Islamic State claimed responsibility for Monday’s deadly attack at the Manchester Arena and said it was carried out with an explosive device planted at the concert, according to a statement the group posted on Telegram.
“One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester,” the statement said.
A suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 59 at a packed concert hall in the English city of Manchester in what Prime Minister Theresa May called a sickening act targeting children and young people.
May said police believed they knew the identity of the bomber and police then said a 23-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the attack.
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly…but this attack stands out for its appalling sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” May said outside her Downing Street office in London.
“The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together.”
The northern English city remained on high alert.
A Reuters witnesses said they heard a “big bang” at Manchester’s Arndale shopping mall and saw people running from the building.
Police said they were dealing with an incident inside.
The shopping centre reopened soon afterward, a Reuters witness said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said more police had been ordered onto the streets of the British capital.
Monday’s attack was the deadliest in Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in 2005.
But it will have reverberations far beyond British shores.
Attacks in cities including Paris, Nice, Brussels, St Petersburg, Berlin and London have shocked Europeans already anxious over security challenges from mass immigration and pockets of domestic Islamist radicalism.
The Islamic State militant group has called for attacks as retaliation for Western involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Witnesses related the horror of the Manchester blast, which unleashed a stampede just as the concert ended at what is Europe’s largest indoor arena, full to a capacity of 21,000.
“We ran and people were screaming around us and pushing on the stairs to go outside and people were falling down, girls were crying, and we saw these women being treated by paramedics having open wounds on their legs … it was just chaos,” said Sebastian Diaz, 19.
“It was literally just a minute after it ended, the lights came on and the bomb went off.”
U.S. President Donald Trump described the attack as the work of “evil losers”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it “will only strengthen our resolve to…work with our British friends against those who plan and carry out such inhumane deeds.”