Trump condemns ‘evil losers’ as Islamic State claims Manchester attack

MANCHESTER, England (KXAN/AP) — The Islamic State group says one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds in Manchester, England, where 22 people died in an explosion.

IS says “a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings” then detonated them. It did not say whether the attacker was killed.

NBC News reports the bomber was Salmon Ramadan Abed, 22.

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of the concert.

Police said dozens more were injured in the Monday night blast carried out by a male, who was killed.

President Donald Trump is expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom in the wake of the deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester condemning the “evil losers” behind the blast.

Trump spoke Tuesday after a meeting in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump says the attack preyed on “innocent children.” He says this “wicked ideology must be obliterated. And I mean completely obliterated.”

Manchester police so far have said nothing about the attacker’s identity or possible motivation but say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection to the attack.

Police say the man was arrested in south Manchester Tuesday.

Forensic investigations are continuing to determine if the attacker had accomplices, said Chief Constable Ian Hopkins. He provided no information about the individual who detonated the device.

Hopkins said some of the dead were children but provided no further details about the victims or the attacker.

A school in northern England has identified one of the victims in the Manchester concert bombing as Georgina Callander, a former pupil. “She was academically a very gifted student, very hard-working,” a school official said. “Just lovely to speak to.”

Another victim has been identified as Saffie Roussos, just 8-years-old.

Georgina Callander, victim of Manchester attack (Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy photo)
Georgina Callander, victim of Manchester attack (Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy photo)

Hopkins said police are treating the blast as an act of terrorism “until we know otherwise.” The local ambulance service says 59 people were taken to hospitals.

It was not immediately clear if police were including the attacker among the 22 people reported to have died.

The concert was attended by thousands of young music fans in northern England.

There was panic after the explosion, which struck around 4:30 p.m. Austin time Monday as Grande was ending the concert, part of her Dangerous Woman Tour.

The singer, who was not injured, tweeted hours later: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

Police cars, bomb-disposal units and 60 ambulances raced to the scene as the scale of the carnage became clear. More than 400 officers were deployed after the blast.

Manchester Arena said on its website that the blast struck outside the venue as people were leaving. Some eyewitnesses said it happened in the foyer of the arena just after the concert ended.

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

The incident sparked a nightlong search for loved ones as frantic parents tried to locate their teenage children, and groups of friends scattered by the explosion sought to find one another.

Taxi services offered to give stranded people rides home for free, and residents opened their homes to provide lodging for others who could not get home because public

Saffie Rose Roussos (PA via AP)
Saffie Rose Roussos (PA via AP)

transport had shut down.

Twitter and Facebook were filled with appeals for information about people who had not been accounted for.

The University of Texas at Austin confirms they have no students on official travel in Manchester. Still, the International Office at the university is in the process of contacting students currently or soon to be studying abroad in the United Kingdom to make sure they’re safe.

Grande performed at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center in October 2015 as part of her North American tour. Her current tour was scheduled to take her to London on Thursday for two performances before continuing through Europe.

“I am truly saddened by the horrific events occurring in Manchester tonight,” said Governor Greg Abbott in a statement. “As the U.K. remains on high alert, I ask that all Texans join Cecilia and me in praying for all those affected. An attack on one democracy is an attack on us all, and we must remain steadfast in our efforts to eradicate terrorists. The state of Texas offers our full support for the victims and families impacted by this tragedy.”

The U.S. Embassy in London is encouraging Americans in Manchester to contact their families.

Queen Elizabeth II has expressed her “deepest sympathy” to all those affected by Monday’s bomb attack at a Manchester pop concert, where 22 people were killed.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the monarch said “the whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury”.

She thanked police and the emergency services, and expressed admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded to the attack: “With humanity and compassion to this act of barbarity.”

Armed police respond after reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at the concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Armed police respond after reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at the concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

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