Suicide blast at Manchester pop concert leaves 22 dead

No report of Indian casualty, says Govt; PM, Prez condemn attack
Report by: 
Agencies
Manchester/New Delhi
23 May 2017

In the deadliest terror attack in the UK since the 7/7 bombings of 2005, at least 22 people, including children, were killed and 59 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up as thousands of fans were exiting US star Ariana Grande's pop concert in Manchester.

A lone suicide bomber set off a powerful homemade bomb at a concert of US pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester city. The Islamic State terror group today claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned of more attacks. The group said in a statement on its social media sites that "one of the caliphate's soldiers placed bombs among the crowds." Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud "bang" from inside the venue, which was playing host to a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande. Video footage from the scene showed bloodied victims being helped by emergency services. The blasts reportedly went off at the end of the concert near the box office area of the venue. Prime Minister Theresa May said the people of Manchester have fallen victim to a "callous terrorist attack". After chairing a Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) meeting here in the wake of the blast, May said a single terrorist detonated a device near the exit, at a time and place intended to cause maximum injuries.

Screaming concert-goers, including children fled the venue last night in panic after the powerful blast struck the Manchester Arena -- Europe's largest indoor arena. Children and teenagers were among the dead because of the very young demographic of the pop star's fans. However, luckily for India, there was no casualty of its citizens in the tragedy. No Indian casualty has been reported in the Manchester suicide attack, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said today. "So far there is no report of an Indian casualty in the #Manchester attack. We are keeping a close watch on the situation," Swaraj tweeted. Terming that attack as "horrific", minister of state for external affairs M J Akbar tweeted: "Share Britain's bereavement and pain. Manchester confirms Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oft-repeated analysis that terrorism is the greatest threat since World War II." Akbar further added that "We must fight this evil without ifs and buts: terrorists and sanctuary providers are equally guilty."

Immediately after the attack, the Indian high commission in London had tweeted that "Any Indians injured during Manchester attack today may reach off-office hours Public Response Unit of HCI (High Commission of India) ASAP (as soon as possible) at 020 7632 3035." President Pranab Mukherjee today strongly condemned the blast in the UK's Manchester and conveyed condolences to the families of deceased and prayers for injured. "India stands by government and people of UK in this hour of distress," Mukherjee said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured." he tweeted. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi today expressed shock and grief over the tragedy. Gandhi conveyed solidarity and offered condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the "ghastly" attack. "The entire world community must come together as one to fight the scourge of terrorism cutting across boundaries and religion," she said. Condemning the blast, Rahul tweeted: "Strongly condemn the terror attack in Manchester. Absolutely shocked and saddened by the loss of lives and suffering caused by the senseless violence."