Woolwich

Manchester Arena bombing: Everything we know about the suicide attack that killed at least 22 people

Children are among at least 22 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

Families were leaving a concert by pop singer Ariana Grande when the blast ripped through the foyer leading to Victoria station at around 10.35pm on Monday.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, which is being treated as a terrorist incident by police.

Follow the latest updates on our live blog here

What happened?

Police were called to reports of an explosion shortly after the end of Grande’s concert at 10.33pm, as thousands of fans streamed out of Manchester Arena.

Witnesses described being thrown through the air by a powerful blast that left nuts and bolts across the floor.

Chris Parker, a rough sleeper who was in the foyer at the time, said: “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.”

The 33-year-old saw one girl whose legs had been blown off, and attempted to comfort a woman in her 60s who died of severe injuries in his arms.

Concert goers still inside the arena described mass panic at the blast echoed through the venue.

"A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena,” said Majid Khan, 22.

"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.”

Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said investigators believe the attack was carried out by a lone suicide bomber “carrying” a homemade device.

“The priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network,” he added.

“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.”

More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with responders including 60 ambulances flooding the area alongside more than 400 police officers.

Who was behind it?

Police have identified the perpetrator but said it was too early in the investigation to publicly release his name.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack, hailing a "soldier of the caliphate” but suggesting he did not die in the blast.

The group has been periodically releasing detailed guidance on how to carry out terror attacks on “disbelievers” in countries targeting its militants in Syria and Iraq.

The most recent edition of its Rumiyah propaganda magazine listed concert halls among “ideal target locations” for attacks.

Analysts have warned that the group may increasingly turn to “soft targets” with large crowds, as seen in Westminster, Stockholm, Nice and Berlin, rather than protected areas with a high security presence.

Explosive devices using homemade triacetone triperoxide (TATP) have become a signature of the group’s largest European attacks in Paris and Brussels, and has been discovered in several foiled plots.

The Manchester attack took place on the fourth anniversary of the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, which was inspired by al-Qaeda propaganda on avenging civilian casualties in the Middle East.

How many people have been killed?

Police have confirmed at least 22 dead and 59 injured, including 12 children, although the toll could rise as victims remain in hospital and recovery work continues.

Officials have not yet publicly identified any of the victims, amid online appeals for information on dozens of missing people.

Among those killed is eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who was at the concert with her mother and sister, and 18-year-old Georgiana Callander from Manchester.

They were originally one of dozens of children and teenagers who had not been heard of since the explosion.

They include Laura MacIntyre, 15, and Eilidh MacLeod, 14, both from the Scottish island of Barra, Olivia Campbell, 15, Martyn Hett, 29, Chloe Rutherford, 17, Liam Curry, 19,Courtney Boyle, Philip Tron, Angelika and Marcin Klis and Wendy Falwell.

Facebook activated a safety check feature so that people can let their family and friends know they are safe, as the Twitter hashtag #MissingInManchester was used to track appeals.

Police have established a help centre at the Etihad Stadium, access Gate 11, for anyone who needs assistance in tracing loved ones.

Emergency numbers have been established for anyone who is concerned for loved ones on 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.

Police have also appealed for concert-goers and witnesses to provide them with any footage they have from the scene if they believe it can assist the probe.

To report any concerns about suspicious activity, call the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

What have police said?

Greater Manchester Police have urged people to stay away from a large cordon around Manchester Arena and Victoria station while investigations continue.

They are working with the National Counter Terrorist Policing Network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the bomber.

Scotland Yard has put extra officers on duty in London in the wake of the Manchester bombing, including armed personnel.

It came exactly two months after the Westminster attack, by Isis-inspired extremist Khalid Masood.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick condemned the attack as “utterly appalling”, adding: “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.”

How have politicians reacted?

All general election campaigning has been suspended ahead of the 8 June vote as a mark of respect to the victims, with flags flying at half-mast across the UK.

Theresa May held a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee following the “callous terrorist attack” on Tuesday morning.

“While we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best,” she said, condemning the attacker’s “cowardice”.

The Prime Minister said it was among the "worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom”, adding that police and security services were working to establish the full picture.

Andy Burnham, the Labour politician and mayor of Manchester, condemned the “evil act”.

“It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours, and to put into words the shock, anger, and hurt that we feel today,” he added.

"These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.”

Mr Burnham urged Mancunians to “come together” following the atrocity, praising the actions of volunteers who have opened their homes to victims, flooded to blood banks and given families free rides around Manchester.

He announced a vigil to be held on Tuesday evening in Manchester’s Albert Square.

The Muslim Council of Britain described the attack as “horrific” and “criminal”.

“May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next,” said secretary general Harun Khan.

Global politicians have been sending their condolences, including Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, Xi Jinping and Angela Merkel.

Speaking during a press conference in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Donald Trump called the perpetrators “evil losers”.

How have musicians reacted?

Ariana Grande, who had left the stage shortly before the explosion, tweeted that she was “broken”, adding: “From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

Musicians and celebrities across the globe voiced their shock.

Taylor Swift sent her “thoughts, prayers and tears”, while David Beckham said his thoughts were with all those affected.

Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Harry Styles, Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, Boy George and Lorde also sent their condolences, while Liam Gallagher tweeted that he is “in total shock and absolutely devastated”.

Peter Hook, of Manchester bands New Order and Joy Division, said that daughter “made it home safe” from concert, adding: “My heart goes out to all parents & those involved. Manchester stay strong.”

It's sad when Tumblr is meant to be a place of understanding, logic and intellectual tolerance...

But when you go into the Woolwich tag, you just see more racism.

Not all Christians are extremist Catholics who condemn gays to the fiery pits of Hell and think people who have AIDS deserve to die slowly and painfully… Just as Muslims aren’t all crazy terrorists who live in the days of the Crusades and wage war on any sense of patriotism.

Being British and being a Muslim cannot be compared. One is a citizenship, the other is a religion. And I, as well as many others, are both.

I don’t think what happened to that man is at all alright and as a soldier - but more importantly, as a man, as a human being - he should be mourned with respect.

But to sit here and make racist slurs against an entire religion because of extremist’s actions?! Should we all condemn Germans for Hitler’s role in the Holocaust? Should we hate all people of the Jewish faith because of Gaza? Should we hate all Americans for the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, or hate all Irish patriots for the IRA, or hate all Hindus, or Buddhists, because of India and China’s recent economic growth?

No. Because that would be ignorant of us.

It’s sad when you realize not even a supposed “safe place”, like Tumblr, is a safe place.

TUMBLR SIGNAL BOOST NEEDED - London murder leads to anxiety about reaction of fringe groups

Today London has been rocked by the horrific murder of a man believed to be a soldier in a “Help For Heroes” t-shirt (an organisation which helps UK soldiers upon their return from war). He was brutally murdered by individuals claiming to be on a jihad. The whole of the UK has been rocked by these actions and extends its deepest sympathies to the family of the innocent man.

A far-right vigilante group Called the English Defence league is trying to stir up tensions in South East London. The EDL operate on easy victimisation of “non-British-natives” by inciting racial and religious hatred. for more please check out this page EDL WIKIPEDIA PAGE

The latest news reports are saying the the London Metropolitan Police are containing groups of EDL supporters who are trying to start a riot like the ones seen 2 years ago. 

If you have muslim or black friends and neighbours in SE London please call them to check they are OK, but don’t go out into the streets.

Beware of Facebook groups that say they want to remember the fallen soldier, as many have been set up by EDL sympathisers as a way of getting more people to ‘legitimise’ their actions. Always check the affiliations and likes of the group before you join it.

Don’t let London succumb to further mindless violence.

The murderers claimed to be acting in the name of Islam, but the majority of muslims in the UK are peaceful and valuable members of society who have been as shocked by this brutal murder as everyone else in the UK, and they should be protected from those who wish to harm them because of ignorance towards their faith, and who they are as human beings.

The murders were black, but they had british accents which implies that they have spent most, if not all, of their upbringing in the UK. Members of  communities from Afro-carribean descent and those who have immigrated to the UK do not deserve to attacked by groups who form their opinions on racist grounds and ignore the fact that British society had a part to play in the nurturing of the murderers’ perspectives for the worse.

The murders stayed at the crime scene and asked for eye witnesses to take photos, and to film them and put it on the internet. They waited for the police to arrive before approaching them aggressively until the police non-fatally shot them to disarm them. They are currently receiving treatment in hospital where they will be held under armed guard until they are ready to be questioned.  These men do not deserve to become martyrs for their actions. They will be brought to justice by the proper means, and vigilantes persecuting muslim and black british citizens will not help anyone.

Please look out for your community members, regardless of their race and religion. That is something that Tumblr users know how to do best!

Stay safe, London.

link to BBC article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22630303, BBC Live updates page

Metropolitan Police Emergency Number: 999

Metropolitan Police Non-Emergency Number: 101

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I went to Woolwich today for the first time since a soldier was hacked to death there by two terrorists in the name of Allah. it’s not far from me, only over a few hills but still a world away. a lot of police about, expecting fascists, anti-fascists and other racial tension, but it was quiet and there was a bouncy castle in the town square.

the sea of flowers and hundreds of personal notes, especially from children are overwhelming. the little boy who left his toy soldier touched me the most.

British Pattern 1897 Infantry Officer’s Sword

From the Lieutenant F. Westby MBE collection: an early 20th century Royal Engineers officer’s sword and leather scabbard, with blade by S.J. Pillin W.W. White Woolwich and stamped “106345” to its spine; shagreen and wire wound grip with pierced basket with Edward VII monogram, a leather tassel; blade length 82cm.

The Wonder Tube: The Sten - 9mm

I like having a little header title rather than just nothing, anyway back on to a gunpost, I’ve been requested to do the stamped steel Sten and here we go.

So the Sten gun, it’s an iconic weapon nowadays, one of the cheapest guns of WWII and yet also one of the most heavily used and made, with roughly 5 million Sten guns made, now we get to how this icon of resistance began.

So as I said in the Thompson post, the British were using the M1928 Thompson for most of the early years of WWII, but there was a giant problem, cost. Thompsons were really expensive guns and in 1941 with the US entrance in the war, that made them even more expensive and with fear of a German invasion on the horizon, RSAF Enfield was ordered to make a design that was cheap and easy to mass produce.

So the main two men behind the design of the Sten were Major R. V. Shepherd, the Inspector of Armaments at The Woolwich Royal Arsenal and Mr Harold Turpin, a designer at RSAF Enfield. They looked at a previous design, the Lanchester SMG that was used by the Royal Navy.

What they effectively did was simplify the Lanchester SMG, removing the wood furniture and swapping it with metal, modified and removed the barrel jacket, ditched the flat muzzle, made the sights simpler and boom, the Sten was born.

Made of stamped steel fittings and using a mixture of fitted and welded parts, a Sten gun is usually made of only 60 main parts, something most pistols have more of. It wasn’t accurate, but it was cheap, reliable and easy to mass produce. Within a couple of years, the entire British military standardized on the Sten series. Before I continue, the name Sten was based off the first letter of it’s two designers, Turpin and Shepard and where it was made, Enfield. 

The entire English commonwealth went to the Sten gun in a matter of years, excluding Australia and the Owen gun. It was used by the British, The Canadians, the Indians and so many more. It was cheaper than most guns, could feed from it’s own mags, German MP40 mags and even older Lanchester mags, fed anything you could give it and wouldn’t stop working.

And it’s cheap construction made it one of the best insurgent weapons ever made. Many were parachuted into Europe to arm resistance groups from Poland to France used them. Poland made the now famous Błyskawica Sten copy, France made them and as the war went on, more and more copies of the Stens showed up in Europe, British made and otherwise

In a twist of fate, the Nazi Germans actually began copying Sten guns as the Gerat Potsdam project and later MP3008 to arm the German Volksturmm.

Following WWII, the Sten gun continued on as a stable of the militia force. It was used by the Commonwealth until the 1950′s when it was replaced by the Sterline, it was used by the Israelis during the Israeli War of Independence, it was used by the IRA against the British in Northern Ireland, the US MAC-V SOG units used the Sten Mark IIS suppressed version in Vietnam. It’s a common weapon used as a base for a number of homemade submachine guns from Brazil to Australia and despite being a 70 year old design, shows no sign in a popularity drop for those who need a submachine gun.

It’s an icon of resistance on par with the AK-47. When all hope seems lost, you can make one out of pipe, and when the Gestapo come knocking, you can show them a Sten. A gun this iconic is destined to be a film icon.

With it’s history in the arms of resistance fighters, the British commonwealth and criminals abroad, the Sten’s a common sight. It’s skeleton stock, side mounted magazine and sheet construction make it very noticable in films, and from the River Kwai to the Sands of Arabia, the Sten is an icon, and with a history this long, you know video games flash it off.

The Sten’s a relatively common sight, with the popularity of World War II shooters in the early 2000′s. It’s usually seen as the British’s version of the US Thompson, usually differentiated by being held by the side-mounted magazine, something never advised as doing so can lead to misfeeding. Rare versions like the Sten Mark IIS and the Błyskawica appear every so often, and even the post apocalypse of the Metro franchise isn’t safe from the Sten, as the “Bastard” carbine in the game looks just a bit too similar to the British sub-gun.

And that’s the tale of the Sten gun, born out of a desire for cheap guns and becoming an icon in the process. The Sten is as English as tea and imperialism, and yet the Sten has an air of resistance to it. It’s a cheap gun, but it doesn’t need anything fancy, it just needs to work. From France to Australia, it’s the kingpin of the cheap gun world, and will be used and made for years to come.