The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a bombing attack that killed at least 22 people and injured 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, Monday night.
The group claimed one of its members planted bombs in the middle of crowds at the 21,000 capacity Manchester Arena, but British police have so far only mentioned the use of “an improvised device” in the attack. The U.S. has not yet verified that ISIS was responsible for the attack, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said.
Witnesses reported hearing an explosion, which police said was in the foyer area, moments after the American singer Ariana Grande concert finished. The Manchester Arena was packed with more than 20,000 fans. The ‘loud bangs’ sparked mass panic, with concert-goers screaming as they stampeded for the exits.
ISIS says “a soldier of the caliphate planted bombs in the middle of Crusaders gatherings” then detonated them. It did not say whether the attacker was killed. Officials Tuesday named Salman Abedi, 23, a British subject, as the lone terrorist who carried out the suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Monday night. Abedi was known to British authorities before the attack. Police are combing through certain neighborhoods, detaining suspects, analyzing the explosive device and checking through surveillance footage in search of his support network.
The group claimed that “30 Crusaders were killed and 70 others were wounded,” higher than the totals confirmed by authorities in Manchester. The attack occurred on the fourth anniversary of the public murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in London by Islamist extremists.
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack a display of “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.”
Queen Elizabeth II also offered her sympathy for the victims.
“I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care. And I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity,” she said in a statement.