Blast targets children’s concert
Grande tweeted that she was “broken” by the news.
Police said the suspected attack took place at 10.30pm as fans left the arena. Grande’s fan base is predominantly pre-teen and teenage girls.
At least 22 were killed and more than 55 injured by the blast near the foyer that left thousands fleeing.
Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) tweeted: “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.”
Manchester remained on edge and at about 1.30am, bomb disposal officers carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect device near the arena beside Manchester Cathedral. It was found to be abandoned clothing, police said.
Islamic State supporters celebrated on Twitter although the Islamist group has not yet formally claimed responsibility.
Police said they are treating the blast as a “terrorist incident”.
Twitter accounts affiliated to Islamic State have used hashtags referring to the blast to post celebratory messages and encouraging similar attacks elsewhere.
Some tweets said the attack were in revenge for air strikes in Iraq and Syria.
“It seems that bombs of the British airforce over children of Mosul and Raqqa has just came back to #Manchester,” tweeted Abdul Haqq. Britain was part of the coalition conducting air strikes.
Train services from Manchester Victoria station, below the arena, were cancelled. The rapper Nicki Minaj, a friend of Grande whose vocals are included on her track Side to Side, tweeted: “My heart hurts for my sister, Ariana & every family affected by this tragic event in the UK. Innocent lives lost. I’m so sorry to hear this.”
A witness called Rachel told BBC Radio Manchester: “Everyone had started leaving and there was a massive explosion. Everyone started screaming. There was so much panic. You couldn’t get out because there were so many crowds of people.”
Singer Taylor Swift said she had “thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I’m sending all my love.”
Prime Minister Theresa May will chair the government’s emergency response Cobra committee.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “My thoughts are with all those affected by this barbaric act. The full details of exactly what happened are still emerging, but I am proud of the police and first responders who reacted to this tragic incident so swiftly.”
Picture credit: YouTube