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    Monday, May 22, 2017

    At least 22 dead in blast at Ariana Grande concert in British arena

    At least 22 people were killed in a blast at a concert in the English city of Manchester on Monday where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing and two US officials said a suicide bomber was suspected in the explosion.


    British police said the incident, in which at least 59 people were injured, was being treated as a terrorist incident. Police carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect device several hours after the blast.
    Police said they responded to reports of an explosion shortly after 10:35 pm (2135 GMT) at the arena, which has a capacity for 21,000 people, and where the US singer had been performing to an audience that included many children.If confirmed as a terrorism incident, it would be the deadliest attack in Britain by militants since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London's transport system in July 2005.

    The blast also came two and half weeks ahead of an election in which Prime Minister Theresa May is predicted by opinion polls to win a large majority.
    "We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming," concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters.
    "It was a huge explosion -- you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out."
    Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack. If confirmed, it would be the deadliest militant assault in Britain since four bombers killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London's transport system in July 2005.
    Police responded to reports of an explosion shortly after 10:35 pm (2135 GMT) at the arena, which has the capacity to hold 21,000 people, where the US singer had been performing to an audience that included many children.
    A witness who attended the concert said she felt a huge blast as she was leaving the arena, followed by screaming and a rush by thousands of people trying to escape the building.
    A video posted on Twitter showed fans, many of them young, screaming and running from the venue. Dozens of parents frantically searched for their children, posting photos and pleading for information on social media.
    "We were making our way out and when we were right by the door there was a massive explosion and everybody was screaming," concert-goer Catherine Macfarlane told Reuters.
    "It was a huge explosion — you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and just trying to get out."
    A spokesman for Ariana Grande, 23, said the singer was "okay". The singer later said on Twitter: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."May, who faces an election in two-and-a-half weeks, said her thoughts were with the victims and their families. Her ruling Conservative Party was preparing to suspend campaigning ahead of the election due to the suspected attack.
    "We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack," she said in a statement. "All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected."
    May will hold a crisis response meeting later on Tuesday.
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