The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Manchester which took place last night.
City police officials believe the attacker was Salman Abedi, although the local coroner hasn’t yet been able to confirm an identity.
Law enforcement has moved quickly in pursuing any of Abedi’s potential accomplices, staging raids on two separate residences in the city Tuesday morning. Media reports suggest that police arrested a 23-year old man in connection with the attack.
The bombing took place late Monday evening outside Manchester Arena.
A blast tore through hordes of gathered revelers streaming out from the arena following the finale of an Ariana Grande concert. Many of the victims were teenagers and young adults, who comprise the core of the American pop singer’s fan base.
Nadim Baba of al-Jazeera, stationed in Manchester, said that 12 of the 59 victims brought to area hospitals were children. The youngest to die from the blast was an eight-year old child.
Baba said the death of an eight-year old child underscores the “severe security threat” being faced by the United Kingdom.
The Manchester bombing was the deadliest attack staged on British soil since 2005, when four perpetrators coordinated a series of suicide bombings on London’s public transportation system. 56 people were killed, with nearly 800 injured.
The Islamic State terror organization claimed responsibility for the Manchester bombing in a Telegram chat Tuesday, saying a “soldier of the caliphate” had managed to “plant explosive devices” outside the arena.
A US counterterrorism official who spoke to CNN told the network that the attack “looks much like” the work of ISIS, but urged caution in drawing conclusions. The Islamic State routinely takes credit for blasts and casualty-causing incidents worldwide, even when they had no ties to the person or individuals behind certain attacks.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, denounced the “callous terror attack,” counting it as “among the worst terrorism we have experienced in the United Kingdom.”
“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage,” she said.
Queen Elizabeth also decried the bombing as an “act of barbarity.”
CNN claims the attack has stoked worries of an expansive network of terror cells in the United Kingdom, which has been on a “severe” terror alert for nearly three years.
Donald Trump responded to the Manchester incident by calling terrorists “losers.”
“So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life,” the President said. “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”
“This wicked ideology must be obliterated,” Trump concluded.