Lone suicide bomber responsible for Manchester attack

Manchester - The explosion at a pop concert in the British city of Manchester, which left 22 dead and 59 injured, was conducted by a lone suicide bomber, police confirmed on Tuesday.

"We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe that 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 Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said in a statement.

The attack occurred at the end of a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande, as fans were making their way for the exits.

A single explosion near the foyer of the Manchester arena sent people fleeing for their lives in panic and chaos.

Many of the estimated 20 000 fans at the concert were children, many of them not yet even teenagers.

The GMP said it was alerted at 10:33 pm local time (2133 GMT) on Monday to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena.

"The attacker died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity," it added.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who has condemned what she called an act of terrorism, chaired a top-level meeting of Britain's emergency committee, known as Cobra, on Tuesday morning.

She and other politicians have suspended campaigning in the British general election as a mark of respect and solidarity.

"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," the GMP said.

The GMP said families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives.

“Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones. We continue to do all we can to support them. They are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.

"This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester as they wake up to news of the events last night. This will include armed officers as people would expect. More than 400 officers have been involved in the operation during the night," the GMP said.

Police urged people not to speculate on details of the killer or to share names.

"Our priority is to work with the national counter-terrorist policing network and UK intelligence services to establish more details about the individual who carried out this attack," said the GMP. - Xinhua