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24 May 2017

Unbearable barbarism- 22 Killed during pop concert in Manchester Arena

Georgina Bethany Callander, an 18-year-old “superfan” of singer
Ariana Grande, became the first named victim of the Manchester
attack. The college girl had met Grande in 2015 and posted on
Instagram excitedly about the time she met her star. (Reuters)
Amit Roy, TT, London, May 23: A Briton whose parents had emigrated from Libya has been identified as the bomber who killed 22 people, mostly children and teenagers, at the end of a pop concert in the Manchester Arena last night.
This evening, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadliest terror attack in Britain since 2005.
The stadium, which has a 21,000 capacity, was full but the bomb exploded at 10.33pm in the foyer just as concertgoers were leaving the venue. They had come to see the 23-year-old American pop star, Ariana Grande, who has a huge fan following among the young.
"Broken from the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry," Ariana reacted later. "I don't have words."
Parents who had come to collect their children were waiting outside when there was a flash followed by the sound of the bomb.
One victim was thrown 30ft in the air. The ground was littered with "body parts", bleeding children and teenagers and iron nuts and bolts - telltale signs of a suicide bombing. Screams filled the air and there was chaos as thousands fled the arena. Nearly 60 people were injured.
The general election campaign was suspended as Prime Minister Theresa May and her senior cabinet ministers went into emergency session.
The chief constable of Manchester, Ian Hopkins, said: "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."
Salman was born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children. His parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.
His parents appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least 10 years. There were unconfirmed reports in Manchester that the whole family, apart from the two elder sons, recently returned to Libya.
Residents of Elsmore Road in Fallowfield, where Salman lived, described being ordered to remain indoors as more than 20 officers swooped on the house, carrying out a controlled explosion on the front door.
Britain is no stranger to terrorism but the latest is in some ways one of the most horrific ever to have taken place in the country.
Majid Khan, 22, who had gone with his sister to the concert, said: "We were all exiting the venue when a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena."
The full extent of the tragedy has yet to unfold but it was confirmed that the dead included eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, a student at Tarleton Primary School, in Lancashire.
"Simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word" and "loved by everyone" was how her head teacher Chris Upton described her.
As night fell today, hundreds of people were still looking for their loved ones.
Charlotte Campbell has not heard from her 15-year-old daughter Olivia since the attack.
"I last had contact with her at half past eight last night," she said. "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, he's in hospital, but Olivia has not been found yet."
A rough sleeper, Chris Parker, 33, was in the foyer area of the venue where he regularly goes to beg for money as concert crowds head home.
He recounted: "Everyone was piling out, all happy and everything else. As people were coming out of the glass doors, I saw a white flash and within a split second I heard a bang, 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 were people lying on the floor everywhere."
He continued: "I saw a little girl... she had no legs. 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.'"
He said he thought the child's mother had died from her injuries. Parker, who has slept rough in the city for about a year, said he also tended to a woman in her 60s who was badly hurt from the bombing with serious leg and head injuries.
Parker said: "She passed away in my arms. She had been with her family. I haven't stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids' concert. There were nuts and bolts all over the floor. People had holes in their back. It's the screams I can't get over."
The terrorist level in Britain has been "severe" for the last couple of years.
The Queen sent her sympathy and 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... 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."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured."
Harun Khan, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next. I urge all those in the region and around the country to pull together to support those affected."

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