22 People have died as a result of a terrorist attack which took place on the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017, at Manchester Arena at roughly 10:33pm at an Ariana Grande concert to mark her ‘Dangerous Woman’ tour coming to the UK.
Among the dead are children: 18 year old Georgina Callander is reported to have died in a Manchester hospital with her mother by her side following the explosion, the second confirmed victim is 8 year old Saffie Rose Roussos who attended the concert with family, according to the BBC.
It has been reported that Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack, after suspicious posts on social media in the early hours of this morning were uploaded to social media platform, Twitter. The man who detonated the bomb in the foyer of the busy arena died at the scene, and police are investigating whether the perpetrator worked alone.
This comes after ISIS called for ‘lone wolf’ attacks to be perpetrated by those within the Western World who share their ideologies, without having any direct orders from ISIS as an organisation. Previous lone wolf attacks include the Nice and Germany attacks using vehicles as deadly weapons.
Social Media Used As ISIS’ Propaganda Machine:
Following the attack on Monday evening, by the early hours of this morning various social media accounts were condemning the attack, but some were supportive and encouraging of the terrorist attack which brutally ended 22 lives prematurely, as well as injuring many more.
At 2:37am on 23rd May 2017, a Twitter profile uploaded a video of a male with a distorted voice wearing a headscarf which covered his face, talking about the fatal Manchester attack. At the conclusion of the video which shows the man sitting in front of a black flag covered in Arabic writing, he holds up a handwritten piece of paper which reads: ‘Manchester 2017 – 05 – 22’.
The video has since been removed, and message displays ‘Tweet unavailable at this time’, after Let’s Talk About Magazine informed Greater Manchester Police of the existence of the video in the early hours of the morning.
A printscreen of a Tweet put out at 3:24pm on Monday 22nd May 2017 (prior to the attack) has been circulating throughout social media including Instagram, although it’s validity has not been officially confirmed.
The Tweet shows the Islamic State flag, alongside the hashtag #manchesterarena. The account which posted this Tweet has been suspended, and Greater Manchester Police informed.
Witnesses & Statements
*Some images and recollections which you are about to read/see may be distressing*
Witnesses and victims of the attack have been giving statements throughout the night, whilst others shared their harrowing experiences using social media to inform their loved ones they were safe. Many used Facebook’s ‘check in’ feature to mark themselves as ‘safe’ limiting the numbers of worried friends and family calling hospitals in search for their loved ones.
One witness told Let’s Talk About Magazine: “I’m still very much shaken about the situation. I’m truly devastated about the events. I just don’t know what to say”. The witness who wishes to remain anonymous seemed to still be suffering from the shock of the situation.
Another witness described to us what fleeing Manchester arena was like the moment the bomb exploded in the main foyer:”We were just leaving when it went off behind us. People began running and falling over, it was awful”.
Various witnesses have spoken about the numbers of people scrambling to evacuate the arena in the moments following the initial blast, with videos from within the arena showing chaos and panic as concertgoers scream in fear and fight for a way to escape the arena.
If you have any information on the attack, or saw something suspicious in the hours leading up to the attack please contact Greater Manchester Police on: 0161 872 5050
If you were involved in the attack as a witness or victim then please contact the police to give a statement, there are many hotlines available for those effected which I will be posting tonight.
Updates will be posted as available.