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23rd May 2017

A day that shocked the world: what we know so far about Manchester

Orlaith Condon

It’s been a truly heartbreaking day.

The news of an explosion in Manchester broke last night, with reports circulating of many injuries and suspected casualties.

The attack took place at around 10.30pm during Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour in the Manchester Arena with roughly 21,000 people in attendance.

By now we know that the explosion claimed the lives of at least 22 people with 59 others injured and receiving treatment in hospitals across the city.

Video footages of thousands of terrified people fleeing from the venue following the explosion, which seems to have taken place in the foyer, was soon circulating online.

The tragedy is being described as the UK’s worst terrorist attack since the London bombings almost 12 years ago.

The hashtag #MissingInManchester was quickly trending online with family members of concert-goers sharing images of their missing loved ones in the hopes of being reunited.

The Irish Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Mulhall, said in a statement:

“Horrified by what’s happened in Manchester. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy.”

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs also said he was ‘not aware’ of any Irish citizens caught up in the attack, but confirmed he was monitoring the situation closely.

Police have since identified the suicide bomber as Salman Abedi, a British man of Libyan origin.

It is being reported that 22-year-old Abedi was apparently working on behalf of ISIS after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack online.

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, said in a statement:

“The priority is to establish whether Abedi 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.”

Police identified the first victim as 18-year-old Georgina Bethany Callander.

They later identified eight-year-old Saffie Rose as another victim of the attack. From Lancashire, northwest England, Saffie was attending the concert with her mother and older sister, who are being treated in hospital for their injuries.

Twenty-six-year-old John Atkinson has also been identified by police.

Blood-donations centres in the city have said there has been a surge of people lining up to donate as well as those willing to volunteer to help.

Thousands are now gathered in the city in front of Manchester Town Hall for a vigil for the all those who lost their lives and were injured in the bombing.