Ariana Grande Manchester Concert Explosion Being Treated as Likely 'Terrorist Incident,' Police Chief Says
Update: The official death toll has risen to 22 since this article was first published.
At around 3 a.m. local time Tuesday in Manchester, England, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police held a press conference to address the bombing attack at Manchester Arena that had taken place the night before after a concert by pop star Ariana Grande.
"Currently, we have 19 people confirmed to have lost their lives in the explosion, and around 50 casualties, that are being treated at six hospitals across greater Manchester," Hopkins said. (Casualties, in this case, likely extending to those injured non-fatally as well.)
"We are doing all that we can to support them," he continued. "Officers from Greater Manchester Police and emergency services are working at the scene at supporting those affected. We are coordinating the operation here at Greater Manchester Police headquarters."
Before 8am local time, Hopkins addressed the media again. "This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see." Hopkins confirmed the death toll had risen to 22, and noted 59 people were injured and are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.
According to Hopkins, the attack is currently being treated by Manchester authorities as a terrorist act. "We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe that while the attack last night was conducted by one man the priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network. The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity. We would ask people not to speculate on his details or to share names. There is a complex and wide ranging investigation underway."
Hopkins offered both an emergency number for those concerned about their loved ones (0161 8569 400) and the number of the local anti-terrorist hotline (0800 789 321) for those with additional information. "It is important also that people here in Manchester avoid the area around Manchester arena," he closed, "so that emergency services can continue to effectively deal with the incident at that location." Hopkins did not take further questions after delivering his address.
CNN also reported that a law official told them that a male suspect at the scene has been ID'd as the likely suicide bomber.