
Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

Updated

The director general of MI5, Andrew Parker, has condemned the terrorist attack in Manchester as “disgusting” and said the security service remains “relentlessly focused, in numerous current operations, on doing all we can to combat the scourge of terrorism and keep the country safe”.

Updated

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the attack. Speaking during his meeting with President Trump, Abbas said:

Allow me at the beginning to condemn the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in the British city of Manchester … I do offer my warm condolences to the prime minister of Britain, families of victims and the British people.

Updated

Queen issues statement

The Queen has spoken of her shock. In a statement, she also thanked the emergency services and expressed admiration for the response of people in Manchester.

The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.

I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.

I want to thank all the members of the emergency services who have responded with such professionalism and care.

And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.

Updated

First victim named

The first victim of the attack has been named as Georgina Callander, 18.

Runshaw College, where Callander was a student, released a statement, saying: “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 […]

“Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to all of Georgina’s friends, family and all of those affected by this loss.”

Updated

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, told Sky News that his children knew friends who had been at the concert.

While terrorist attacks had happened before, this was “of a different order”, Farron said:

This a terrorist attack deliberately targeted at children having the time of their lives. It was cowardly, it was deliberate, it is beyond wicked.

And that is why it is right that we should determine justice should be done, and we continue to stand up to those who wish to harm our society, to take away life, and to take away our liberty.

It was important that people remain “utterly resolute and defiant”, and not change their way of life in response to the attack, he added.

Farron said the Lib Dems, Labour and Conservatives had been in touch over the suspension of the election campaign.

We are absolutely of the view that our national campaigns have been suspended today. What happens in the future, that’s something to be discussed.

The mother of a 19-year-old Manchester Metropolitan University student who was at the Ariana Grande concert describes hearing screaming and “total panic” during a phone conversation she had with him minutes after the attack.

Her son, who wishes to remain anonymous, used his mobile phone to contact his mother soon after leaving the concert hall. He was seated high up in the stadium and says it was extremely difficult to exit due to people pushing from behind, crushing in the stairways and the crowd surging towards the exit doors.

“My son and his friend rang seconds after they got out. People thought there were gunmen behind them, and they didn’t know which way to go. They were just kids trying to work it out. They didn’t have any help,” his mother said.

She said her son asked for advice about where he should go because there was no support at the venue. Police were running the other way, he told her. She said she felt helpless as there was no information online.

“I was terrified for him. They wanted to run to the Arndale Centre – which was the site of a bomb attack when I was a teenager – of course I knew this might be a bad idea, but they didn’t. They genuinely didn’t know. They are young, but there were much younger children there,” she said.

She said although her son had water taken off him, his bags were not searched and security did not check what he was carrying.

Updated

Arndale centre reopened

The Arndale centre is being reopened after being evacuated as police confirm that a man was arrested in the shopping centre in a move currently thought to be unrelated to last night’s attack.

Emma Dixon, who works in Yours Clothing in the Arndale centre, said the first she heard of the evacuation was the centre’s security staff walking quickly in one direction. She and her colleagues tried to stay calm, but then saw customers screaming and running for the exit. “At that point we just ran. We were very frightened,” shesaid.

Dixon parked three miles away at a colleague’s house before walking in to work. “We get here, red-faced, and then we have to leave again.

“I wasn’t frightened coming in at all. I was apprehensive about what the atmosphere was going to be like and I knew we wouldn’t be busy, but it was like, ‘We’re coming in’.”

Updated

The BBC is postponing the Andrew Neil election interviews planned for this week while election campaigning has been suspended.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been giving his reaction to the Manchester attack, and said he had talked to Theresa May. He also spoke of the need to support the young people who were traumatised by the attack. When asked for his message to the families affected, Corbyn said:

I’m terribly sorry and terribly sad for you.

There can be nothing worse than losing a child in a situation like this.

We have to put our arms around them and support them, not just today but in all the very difficult days to come because a trauma like this doesn’t go in a day or two – it’s there with them for the rest of their lives.

We have to give them all the support we possibly can, and also make sure we live in a safe environment in the future and we live in safety together, but we do not allow communities to be divided by this kind of appalling, atrocious act of violence.

Updated

Manchester police have confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old in connection with last night’s attack.

Another man was arrested in the Arndale Centre, but this is not currently believed to be connected to last night’s attack.

First arrest

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the Manchester bomb
attack, Greater Manchester police said.

Updated

Theresa May’s statement – summary

Here are the main points from Theresa May’s statement.

  • May condemned the attack in the strongest terms possible, saying that it stood out for its “appalling, sickening cowardice”.

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.

This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom. And, although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced and the worst ever to hit the north of England …

The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert, which was attended by many young families and groups of children.

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

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

  • She said terrorists would never win and the spirit of Manchester and Britain would not be broken. Concluding her statement, she said:

At terrible moments like these it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true. For, as so often while we experience the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best.

The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. And in the days ahead those must be the things we remember.

The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help, of the men and women of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives, of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims. For they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain, a spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.

There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected, we offer our full support to the authorities, to the emergency and security services as they go about their workand we all, every single one of us, stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time. And today, let us remember those who died and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our country, our values and our way of life will always prevail.

  • She said that a single terrorist had detonated at bomb near one of the exits to the Manchester Arena, “deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately”.
  • She said that 22 people had died, as well as the attacker, and that 59 people were injured, many of whom have life-threatening injuries.

We know that among those killed and injured were many children and young people.

  • She said police thought the attack had been carried out by one man but that they wanted to establish if he was working alone, or if he was part of a wider group. It would take some time to establish the facts, she said.
  • She said police and the security services thought they knew the identity of the attacker, but that at this stage they could not confirm his name.
  • She praised the emergency services for their work last night. About 400 police officers were involved in the operation, she said.

And many paramedics, doctors, and nurses have worked valiantly amid traumatic and terrible scenes to save lives and care for the wounded.

  • She said the police and the security services would get all the resources they needed for the investigation.
  • She said the UK threat level remains at “severe”, meaning a terrorist attack is highly likely, and that it would continue to be assessed.
  • She said there was a large cordon around Manchester Arena and Victoria station, which would remain in place for some time.
  • She confirmed she would be going to Manchester to meet the chief constable, the mayor and the emergency services.
  • She said she would chair another Cobra meeting later today.
Theresa May speaking outside Number 10.
Theresa May speaking outside No 10.
Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex/Shutterstock

Updated

Ambulance crews took 59 casualties to eight different Manchester hospitals and helped about 60 “walking wounded”, the North West ambulance service has said.

Sixty ambulances and a host of NHS staff specially trained to deal with major incidents attended what the NWAS chief executive, Derek Cartwright, described as “the horrifying scene” of the attack.

Cartwright said: “We were made aware of the incident at 10.46pm and soon after declared a major incident. Our staff worked tirelessly throughout the night to coordinate the large scale response, with 60 ambulances attending the horrifying scene in the city. Ambulance crews were accompanied by our hazardous area response teams, consultant paramedics, advanced paramedics and doctors who all offered their advanced clinical skills. We are extremely proud of the professional way our staff responded and treated those involved.

“In total, our clinicians treated and took 59 patients to hospital – nine to Manchester Royal Infirmary, six to Salford, six to Wythenshawe, 12 to Manchester children’s, six to Stepping Hill, eight to Royal Bolton, seven to Royal Oldham and five to North Manchester. Approximately 60 ‘walking wounded’ were also treated by our crews, but did not go to hospital.

“No matter how much we train our staff for incidents such as this, nothing can prepare you for the shock and sadness when tragedies like this occur. This is, indeed, a very sad time for Manchester.”

He praised NHS colleagues in other parts of England and Wales for providing “mutual” aid to help relieve the pressure on a very overstretched NWAS. “We would like to convey our thanks to our colleagues in West Midlands, Wales, Yorkshire and East Midlands ambulance services who provided mutual aid so we could continue reaching patients who needed our help in our communities”, Cartwright added.

A fleet of ambulances arriving at Manchester Arena
A fleet of ambulances arriving at Manchester Arena
Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Updated

A homeless man who rushed into the Manchester Arena to help victims of the attack has told of the moment a woman died in his arms after she was injured in the blast.

Chris Parker, 33, was begging in the foyer of the venue when the bomb went off, killing 22 people and injuring another 59.

He told the Press Association: “Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else. As people were coming out of the glass doors I heard a bang and within a split second I saw a white flash, then smoke and then I heard screaming.

“It knocked me to the floor and then I got up and instead of running away my gut instinct was to run back and try and help.

“There was people lying on the floor everywhere.

“I saw a little girl. I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said, ‘Where is your mum and daddy?’ She said, ‘My dad is at work, my mum is up there.’”

Parker said he thought the girl’s mother had died from her injuries.

He also said he had tended to a woman in her 60s with serious leg and head injuries. “She passed away in my arms,” he said. “She was in her 60s and she had been with her family. I haven’t stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert.”

Parker has slept rough in Manchester for about a year, PA reports. Meanwhile, residents across the city have opened up their homes and offered help to those affected by the attack, using the hashtag #RoomForManchester on social media.

Updated

Manchester’s Arndale Centre evacuated

The Arndale Centre in Manchester has been evacuated after a security alert as the atmosphere in the city remains tense.

Updated

Human Appeal, Britain’s leading Muslim charity, has launched an appeal to raise money for the victims of the Manchester attack and their families

Muslims for Manchester was launched on Tuesday morning by the charity, which is based in the city.
Othman Moqbel, Human Appeal’s chief executive, said: “As a Muslim, as a Mancunian and as a father, I want the victims and their families of Monday night’s attack to know that my prayers, the prayers of everyone at Human Appeal and the prayers of Manchester’s Muslim community, are with them. Although the details are currently unclear, this appears to be a despicable and abhorrent attack targeting innocent members of our community.

“Manchester’s Muslim community stands united with everyone in the city … Once again my prayers and love go to the victims, their families and this great city.”

Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those caught up in the Manchester Arena attack at the Ariana Grande concert last night. This savage attack on young people will require a response, but we will not hand victory to the attacker by allowing ourselves to become divided. The response by people of all communities in Manchester, offering shelter and transport to each other, shows our society’s resilience, and that terrorism will not win.”

The attack was incomprehensible, said Gershon Silins, the rabbi for the Manchester Liberal Jewish Community.

“It doesn’t make sense to many of us that such an atrocity could be carried out at a concert attended by children and young teenagers. A place usually filled with joy and excitement. And as we wake up today to the news that dozens upon dozens of young lives have been prematurely lost and many more changed significantly, the horror of the situation is incomprehensible. For so many families, today is just the beginning of mourning for lives lost, or a new reality of family members irrevocably damaged.

“But as the stories come in of the emergency service teams working tirelessly at the scene, of the local families and businesses opening their doors, we are reminded that it is precisely at times like these that our bond as a community is strengthened – not diminished. Today we stand side by side in the wake of this atrocity. In support of the bereaved and the injured. Today we all stand together.”

Updated

The blood bank on Norfolk Street in Manchester city centre has had to start turning people away because it has had so many people come to donate.

Karen Hodgins, a nurse at the centre, said they had a queue of about 70 people earlier this morning and were asking people to make appointments online for another time, unless they have the blood group O negative.

“Most people are not the blood group that we need, which is O negative, the universal blood type. It’s not rare but it can go to anybody,” she said.

She urged people who were O negative to go to a blood bank, but said everybody who already had an appointment would be seen today.

Waiting outside the centre, Adam Sharp, 25, said he had come along with his colleagues to “try and do my bit”. “I’ve registered before but have never donated,” he said. He’s was not sure what his blood group is. Standing nearby is Jules Boyle, 24, and about 11 colleagues. She woke up this morning to the news of the bombing. “I’ve never given blood before so I thought it was an appropriate time,” she says.

“It’s pretty horrific and it’s quite eerie around here today, compared to the normal hustle and bustle,” says Boyle. It didn’t cross her mind not to come into work, she says. “You need to try and get on with your day and do your bit.”

Updated

Katie Hopkins has been reported to police for a tweet in which she called for a “final solution” following the terror attack at Manchester Arena.

Hopkins, a columnist for Mail Online and presenter on LBC radio, quickly deleted the tweet and posted an altered version after widespread condemnation for directly echoing the Nazi term for the Holocaust as part of a longer anti-Muslim tirade.

The tweet was directed at Good Morning Britain host Phillip Schofield, who walked across Westminster Bridge in “defiance” following the attack on parliament earlier this year.

It read: “22 dead – number rising. Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution. #Machester (sic)”.

Critics have called for Hopkins to be fired and she has been reported to police.

The altered tweet was changed to “we need a true solution”, but Hopkins said she rewrote it because of a typo. “I stand by my tweet,” she said. “I find the typo disrespectful to the survivors in Manchester.”

The Met said: “We can confirm that a complaint has been received by the Metropolitan Police Service on Tuesday 23 May in relation to a tweet published on the same day.

“As is routine, the allegation will be reviewed and assessed by specialist officers.”

Updated

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has urged people to show their support for Manchester by attending tonight’s vigil in the city centre.

Speaking after taking part, via video link, in the government’s emergency meeting,he said:

There is a need for the city, and the city region, to come together, so we are making arrangements for a vigil in the centre of Manchester this evening in Albert Square in front of the town hall.

It is important that we send out that clear message, that though we are grieving we our strong and we are together.

I would urge people to show their support by possibly attending the vigil tonight. The most important message we must all send together is that we are united and we will not let them win.

Burnham also paid tribute to the response of the city. He said:

“The idea that people just throw their doors open or make their car available to people, it tells you everything about the people of Greater Manchester. It is the best response because it is what the extremists don’t want.

“That’s what the people here are like. They will never beat us …

“In this darkest hour, every single person in Greater Manchester will be proud that people responded in that particular way. It is a case of return to business as usual as far as possible. We will not let these people win.

“We all feel an sense of abhorrence at the nature of this attack. I’m not alone in saying that my kids have been at that venue at that particular time of night. Everybody here has a similar experience. For individuals to go there and seek to terrorise those children and those young people and their families in that way is the most appalling evil act that I can imagine.”

And Burnham condemned “ill-informed” comments about those responsible. He said:

People should avoid some of the ill-informed comment on social media. Take the lead from what the police are saying here before people jump to any conclusions about this attack. For goodness sake, let’s not descend into a situation of mutual distrust between our communities. The individual who carried this out is an extremist and and doesn’t represent any of our communities and does not represent the people of Greater Manchester in any way, shape or form.

Updated

May says she will travel to Manchester later to meet the chief constable, the mayor and the emergency services.

The election campaign has been suspended, she says.

She says she will chair another Cobra meeting later today.

She says it is customary for leaders to condemn the attackers.

But the fact we have to say this again does not make this any less true, she says.

She says we should remember the countless acts of kindness that brought people together, the work of the emergency services and the messages of solidarity and hope from those who opened their homes to victims.

“These are the things that represent the spirit of Manchester. It will never be broken.”

She says there will be difficult days ahead. Let us remember those who died, and think of those who helped.

Our way of life will always prevail, she says.

That’s it. May’s statement is over.

Updated

May says if others are responsible for the attack, they will be brought to justice.

The police believe that attack was carried out by one person. But they need to find out if they were acting alone.

The police think they know the identity of the perpetrator. But the police are not at this point revealing their name.

She says doctors and medical staff have worked valiantly to attend to those injured.

More resources are being devoted to the police, she says.

She says the scene around Manchester Arena will be closed for some time.

Updated

May says the police were called to Manchester Arena at 10.33pm. A single terrorist detonated a device near the exit, at a time and place intended to cause maximum injuries.

All terrorist attacks are terrible, but this stands out for its cowardice, she says.

She says, in addition to the attacker, 22 people have died, and 59 people are being treated in hospital. Many have life-threatening injuries, she says.

Updated

Theresa May’s statement

Theresa May is making her statement about the Manchester attack in Downing Street.

She says she has just chaired a Cobra meeting.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected.

The people of Manchester have fallen victim to a “callous terrorist attack”, she says.

It is the worst attack Manchester has suffered, and the worst to hit the north of England.

 

Updated

Blood donor centres in Manchester have experienced a surge in would-be donors presenting themselves to offer their blood.

However, the centres are fully stocked.

Jane Green, the chief nurse at the Plymouth Donor Centre opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary, said they had been overwhelmed by people arriving to donate blood, but were turning spontaneous arrivals away as the centre was fully stocked and had a fully booked day of pre-arranged appointments.

Updated

Burnham announces vigil in Manchester

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, says a vigil will be held for the victims in Manchester tonight. “We will never be beaten,” he says.

He urges people not to jump to conclusions about the attacker. He condemns the attacker as an extremist who doesn’t represent any community.

Updated

The government is not planning to increase the threat level to “critical” in the aftermath of the Manchester attack.

The threat level has been at “severe”, the fourth highest ranking, since 2014. Moving it on to the fifth and highest level would only be done if the police and intelligence services feared another attack was imminent.

MI5, which has a regional office in the north-west of England, has been been working through the night with police.

Much of the focus of the investigation is on where the attacker, who was killed in the attack, obtained the ingredients for making a bomb. Details of how to make a bomb can be found on the internet, but a degree of training is usually needed to succeed in detonating it.

With the amount of CCTV footage available, the police could have been able to quickly establish the identity of the attacker.

Updated

Theresa May has spoken to President Trump about the attack, the White House has announced.

The love and solidarity of Mancunians shone through in their immediate response to the attack on the arena, writes Owen Jones.

Yesterday, Manchester was one of the greatest cities on earth, and it remains so today. The warmth, the solidarity, the unique Manc humour, all of that will thrive as much as it ever did. This was the city that helped bequeath modern industrial civilisation; it is a hurricane of creativity and talent, like the music of Oasis and the Smiths, the art of Lowry, Corrie, the football, the athletes, the comedians, the suffragettes, the LGBT activists.

Updated

Manchester police has again urged the public to avoid the city centre while emergency services work at the scene of the attack.

Updated

Channel 4 News has been speaking to AJ Singh, one of the Manchester taxi drivers who offered free rides to those caught up in the attack.

“Manchester, we’re glue. We stick together when it counts,” he said.

Manchester University is advising that some exams may be disrupted but that students should assume they will go ahead as scheduled.

Armed police patrol the Manchester Arena in Manchester
Armed police patrol the Manchester Arena in Manchester
Photograph: Nigel Roddis/EPA

This is from Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

Updated

Channel 4 News’s Michael Crick says this is not the first terrorist attack during a general election campaign.

Updated

Concert-goers have criticised security at the Manchester Arena, with some saying bags were not checked.

Nikola Trochtova, a Czech woman who was at the Ariana Grande concert in the venue, told Czech public radio that “there was absolutely no security check”.

She added: “They let us get in without any check if we have anything with us … the only thing they were interested in was if we had any bottles of water with us. They almost didn’t check our bags, they didn’t take a look.”

The Associated Press reports Trochtova as saying she was leaving the venue when she heard an explosion at the entrance, but only found out what had happened when she returned to her hotel.

Others have posted on social media about what they deemed to be lax security checks at the venue, with mixed reports as to whether bags were checked upon entrance to the sold-out 21,000-person capacity stadium.

One Twitter user said: “The last 3 times I’ve seen a show at Manchester arena, they didn’t check my bag even though I had a backpack on.

“For One Direction, they just kind of jiggled my bag, ‘feeling’ if there was anything harmful. Had a 1L bottle of Lucozade, didn’t open my bag.
Didn’t even check my bag at all for Little Mix nor 5SOS, despite my bag being full and quite heavy.”

Another said: “Being there at the concert in Manchester, I’m not surprised someone was able to take something into the arena. Security was horrendous … Only a bag check, no metal scanners or patdowns for anyone entering through the Manchester Victoria entrance of the arena.”

Agnes Bergman wrote:

Updated

Theresa May is expected to make a statement outside No 10 within the next half an hour or so. She has been chairing a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency committee.

There is no prospect of parliament being recalled because, following the dissolution of parliament for the election, there are no MPs at the moment.

According to the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn, May will then travel to Manchester.

Updated

With the GCSE exam season under way in schools, the examinations regulator Ofqual, said headteachers are best placed to decide whether exams should be postponed.

It said:

“Many students and teachers are likely to have been affected by the tragic events in Manchester last night. Headteachers are best placed to decide whether exams should go ahead as planned.

“We will consider with the exam boards how the provisions that are normally made for students who are unable to sit their exams when planned, or who take their exams but whose performance might be affected, will be applied.

“Students and their parents should seek advice and information from their schools. Our thoughts are with everyone affected.”

Updated

Vikki Baker and her thirteen year old daughter Charlotte hug outside the Manchester Arena stadium in Manchester
Vikki Baker and her thirteen year old daughter Charlotte hug outside the Manchester Arena stadium in Manchester
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

While Manchester city centre is unusually quiet this morning, a lot of people have made their way to work as normal.

The police cordon now only surrounds the area near the arena.

There are lots of dazed parents with their teenage daughters, who appear to have been at last night’s concert, leaving hotels and making their way towards Piccadilly station.

Hayley Lunt and her 10-year-old daughter, Annabel, have just come out of the Premier Inn near the arena. They were at the concert last night and are still shaken. They haven’t slept since they ran to their hotel for safety following the blast.

“It’s surreal. It’s almost like we weren’t there,” Lunt told a huddle of journalists. “It’s like a bad movie. I think it’ll take a few days for us to come to terms with it.”

The pair, who are from near Bradford, were gathering their belongings at the end of the concert when they heard bangs, which they initially took to be gunshots. Lunt says she knew immediately that something terrible had happened.

“It was just hysteria and we just ran,” she says. “We found another young girl who lost her dad and we were just running along the street with her. Then thankfully, she found her dad and we just headed straight here. It was just utter chaos and terrifying.
“It just makes you frightened to take your child anywhere. It was her first proper concert and I’m just thinking, will she want to do anything again.”

Updated

Scotland’s chief constable has deployed armed police on high-visibility patrols in crowded areas, airports and railway stations after stepping up security following the Manchester Arena attack.

Phil Gormley, a former Met police counter-terrorism commander, said: “My thoughts and those of everyone at Police Scotland are with those who have lost loved ones or who were injured in the attack in Manchester.

“As part of the UK-wide response to these events, Police Scotland continues to review all safety and security plans and operations. This includes ensuring our armed policing and specialist resources are appropriately deployed.

“People will therefore see armed police on patrol at transport hubs and crowded places. There is no intelligence to suggest there is any threat to Scotland but I would ask the public to remain alert and report anything suspicious.”

Updated

These are from Brendan Cox, whose wife, Jo, was murdered by a far-right terrorist during the EU referendum last year.

The dean of Manchester, Rogers Govender, led prayers close to the arena.

Govender explained that normal morning prayers could not take place at the cathedral because it was within the cordon.

He said: “We pray for all the people of Greater Manchester at this time. We give you thanks for our city and our city region. We pray for all places of prayer and worship in our city as they become places of refuge and comfort for all of our people.

“We pray for ourselves that you fill us with compassion for those who suffer violence. We pray you give us a renewed sense of what a gift it is to live each day in peace and freedom. Help us not to allow ourselves to be diminished by fear and make us instruments of your peace in our homes, our communities and in this great city.”

A city councillor, Patrick Karney, read Psalm 125, which ends with: “Peace be on Israel” and added: “Peace be on Manchester.”

Teenage girls, some with their mothers, are beginning to leave the hotels near the arena where they spent the night.

Karen Moore, from Derby, who was with her daughter Molly, said neither had slept a wink. They had booked into a hotel, but became disorientated after leaving the arena and found themselves in the foyer of a different hotel. “They told us we’d better stay there and gave us quilts and pillows,” said Moore.

Mother and daughter were at the front of the arena when they heard the explosion. “Everyone was screaming, completely hysterical,” Moore said. “We just want to get home now – it’s been terrible, just awful.”

Updated

The scene at Manchester Royal Infirmary as the death toll from the Manchester bomb attack rose to 22 with 59 injured
The scene at Manchester Royal Infirmary as the death toll from the Manchester bomb attack rose to 22 with 59 injured
Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Our northern editor, Helen Pidd, has just spoken to an A&E doctor at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI).

He said many consultants came in unprompted during the night to help deal with what appeared to be a roughly equal number of child and adult casualties.

The injuries ran the gamut from “major trauma” to cuts and scratches, he said. A triage system at the arena decided which patients to send to which hospital.

MRI took all the major trauma cases not involving head injuries, which were taken to Salford Royal (often known locally as Salford Hope.)

The doctor, who asked not to be named, said he did not know if the bomber was treated at MRI. “We don’t get told these things. We just get on with treating everyone as best we can,” he said.

Meanwhile, Give Blood NHS, has urged the public to keep appointments, particularly if they are group O negative. But it says it has the blood required for now.

Updated

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Faith leaders and community organisations across the UK have condemned Monday night’s attack.

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, tweeted his condolences. “Heroic Manchester, dark evil cannot overcome it. We pray for those in sorrow on the hard journey of loss & pain, & for those who protect us,” he wrote.
David Walker, the bishop of Manchester, said: “What makes this latest atrocity particularly dreadful is the deliberate choice of a concert known to attract very young fans. Many lives will be lived out, impacted by this tragedy for long years to come. Others have had decades of life ripped away from them.

“There is a proper anger and rage in the face of events like this. Our challenge will be to direct that rage and anger to be a force for good. We will rally around the victims and their families. We will unite across our diversity, drawing close especially to any that the terrorists would seek to separate us from. And we will rebuild and repair the damage to our city, as we have done before.”

Churches in Greater Manchester would be open for people to pray today, he added.

Harun Khan
Harun Khan
Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer

Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This is horrific, this is criminal. May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next.

“I pay tribute to the police and emergency services who have worked valiantly to save lives last night. They were helped by civilians who rushed in to offer their support. I urge all those in the region and around the country to pool together to support those affected.”

The counter-extremist organisation Faith Matters said that actions against groups promoting Islamist and victimisation narratives had rarely been effective “when they create a fertile ground for mindsets who believe that they are being targeted by the government because they are Muslim. This causes them to become more and more isolated and drawn to further extremist rhetoric”.

Founder Fiyaz Mughal added: “We are moving into another phase given the Manchester killings. For years, government has had its hands tied behind its back and worried about legal action against it if it acts against groups. Manchester should be a turning point and a realisation that terrorists will not stop their murder of innocent people.

“We have to ensure that groups promoting Islamist and far-right extremist rhetoric are challenged, shown for the hypocrites that they are and that they are a fundamental threat to our democracy.”

John Arnold, the Catholic bishop of Manchester, said such an attack “can have no justification”.
The general assembly of the Church of Scotland opened in Edinburgh with prayers and silence for the victims of the attack. “That young people and children, with others, could be the subject of what police are now treating as a premeditated act of violence is beyond comprehension. There is no cause, political or religious, that justifies actions of senseless brutality, anywhere or at any time,” said the moderator Derek Browning.

The European Jewish Congress condemned the attack. It “demonstrates once again that the enemies of civilisation have no boundaries,” Moshe Kantor, the EJC president, said. “This was a concert attended by mostly young people and children and is a ghastly reminder that terrorism sees all of us as potential targets, regardless of age, religion, nationality or background.”
Bhai Amrik Singh, the chair of the Sikh Federation UK, said: “The suicide bomber who mindlessly targeted innocent young people in the Manchester Arena must have been deranged.

“I would like to applaud Sikhs living and working in Manchester who immediately came to the support of those caught up in the terror attack. This ranged from Sikh taxi drivers who drove people away from the danger to our Gurdwaras, who opened their doors to help strangers.”

Updated

Cressida Dick
Cressida Dick
Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Cressida Dick, has confirmed that more police are being deployed in London.

In a statement she said:

“This is an utterly appalling attack. My thoughts are with the people of Manchester as they try to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in their city last night. Our colleagues from Greater Manchester police and their emergency services showed huge bravery as they ran towards the confusion and danger.

“We are providing every possible support through the counter-terrorism network as investigators work tirelessly to understand what has happened.

“Here in the capital we put extra police officers on duty as Londoners started their journeys into work. This will continue for as long as it is needed, and the mix of armed and unarmed officers are there to reassure.

“Looking ahead to the weekend – a normal busy and vibrant weekend in our city – we are working with all those planning events to make sure we are doing all we can.

“Terrorists seek to spread fear and undermine our way of life. We must work together to stop that from happening. If you have suspicions, tell us; if you see something that concerns you, report it. Together, we can protect London.”

Updated

Speaking in Brussels for a meeting of EU finance ministers, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, said:

Obviously I woke up this morning to the terrible news of this barbaric attack in Manchester. It is, as far as we know, a terrorist incident. We are treating it as such. My thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the people of Manchester. And I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have done a great job throughout the night and are continuing to work at the scene. The government’s emergency committee Cobra will be meeting in the next hour or so, and I shall attend the Ecofin meeting now and then return to London at lunchtime.

Hammond was due to give a speech to European business leaders but cancelled his plans.

Updated

The parents and friends of two girls from the Hebridean island of Barra, Laura MacIntyre and Eilidh MacLeod, both 15, have issued urgent appeals after they went missing after the Manchester attack.

Laura Macintyre’s father Micheal, who works for the fish farm multinational Marine Harvest, issued an urgent request for help to trace his daughter on Twitter .

Angus MacNeil, the Scottish National party MP for the Western Isles, knows the MacIntyres. He said his daughter had had sleepovers with Laura MacIntyre. MacNeil said he had spoken to the fathers of both girls this morning. “I just can’t begin to get to the depths of their worries,” he said. “They are without doubt missing.”

He said Eilidh MacLeod’s father was flying from Benbecula to Manchester while members of the MacIntyre family were also making their way to the city

Updated

Trump: ‘wicked ideology must be obliterated’

Here’s what Trump said in full:

I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed and the families – so many families of the victims.

We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom. So many young beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered 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. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are. They are losers. And we will have more of them. But they are losers, just remember that.

Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed, we cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people. And in today’s attack it was mostly innocent children. The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society for ever.

This wicked ideology must be obliterated and I mean completely obliterated, and the innocent life must be protected. All civilised nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right our citizens to live in safety and in peace.

Donald Trump speaks about the attack in Manchester, before his remarks alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
Donald Trump speaks about the attack in Manchester, before his remarks alongside the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Updated

Trump expresses solidarity with UK

Donald Trump has condemned the attack. Speaking in Bethlehem he said: “We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.”

He said those responsible for the attack were “losers” and “wicked”.

Updated

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has added to the international chorus of condolence for Britain.

These are from David Cameron, the former prime minister.

This is from Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister.

Melania Trump, the US first lady, has tweeted this.

The Manchester bombing was also condemned by senior Israeli political figures including the country’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I am sending condolences to the families of those murdered and wishes of a speedy recovery to the wounded,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Terrorism is a global threat and it is incumbent on the enlightened countries to defeat it everywhere.”

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog also offered his condolences. “A horrific attack in Manchester. My thoughts and condolences are with the British people, who I know will never be defeated by terror,” he writes on Twitter.

Updated

Merkel: ‘shoulder to shoulder with UK’

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has spoken of her sadness and shock.

“People in the UK can rest assured that Germany stands shoulder to shoulder with them.”

Many world leaders have sent messages of support to the UK.

Writing on Twitter, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said he is “pained by the attack in Manchester”.

The Indian president, Pranab Mukherjee, has also sent his condolences and prayers:

Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, says his thoughts are with the victims.

Updated

And flags are flying at half mast too outside the European commission HQ in Brussels.

Flags are flying at half mast over Downing Street.

Flags fly at half mast above Downing Street.
Flags fly at half mast above Downing Street.
Photograph: Lauren Hurley/PA

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, condemned the atrocity, writes Sam Jones in Madrid.

“My condolences to the families of the dead and my best wishes for the victims’ speedy recovery,” Rajoy said on Twitter.

The country’s foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, said he was distressed by the attack and offered “my solidarity to all the victims and the British people, and my total support to the government”.

Pedro Sánchez, the recently re-elected leader of Spain’s socialist party, said that his thoughts were with the victims and their families and called for “unity to stop so much fanaticism”.

In a statement, Spain’s foreign ministry said the country had been “horrified” by the attack.

“The government forcefully and unequivocally condemns these vile acts and hopes that those responsible will face justice for their crimes as swiftly as possible,” it said.

“The government, in the name of the Spanish people, sends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and reiterates its support and solidarity with the British people and authorities.

The ministry added that while there was so far nothing to suggest that any Spanish citizens had been injured or killed, its consulates in London and Edinburgh were in close contact with the British authorities.

Updated

Theresa May is chairing a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency committee, to discuss the Manchester attack this morning. It is due to start at 9am.

Here is Amber Rudd, the home secretary, arriving at Downing Street a few minutes ago for the meeting.

Amber Rudd arrives in Downing Street for a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency committee.
Amber Rudd arrives in Downing Street for a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency committee.
Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Updated

The Scottish Labour leader, Kezia Dugdale, has joined political leaders in suspending all general election campaigning, with the Scottish National party cancelling the launch this morning of its election manifesto.

Dugdale issued a statement on the Manchester attack to say:

“This is a barbaric and sickening attack, targeted at young and vulnerable people enjoying a night at a concert. It is a heartbreaking moment for our country, and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and with those who are injured.

Across the UK we are today grieving for the people of Manchester. I pay tribute to the dedication of the brave emergency service workers who ran into danger.

“We have all been moved by the actions of ordinary people who opened their doors, cared for scared youngsters, provided transport to concert-goers, and are giving blood at donor banks to help those injured. This great city is today demonstrating to the world the true spirit of Manchester.”

Updated

The Greens have confirmed that they are also suspending all election activities, among them the planned manifesto launch by the Welsh Greens. The party’s co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, said:

“Our thoughts are with those affected by this appalling incident in Manchester. For young people to be targeted in this way is utterly atrocious. As ever our emergency services have done us proud – and we pay tribute to the police, firefighters and paramedics who stepped up in this time of need. Our country will never be divided by terror.”

Updated

Security reviewed in London

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has confirmed that security is being reviewed and stepped up in the capital.

“I am in constant contact with the Metropolitan police, who are reviewing security arrangements in London. Londoners will see more police on our streets,” he said.

Updated

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has expressed his “horror” and “distress” at the Manchester attack. The Élysée Palace said Macron was planning to speak to Theresa May later today, writes Kim Willsher.

In a statement (see earlier) the recently elected French leader said he sent the British people France’s “compassion and sorrow” and pledged to continue working with Britain to fight terrorism.

France’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, condemned what he called “the most cowardly terrorism” that had “specifically and clearly” targeted young people going to a concert.

“In the face of this abominable crime, I would like to express to the citizens of Manchester and the British people, my sadness, the French people’s solidarity and unwavering friendship,” Philippe told AFP.

French government spokesman Christophe Castaner tweeted: “Once more attacked, our democracies must work together. My thoughts and solidarity go to the victims, their families and the British…”

Interior minister Gérard Collomb also Tweeted sympathy to Manchester. The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, wrote on Twitter: “Tonight Paris stands with Manchester”.

French-Canadian singer Céline Dion wrote: “Manchester, I am with you. All my love”.

Updated

A report of a suspicious package at Victoria coach station in London this morning was a false alarm, according to the Metropolitan police.

Armed police patrol near Victoria station this morning.
Armed police patrol near Victoria station this morning.
Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester city council, has spoken of the city’s determination to defeat terrorism. Speaking alongside Andy Burnham, Leese said:

“Our thought are with the families and friends of the victims. As a city we will have to take some time to grieve. We have to ensure that terrorism never wins so business as usual as much as possible, communities coming together – we will not allow this to divide us. As citizens of Manchester demonstrated last night, this city will pull together. A dark day but something that Manchester in its unique way will make sure we turn into a strength. We need to be alert but we must not be afraid.”

Updated

Jean-Claude Juncker
Jean-Claude Juncker
Photograph: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has given this statement:

It was with great sadness and profound shock that I learnt of the brutal attack that struck Manchester.

It breaks my heart to think that, once again, terrorism has sought to instil fear where there should be joy, to sow division where young people and families should be coming together in celebration.

I would like to convey my deepest sympathies to Prime Minister May and to the British people.

Today we mourn with you. Tomorrow we will work side by side with you to fight back against those who seek to destroy our way of life. They underestimate ours and your resilience – these cowardly attacks will only strengthen our commitment to work together to defeat the perpetrators of such vile acts.”

Updated

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has spoken of his horror and consternation at the attack. In a statement he offered his sympathies to the British people and promised that France and Britain would work together to combat terrorism. He also said he would speak to Theresa May later today.

Updated

The Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, was asked how the attack compared with the 7/7 attack in London in 2005. He said:

I was in the Home Office as a minister on that day, and I remember how London felt on that day. I remember it very vividly. London pulled together in exactly the same way that Manchester is its own unique way will pull together. We will stand strong, and stand together, that’s what we are. That’s what we do. So they won’t win. We are grieving, we are hurt today, but as I said we are strong. And this city has dealt with difficult days in the past and we do so now.

Burnham also confirmed that he would be taking part in the government’s emergency Cobra meeting via video-link from Manchester.

He said: “I will be heading over to Greater Manchester police force headquarters after this press call to take part in the Cobra meeting alongside the police constable. There will be a further update after that. We will work with the government to give the people the reassurance that they need, and to insure that, as far as possible, that we return to business as usual in the city.”

Steve Morris in Manchester has this footage of his statement.

Updated

What we know so far

  • Police have confirmed that 22 people have been killed – including some children – and 59 injured after an explosion at Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande.
  • Greater Manchester police say the perpetrator was a man acting alone, who died at the scene after detonating an improvised explosive device.
  • Investigators are trying to establish whether the bomber was part of a wider network.
  • The blast took place outside the arena, in the public foyer, shortly after 10.30pm, minutes after the concert ended.
  • No identities of those killed or injured have been confirmed. No arrests have been made. The wounded are receiving treatment in eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.
  • The prime minister, Theresa May, will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee at 9am today. In an overnight statement, May said:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

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

General Views of the Manchester Explosion, Manchester, UK - 23 May 2017Mandatory Credit: Photo by Seb Beeson/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock (8828051ar) General Views General Views of the Manchester Explosion, Manchester, UK - 23 May 2017
Emergency services at the scene of the explosion.
Photograph: SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock
  • Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon, Tim Farron, Leanne Wood and Paul Nuttall also expressed condolences. Campaigning for June’s general election has been suspended.
  • Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham called it “an evil act” that would not succeed in breaking the spirit of the city.
  • Ariana Grande, who was not hurt in the explosion, tweeted that she was:

“broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

  • A large area around the arena has been cordoned off. Victoria station has been closed and train services cancelled for the whole of Tuesday. Police have asked people to stay away from the area.
  • British Transport Police said extra officers, some armed, would be on patrol today.
  • Greater Manchester police have set up a hotline for those concerned about relatives or friends who might have been caught up in the Manchester explosion: 0161 856 9400.

Updated

The Lee Rigby Foundation, which offers support for bereaved families in memory of the soldier who was murdered by terrorists in 2013, has tweeted its shock and sorrow at last night’s attack.

Rigby was killed on 22 May 2013; the Manchester attack fell on the fourth anniversary of his death.

Updated

For some it sounded muffled and far away, as though somewhere in the distance a big balloon had popped. For others the terror was all too immediately apparent.

The lights had just come on and Ariana Grande had left the stage after concluding an elaborate three-hour, four-part entertainment extravaganza with an encore performance of her latest single, Dangerous Woman.

At 10.30pm following a sold-out show in the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, thousands of fans began to gather up their belongings and filter slowly out of four exits.

Then the bang.

For the first milliseconds, minds did not immediately connect the sound with an explosion or a bomb.

“It sounded like a big balloon popping, but it was kind of muffled, like it wasn’t in the stadium itself,” said a young Mancunian fan, identified as Sammy, in a video he recorded of his experience and posted on Periscope.

“There were a few screams, then there was silence. Then the whole arena literally split like the Red Sea – everyone was trampling over each other, sprinting to get to the nearest exit. It was like a scene out of a horror movie.”

The archbishop of Canterbury has tweeted his condolences to those affected:

The Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, has joined other parties in halting election campaigning:

The thoughts and sympathies of all of us in Plaid Cymru go out to all the people affected by last night’s horrific events in Manchester. We will be suspending our campaigning today as a mark of respect to all of the families.

Updated

Charlotte Campbell’s 15-year-old daughter, Olivia, is still missing after the concert. She spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, where she began by saying when she last talked to her daughter:

She was at the concert. She’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go. She was with her friend, Adam. Adam was found about half an hour ago – he’s in hospital – but Olivia’s not been found yet.

I’m at home phoning everybody: hospitals, police, the centres that the children have been put in. Her dad’s in Manchester looking for her. I’ve got friends looking for her. I’ve got people I don’t even know looking for her, people messaging me, saying we’ve got her photo, looking for her, we’ll get in contact if we see her. And I’m just hearing nothing. Her phone’s dead.

Social media has been wonderful. I don’t know what I’ve have done without them, it’s made it so aware that she’s missing. There’s thousands of people who now know she’s missing, there’s people out looking for her I don’t know, and I can’t thank these people enough, giving their time up.

They’ve basically told me to stay put and wait for a phone call. I daren’t leave the house just in case she somehow gets home.

Updated

Mayor Andy Burnham: ‘This was an evil act’

Andy Burnham, the new mayor of Greater Manchester, has been speaking in the city about the attack, which he describes as “an evil act”. He says his thoughts are with the victims, their families and friends:

We will do whatever we can to support them. We are grieving today but we are strong.

He also pays tribute to the emergency services:

I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked through the night … I want to thank the people of Manchester: even in the minutes after the attack they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger … It will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.

Burnham says he was a minister in the Home Office during the 7/7 attacks on London, which killed 52 people:

I remember how London felt on that day, I remember it vividly … Manchester will pull together … that’s what we are, that’s what we do. They won’t win. This city has dealt with difficult things in the past and we will do so now.

Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese speak to the media outside Manchester Town Hall.
Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese speak to the media outside Manchester Town Hall.
Photograph: Dave Higgens/PA

Updated

The explosion happened moments after the end of a concert at Manchester Arena by Ariana Grande.

Grande, who was not hurt in the blast, tweeted earlier that she was “broken” by news of the casualties:

The US president Donald Trump, on a visit to Israel, is being updated on the situation in Manchester, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has confirmed:

Updated

Key updates from the most recent police press conference:

  • The death toll has risen to 22.
  • Among the dead are children.
  • A further 59 people are injured and receiving treatment in eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.
  • Police believe the attack was carried out by one man, and are investigating if he was part of a wider network.
  • The man died at the scene after detonating an explosive device – a suicide bomber.

Updated

Police: full statement

Chief constable Ian Hopkins confirms that 22 people have died and a further 59 have been injured.

This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.

Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives. Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones. We continue to do all we can to support them. They are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.

This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester as they wake up to news of the events last night. This will include armed officers as people would expect. More than 400 officers have been involved in the operation during the night.

To remind you, we were called at 10.33pm to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert. More than 250 calls came in and emergency services were very quickly on scene. Emergency numbers have been established for anyone who is concerned for loved ones who may not have returned home: 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.

We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe that while the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.

The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.

We would ask people not to speculate on his details or to share names. There is a complex and wide-ranging investigation under way.

Our priority is to work with the national counter-terrorist policing network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the individual who carried out this attack.

Updated

Police: children have died

Hopkins confirms that children are among the 22 people confirmed to have died.

Police: sole attacker died at scene

Chief constable Ian Hopkins says the attacker died in the explosion.

He says that while police believe the man was acting alone in the attack last night, investigations are ongoing to establish if he was part of a network.

He says police believe the man was “carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated causing this atrocity”.

Death toll rises to 22

Greater Manchester police says 22 people have died, and 59 injured.

We are expecting an update shortly from Greater Manchester police’s chief constable, Ian Hopkins, which will be covered here as it happens.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, is also due to speak within the next hour, and we’ll have that on the live blog too.

Updated

Paul Nuttall, the Ukip leader who is also MEP for North West England, has confirmed that his party will also suspend its election campaigning. In a statement on Tuesday morning, Nuttall said:

Just woken to the terrible news in the heart of my constituency, Manchester. My prayers and thoughts are with those affected. Stay strong. In light of what’s happened I have suspended the Ukip general election campaign.

Other parties have already announced their intention to pause campaigning.

Updated

The leader of Manchester city council, Richard Leese, has said it is “impossible to imagine a worse night in the history of the city”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:

As the chief constable has said, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims, and those people who are still, in some cases, critically injured, in what is a truly appalling night.

City council staff had worked overnight with police, he said, “doing what we can” to help people in trouble. Leese continued:

I’ve heard lots of stories about how the broader Manchester community has opened up – free taxi rides, offers of accommodation, all the things that a good community will do to try and support in what is going to be the worst possible moment in their lives.

I think that has to be part of the story. It is a tragedy, the loss of life is truly appalling, but as a city, as a community, we will continue to pull together, and we will not allow ourselves to be beaten.

We don’t know what the cause is yet. Clearly there is lots of supposition taking place. But this is not something that we are going to allow to beat us as a Manchester community.

Manchester attack: eyewitnesses

In the aftermath of the attack in Manchester, witnesses spoke to Guardian reporters about the moments after the concert had finished, when a loud bang was heard by those inside the arena.

Majid Khan, 22, said:

A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena. It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.

Oliver Jones, 17, who attended with his 19-year-old sister, said:

The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.

People outside the concert were visibly upset, as a cacophony of sirens were heard as police and ambulance vehicles arrived at the scene.

Erin McDougle, 20, from Newcastle said:

There was a loud bang at the end of the concert. The lights were already on so we knew it wasn’t part of the show. At first we thought it was a bomb. There was a lot of smoke. People started running out. When we got outside the arena there were dozens of police vans and quite a few ambulances.

A group of young men from Sheffield said they had seen at least five people covered in blood and others being carried out by bouncers. One told the Guardian:

Ariana Grande had just gone behind the curtain and the lights came up when there was this massive bang and a big cloud of smoke. I saw five people with blood all down them.

Sophie Tedd, 25, from Darlington, said:

Everyone started screaming and we nearly got trampled on. There was a burning smell.

Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena
Concert goers react after fleeing the Manchester Arena
Photograph: Jon Super/Reuters

Updated

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, who will attend this morning’s emergency Cobra meeting, has added to the tributes to emergency services:

This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims who have been affected, and I know the whole country will share that view.

I’d like to pay tribute to the emergency services who have worked throughout the night professionally and effectively; they have done an excellent job.

Later on this morning I will be attending Cobra, chaired by the prime minister, to collect more information, to find out more, about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment.

The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police.

But I have two further things to add.

The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.

This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society. Its intention was to sow fear; its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives at Downing Street in central London ahead of an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd arrives at Downing Street in central London ahead of an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee.
Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

One of the missing concertgoers whose photograph is being widely shared on social media is Olivia Campbell, a teenager who attended the concert as part of a birthday present for her friend, Adam, who is also missing.

Her mother, Charlotte, told CNN she last spoke to her daughter around 8.30pm, several hours before the blast:

It’s the most horrible feeling ever to know your daughter is there and you can’t find her, and you don’t know if she’s dead or alive. I don’t know how people can do this to innocent children.

She said Adam and Olivia had “done nothing but talk about” the concert in the past few days:

They’re normal teenage children who were going to see their favourite artist and it’s ended in absolute carnage.

Updated

All election campaigning suspended

Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that Labour will join the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and SNP in suspending campaigning for the 8 June general election.

In a statement this morning, the Labour leader says:

I am horrified by the horrendous events in Manchester last night. My thoughts are with family and friends of those who have died and been injured. Today the whole country will grieve for the people who have lost their lives.

I have spoken with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, who has fully briefed me on the operational response in the city.

I would like to pay tribute to the emergency services for their bravery and professionalism in dealing with last night’s appalling events.

I have spoken with the prime minister and we have agreed that all national campaigning in the general election will be suspended until further notice.

Updated

What we know so far

  • At least 19 people have been killed and around 5o injured after an explosion at Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande.
  • Investigators say they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack “until police know otherwise”.
  • The blast was reported to have taken place outside the arena, in the public foyer, shortly after 10.30pm. North West ambulance services said 60 ambulances were dispatched to the arena, with 59 people transferred to six hospitals across Greater Manchester, and a number of “walking wounded” treated at the scene.
  • No identities of those killed or injured have been confirmed. No arrests have been made.
  • The prime minister, Theresa May, will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee at 9am on Tuesday. In an overnight statement, May said:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

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

  • Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon and Tim Farron also expressed condolences. Campaigning for June’s general election has been suspended.
  • Ariana Grande, who was not hurt in the explosion, which occurred just moments after her show finished, tweeted that she was

“broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

  • A large area around the arena has been cordoned off. Victoria station has been closed and train services cancelled for the whole of Tuesday. Police have asked people to stay away from the area.
  • British Transport Police said extra officers, some armed, would be on patrol today.
  • Greater Manchester police has set up a hotline for those concerned about relatives or friends who might have been caught up in the Manchester explosion: 0161 856 9400.

CCTV, China’s state broadcaster, is reporting that Chinese president Xi Jinping has sent a message to the Queen expressing his “sincere condolences” to those killed and injured in the explosion in Manchester and to their families.

“The Chinese people are firmly standing together with the British people at this difficult time,” Xi told the Queen, according to a brief announcement by the channel.

Updated

Health workers visiting Manchester have offered to pitch in to help care for those injured in an explosion at a concert in the city, Press Association reports:

NHS staff attending a conference in the city offered support to local hospitals treating the wounded.

North West Ambulance NHS Trust sent 60 ambulances to the scene of the suspected terror attack. It said 59 casualties had been taken to nearby hospitals and a number of walking wounded were treated at the scene.

Greater Manchester police said that the injured were being treated at six local hospitals.

Kirsty Withers, a theatre clinical manager at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) NHS Foundation Trust, offered assistance to Manchester Royal Infirmary online, writing: “We are visiting for a health conference from morecambe bay trust tomorrow 3 Theatre ODPs available if needed.”

Stuart Hosking-Durn, an emergency preparedness, resilience and response professional with UHMB, also used Twitter to offer help, posting: “do you need extra hands, we have staff in Manchester, have ID and can attend.”

Mancunian GP Faizan Awan tweeted: “If you need any help doing clinical work either on wards or minors, let me know. Can be with you in 10 minutes.”

Updated

A reminder that Greater Manchester police has set up a hotline for those concerned about relatives or friends who might have been caught up in the Manchester explosion.

It is 0161 856 9400.

Police are also encouraging anyone who needs assistance in the area to find officers at the Etihad Stadium:

Updated

World leaders have reacted with horror to the news that the incident is a suspected terror attack.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, said:

This incident, this attack, is especially vile especially criminal, especially horrific because it appears to have been deliberately directed at teenagers. This is an attack on innocence. Surely there is no crime more reprehensible than the murder of children. This is a direct and brutal attack on young people everywhere, on freedom everywhere.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has tweeted:

Bill English, the prime minister of New Zealand, said:

People have lost their young ones in this. So our condolences go out to any families who have suffered from this … It is devastating for parents if their young ones go off to entertainment, no one expects them to lose their lives in such a cruel and unpredictable way.

Assistant chief constable Robin Smith of the British Transport Police (BTP) says extra officers, including armed officers, will be visible today in the wake of the Manchester explosion:

As the public would expect in response to an incident such as this, extra BTP officers will be on patrol at key railway stations as well as on trains around the country. Throughout the day, commuters can expect to see additional officers on their journey. This will include both armed and unarmed officers.

My officers are there to reassure concerned members of the public and we’d ask people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour by calling the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 123.

Until known otherwise, police are treating this as a terrorist incident. Incidents such as this will undoubtedly shock the nation, however, it is essential we stand together in unity against those who try to disrupt our lives.

Manchester Victoria station remains closed, with services being heavily disrupted or suspended, we continue to urge people to avoid the area whilst the recovery efforts continue. We advise morning commuters to check with Transport for Greater Manchester, National Rail Enquiries and Northern before travelling.

Here are those links:

The map shows the location of Manchester Arena; Victoria station, which is adjacent to the venue, remains closed with all trains services cancelled throughout Tuesday.

Manchester explosion map

Updated

Our latest report is here; these are the key developments:

At least 19 people have been killed and 50 injured after what is being investigated as a suspected suicide bombing of a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade.

The horror unfolded at around 10.30pm on Monday at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande, whose music is popular with children and teenagers.

The attack, which took place in the foyer area of the arena, left hundreds of people fleeing in terror, with young people at the concert separated from their parents in the chaos. It left carnage inside the concert venue, with medics describing treating wounds consistent with shrapnel injury.

Initial examination of the scene around the explosion has prompted police to investigate whether a suicide bomber was responsible, the Guardian understands.

The hunt for those behind the attack involves the police counter-terrorism network and Britain’s domestic security service MI5.

If confirmed as a terrorist attack the death toll would make it the worst event of its kind in Britain since the 7/7 bombing in 2005, which hit London’s transport network, killing 52 people.

This brief video explainer sets out what we know so far about the explosion that has killed 19 people:

What we know so far about the Manchester Arena attack

Our North of England editor is at Manchester Royal infirmary, where some of the wounded are being treated:

MRI accident and emergency department is in “complete lockdown” according to staff. “It’s a crime scene,” said one, pointing to police forensics officers who are going in and out of the hospital with clear plastic evidence bags.

Police officers are guarding the doors, behind two red signs saying “major incident – no entry”. As ambulances began to arrive around midnight, staff cleared A&E of all patients unconnected to the Arena blast.

Throughout the night relatives have arrived to see if their loved ones are here. Some have found them. Others get back in their car or taxi and check the next hospital.

MANCHESTER, 23 May 2017 - A fleet of ambulances arriving at Manchester Victoria railway station and arena where two suspected bomb explosions are reported to have killed at least 19 concert goers as they left a performance by Ariana Grande. Christopher Thomond for The Guardian.
Ambulances arriving at Manchester Arena on Monday night.
Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

The Scottish National party was due to unveil its election manifesto on Tuesday; this has now been postponed.

SNP leader and Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon will instead chair a meeting of the devolved government’s resilience committee.

A statement from the first minister said:

My thoughts are with the victims, their families and all those who have been affected by this barbaric attack in Manchester.

The Scottish government is working with Police Scotland and the UK government to ensure that we have a full understanding of the developing situation.

I will convene a meeting of the Scottish government’s resilience committee this morning to receive an update and to consider any implications for Scotland.

Police say they are currently treating the explosion as a suspected terrorist attack.

If it is terrorism, it would be the deadliest attack in the UK since the 7 July 2005 bombings in London in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people, as well as themselves, on three underground trains and a bus.

In March this year, Khalid Masood killed five people in Westminster before being shot dead by a police officer.

North West ambulance services says 60 ambulances attended Manchester Arena in the wake of the blast.

It previously confirmed that 59 people were taken to hospitals across Greater Manchester, with some “walking wounded” treated at the scene.

Police have said that 19 people are confirmed to have died, with around 50 injured.

Ariana Grande: ‘I don’t have words’

The explosion happened moments after the end of a concert at Manchester Arena by Ariana Grande.

Grande, who was not hurt in the blast, has now tweeted that she is “broken” by news of the casualties:

Ariana Grande’s manager Scooter Braun has said “our hearts are broken” following the suspected terrorist attack that took place after her concert at Manchester Arena:

Updated

Residents of Manchester have mobilised in the hours after the attack, with offers of help for stranded and injured concertgoers flooding Twitter.

Victoria train station was closed in the wake of the incident, and was expected to remain closed throughout Tuesday, leaving many people stuck in the city centre without a way home. As many as 21,000 people – many of whom were children and teenagers – were at the concert.

Using the trending hashtag #roomformanchester, locals offered spare bedrooms, cups of tea and rides to people caught up in the attack.

Taxi drivers reportedly converged on the city offering free lifts to people in need.

Many people have yet to locate family and friends not seen since the concert. I’ve just spoken to a family from the Philippines searching without success for a missing loved one at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The 17-year-old girl, who asked not to be named, said she was looking for her mum, last seen in the post-explosion chaos. She and her auntie were with two Mancunian women searching local hospitals. They know her mum’s boyfriend was injured and has been located, but the mum is missing.

They asked not to be named in case they worried family back home. But the teenager said: “When the concert ended we heard a really big explosion, there was smoke coming out.”

Eyewitness Joe Gregory posted footage on Twitter that appears to show the explosion in the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande. Gregory said he had been waiting outside the arena for his girlfriend, who was attending the concert.

Dashcam footage apparently shows Manchester explosion

Greater Manchester chief constable: full statement

Here is the full update from Greater Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins:

I can confirm the details of events tonight that we currently know. At around 10.33pm last night we received reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena in the city centre. It was at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

Currently we have 19 people confirmed to have died and around 50 people injured.

The injured are being treated at six hospitals across Greater Manchester. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected and we are doing all we can to support them.

Officers from GMP and emergency services are working at the scene and are supporting those affected. We are coordinating the response from GMP headquarters.

An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area. It is 0161 856 9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise. We are working closely with the national counter-terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners.

This is clearly a concerning time for people but we are doing all we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected and gather information about what has happened tonight. As you will understand, we are still receiving information and updates, so will provide more details when we have a clearer picture.

I want to thank people for their support and would ask them to remain vigilant and if they have any concerns report them in confidence to us on the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789321.

It is important people avoid the area so that we can effectively deal with the incident.

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
Armed police officers near the Manchester Arena.
Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Updated

The US department of homeland security has issued a statement saying it is “closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena” and that there could be “increased security” in public places and music events in the US:

We are working with our foreign counterparts to obtain additional information about the cause of the reported explosion as well as the extent of injuries and fatalities.

US citizens in the area should heed direction from local authorities and maintain security awareness. We encourage any affected US citizens who need assistance to contact the US embassy in London and follow department of state guidance.

At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues in the United States. However, the public may experience increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.

We stand ready to assist our friends and allies in the UK in all ways necessary as they investigate and recover from this incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this incident.

The North West ambulance service says it has taken 59 casualties from Manchester Arena to hospitals across the city.

It says it also treated “a number of walking wounded on scene”.

Police press conference

Greater Manchester police is holding an update to brief the press and public on the incident.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins says reports were received at 10.33pm of an explosion.

He says 19 people have died, with a further 50 people injured and being treated at hospitals across Greater Manchester.

He says an emergency number has been set up for those worried about loved ones: 0161 856 9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information …

This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. We are doing all that we can.

He says police are working with other officials to investigate the circumstances of the explosion.

He asks people to avoid the area around the arena while the investigation is ongoing.

With campaigning for June’s general election understandably suspended, politicians have been responding to the events in Manchester.

Home secretary Amber Rudd said:

My thoughts are with all those affected by this barbaric act. The full details of exactly what happened are still emerging, but I am proud of the police and first responders who reacted to this tragic incident so swiftly.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted:

Steve Rotheram, the Liverpool city region metro mayor, said his daughters had been at the venue:

Police said they were dealing with a possible terror incident at the Manchester Arena, with witnesses claiming to have heard an explosion around 10.40pm.

Sources said the the initial theory was that a suicide bomber was behind the suspected explosion, which took place as revellers, many young, were leaving. It was feared the casualty toll may rise.

Counter-terrorism officials were assessing what caused the explosion. Officers from the police and the domestic security service MI5 were part of the investigation.

The prime minister, Theresa May, will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee on Tuesday morning.

A statement from 10 Downing Street confirmed that police are currently treating the incident at Manchester Arena as an “appalling terrorist attack”.

Some very poignant observations from reporters at the scene. Many of those at the concert were children and teenagers.

What we know so far

We are awaiting a fresh update from Greater Manchester police. In the meantime, here is what has been verified:

  • At least 19 people have been killed and around 5o injured after an explosion at Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande.
  • The blast was reported to have taken place outside the arena, in the public foyer, shortly after 10.30pm.
  • Investigators say they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack “until police know otherwise”.
  • No identities of those killed or injured have been confirmed.
  • A large area around the arena has been cordoned off. Victoria station has been closed and train services cancelled.
  • A controlled explosion carried out by police in nearby Cathedral gardens turned out not to be suspicious.
  • Prime minister Theresa May said:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

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

  • Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron also expressed condolences. Campaigning for June’s general election has been suspended.

Our North of England editor is at a hospital where the wounded are being treated:

I’ve just spoken to 17-year-old Ellie Ward with her mother outside Manchester Royal Infirmary. Her 64-year-old grandad was caught in the blast while waiting for her and her friend to come out of the concert. They said he was in the corridor by the merchandise stand in the tunnels underneath the tiered seating when he was hit by falling glass.

Ellie said after visiting him:

He’s OK but he’s cut his cheek, they said he had severed an artery. A lot of glass shattered on him.

He said only realised what had happened when he felt the side of his head and it was bleeding. He was underneath the seats, by the merchandise, waiting for us to come out when we heard a massive shudder. We knew something was wrong.

Theresa May statement

The prime minister has responded with a statement:

We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

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

Police at the scene say there are still a lot of people in the area – the capacity of Manchester Arena is 21,000.

Buses have been pressed into service to ferry people out of the area; some local taxi companies are also offering free rides for those affected. Rail services have been cancelled.

Updated

The security minister, Ben Wallace, has called for vigilance. He calls the incident an attack; police have said they are treating it as possible terrorism, but we are waiting for confirmation.

Wallace said:

In the light of the attack in Manchester tonight, please be vigilant and if you see anything suspicious call the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789123.

My thoughts are with all the victims of the incident tonight and our emergency services who are out there tending wounded and keeping us safe.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has tweeted his condolences:

Facebook has activated its safety check for people who are at or near the arena to let family and friends know they are safe.

Elena Semino, from Lancaster, was with her husband waiting for her daughter by the arena’s ticket office when the explosion went off. She has a wound on her neck and her leg is bleeding. She hasn’t been seen by a doctor yet as her priority was finding her daughter – which she now has.

“My husband and I were standing against the wall, luckily, and all of a sudden there was this thing. I can’t even describe it. There was this heat on my neck and when I looked up there were bodies everywhere.”

Her husband stayed behind to help an injured woman and has a minor injury. She ran to find her daughter in the auditorium.

Semino’s 17-year-old daughter Natalie and her friends said the performance had just come to an end when the explosion went off. “It went off and then there was a moment’s silence and then there were screams,” says Megan Ryder, 19. They say security guards initially tried to calm them down, saying it was a popped balloon or a technical difficulty.

E Police Respond To An Incident At Manchester ArenaMANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Emergency services at Victoria Railway Station, close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Emergency services at Victoria railway station.
Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Here’s a video in which it’s possible to hear the controlled explosion carried out by Greater Manchester police on a suspicious device in Cathedral gardens, just minutes from the arena. Police have since confirmed that the item was abandoned clothing and now not thought to be suspicious.

#RoomForManchester appears to have emerged on social media as the hashtag people are rallying around. It is an offer of spaces to stay the night for those who were at the concert who can’t easily get home.

Transport away from the area will be difficult, because Manchester Arena is right next to Manchester Victoria station, which, due to ongoing emergency service activity, has been closed.

More eyewitness reports from our north of England reporter. The Guardian is not publishing the names of children involved:

One 16-year-old boy says he and his two friends had come from Lincoln for this evening’s show. They were sat next to the stage when they heard explosions as the performance came to an end. “A lot of people are saying that there were two explosions, but we all heard three,” he says.
“It sounded like a gun shot. At first we thought it as a balloon, but then we felt the vibrations and stuff so we realised it wasn’t a balloon. Our parents heard the explosion from [their] hotel.”
A 15-year-old girl tells the Guardian: “There were people falling over the chairs trying to get away and when we were running out we saw blood up the walls.”

Here is Tuesday’s Guardian front page, reporting the news that 19 people have been killed:

Greater Manchester police are warning people not to be alarmed as officers carry out a controlled explosion:

A statement from Manchester Arena says the incident took place outside the venue – earlier reports had suggested it happened in the foyer. It’s very common for details to be conflicting in the immediate aftermath of an incident like this; we will confirm as soon as we can.

The statement reads:

We can confirm there was an incident as people were leaving the Ariana Grande show last night.

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

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.

Full police statement

Greater Manchester police have confirmed that 19 people have died and around 50 are injured:

Just before 10.35pm on Monday 22 May 2017, police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena.

So far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured.

This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.

Manchester suspected terror incident: what we know so far

Here’s a summary of what we know so far after the incident in Manchester this evening:

  • Police have confirmed that at least 19 people have been killed in a suspected terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
  • Officers said a further 50 were injured.
  • One explosion was reported to have hit the foyer of the building at about 10:30pm, British Transport police said.
  • Manchester Arena said the incident took place “outside the venue in a public space”.
  • Multiple witnesses said they heard an explosion, with one telling the Guardian the blast shook the building.

19 people have died, police confirm

Police treating as possible terrorist attack

The North West counter-terrorism unit has said it is treating the incident as a possible terrorist attack.

Our north of England reporter is at the scene:

I’m on Trinity Way, just around the corner from the arena. All roads into this part of the city have been blocked off, but there is still a small group of members of the public watching the police vans driving in and out. Some are wearing pyjamas and live in apartments in the area. They said they were woken by loud bangs of what they presumed were bombs going off.

There are armed police standing by the corner of the road leading to the arena entrance and a bomb disposal van drove through the cordon about half an hour ago.

Small groups of people who appear to have been at the concert have been emerging wrapped in blankets. One woman was shaking uncontrollably.

I’m picking up the live blog and we will continue to have rolling updates throughout the night.

So far we know from Greater Manchester police that an unspecified number of people have been killed after what officers are calling a “serious incident” at the Manchester Arena, at the close of a concert by Ariana Grande.

We will continue to have verified developments here.

The ambulance service have warned people only to call “for life threatening emergencies” and said a “large number of resources” were at the incident.

A barman at the nearby Steven Charles Snooker Club, who gave his name to the Press Association as Tyler, said he saw people lying on the ground covered in blood.

We’ve had a few people in with panic attacks and in all kinds of disarray. 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.

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.

British Transport police officers are among those responding to the incident at Manchester Arena, following reports of an explosion within the foyer area of the arena at 10.30pm this evening.

Emergency services are at the scene and we are working to establish more information regarding the explosion and will provide further updates as soon as possible.

Updated

Jade Baynes, 18, from Hull, was told to run from the area by armed police after leaving the concert arena. She said she heard loud bangs and what sounded like gunshots just after the entertainment had finished.

There were just a loud bang and a flash and everyone tried to scramble out. An alarm came on telling everyone to stay calm but leave as quickly as possible.

Jade and her friend Jasmine Mia, 21, also from Hull, said there appeared to be some sort of commotion in the first tier of the arena, with a number of stewards stood around the seats.

Armed police have now swamped the streets around the arena and police are moving members of the public away from the area.

Armed police at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig.
Armed police at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig.
Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Updated

Greater Manchester police say that details of a casualty bureau will be available soon. We’ll share them as soon as we get them.

Ambulances head towards arena

Footage showed lines of ambulances heading towards the venue, while a witness, Suzy Mitchell, said it appeared the main surrounding road had been closed.

Oliver Jones, 17, was at the concert with his 19-year-old sister.

I was in the toilet and heard a loud bang just after the concert had finished and people had started to leave.

The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run. I seen people running and screaming towards one direction and then many were turning around to run back the other way.

Security was running out as well as the fans and concert goers. Reports of blood and people injured.

In so much shock and panic. You see this on the news all the time and never expect it to happen to you. I just had to run and make sure me and my sister were safe.

Updated

Erin McDougle, 20, from Newcastle said: “There was a loud bang at the end of the concert. The lights were already on so we knew it wasn’t part of the show. At first we thought it was a bomb. There was a lot of smoke. People started running out. When we got outside the arena there were dozens of police vans and quite a few ambulances.”

A group of young men from Sheffield said they had seen at least five people covered in blood and others being carried out by bouncers. “Ariana Grande had just gone behind the curtain and the lights came up when there was this massive bang and a big cloud of smoke. I saw five people with blood all down them,” said one.

Sophie Tedd, 25, from Darlington, said the noise and smoke seemed to come from the tiered seating stage right. “We were sitting on that side then suddenly there was this big bang in the block next to us. Everyone started screaming and we nearly got trampled on. There was a burning smell.”

Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena
Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena
Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Updated

‘Number of fatalities’ in Manchester incident

Police in Manchester confirm that an as-yet unspecified number of people have been killed in Manchester, as well as other injured.

My colleague, Helen Pidd, is at the scene. She sends these updates:

Majid Khan, 22, was also at the concert when the incident happened. He said:

I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were 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.

It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit Trinity Way and that was blocked so everyone was just running to any exit they could find as quickly as they could.

Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.

Updated

Suzy Mitchell, 26, whose flat is opposite the venue, reported a huge bang rocking the neighbourhood. She told the Press Association:

(I) just heard a huge bang from my bed, came out to the front of my apartments (we’re on the top floor so have perfect view) and everyone was running away in big crowds.

The bang was so big I heard it from my room which is at the back of the apartment blocks. Currently lots of emergency services going to and from. But can’t see anything substantial as of yet except fleeing people and lots of cars.

Police in Manchester have responded to a “serious incident” at the city’s arena, amid unconfirmed reports online of an explosion.

Greater Manchester police warned people to stay away from Manchester Arena while they dealt with the issue. Officers did not release any further details on what has happened. A concert by Ariana Grande was being staged at the time.

Hannah Dane, who was at the concert, told the Guardian there was “quite a loud explosion heard from inside the Manchester arena and it shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out”.

She added: “As we got outside, lots of police came racing towards the area and the whole of the Victoria train station was surrounded by police.” She said there were people “screaming and crying everywhere shouting that there’s a bomb and also people were saying there’s a shooter”.

Dane added that police were “blocking off roads in the area. There are sirens zooming everywhere.”

Updated

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Myrddin Gwynedd

Myrddin Gwynedd

Journalism Tutor at NZ Radio Training School
Myrddin Gwynedd is an award-winning writer who hails from Wales. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his partner and an army of felines.
Myrddin Gwynedd

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