County is count­ing the hu­man cost of atroc­ity

Middleton Guardian - - ARENA BOMB TERROR -

GREATER Manch­ester has been count­ing the hu­man cost of the worst atroc­ity to hit Bri­tain in a decade.

A to­tal of 22 peo­ple - in­clud­ing an eight-year-old girl - are con­firmed dead af­ter a bomb went off at Amer­i­can pop star Ari­ana Grande’s show on Mon­day night.

Around 120 were con­firmed in­jured - some to a life-threat­en­ing de­gree - when a sui­cide bomber det­o­nated a de­vice at the end of the con­cert, which was packed with chil­dren and teenagers.

On Tues­day Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, as po­lice staged two dra­matic raids at ad­dresses in south Manch­ester, ar­rested one sus­pect and ap­pealed for wit­ness footage which might pro­vide vi­tal clues.

In one raid - at Elsmore Road in Fal­low­field - po­lice car­ried out a con­trolled ex­plo­sion. Mean­while, armed po­lice raided an ad­dress at Carl­ton Road, Whalley Range and at an­other ad­dress in South Manch­ester a 23-year-old man was ar­rested.

The North West Am­bu­lance Ser­vice has con­firmed 12 chil­dren un­der the age of 16 were among the ca­su­al­ties. Some re­main se­ri­ously ill in in­ten­sive care units.

Con­fu­sion and dis­rup­tion gripped Manch­ester city cen­tre in the hours af­ter the at­tack and po­lice ad­vised peo­ple to stay out of town.

The Royal Ex­change and the Arn­dale Cen­tre were both evac­u­ated. The evac­u­a­tion at the Arn­dale fol­lowed the ar­rest of a man who po­lice say is un­con­nected to the bomb­ing.

Manch­ester City’s Ethiad sta­dium was turned into a sup­port cen­tre for those af­fected by the at­tack, while United’s Old Traf­ford sta­dium closed its doors to tours.

Armed po­lice pa­trolled Manch­ester city cen­tre and the Traf­ford Cen­tre as work­ers were seen weep­ing in the streets.

Stu­dent Ge­orgina Cal­lan­der, 18, from Ley­land, was the first to be named as among the dead. Also trag­i­cally killed was eight-year-old Saffie Rose Rous­sos. She was at the show with her mother and sis­ter, who are be­lieved to have been in­jured by shrap­nel.

Saffie was re­ported as miss­ing be­fore be­ing con­firmed as dead.

The fates of a num­ber of oth­ers who were at the show re­main unknown and ap­peals are cir­cu­lat­ing on so­cial media as fam­i­lies search and wait anx­iously for news.

And John Atkin­son, 28, from Rad­cliffe was also fa­tally in­jured in the at­tack. He was de­scribed by friends as a ‘beau­ti­ful soul’.

The Queen said in a state­ment the whole coun­try was ‘shocked’ by the ‘dread­ful event’. Ex­press­ing her sym­pa­thy to the fam­i­lies of the dead and in­jured, she thanked emer­gency ser­vices for their ‘pro­fes­sion­al­ism and care’ and praised the peo­ple of Manch­ester for ‘re­spond­ing with hu­man­ity and com­pas­sion to this act of bar­bar­ity’.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May met the chief con­sta­ble in Manch­ester af­ter con­demn­ing the ‘ap­palling, sick­en­ing cow­ardice’ of the bomber in a speech out­side 10 Down­ing Street.

Greater Manch­ester Po­lice chief con­sta­ble Ian Hop­kins speaks to the Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May dur­ing her visit to Manch­ester Yes­ter­day

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