Just as London recovers from a terrorist attack on March 22 that killed six people and injured 50, Manchester was the target of an attack last night during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena that resulted in 22 deaths.
According to one report, children under the age of 16 were among the 59 casualties taken to the hospital. Parents looking for their children in the panic and confusion were directed to the Holiday Inn and a Travelodge providing them with phone chargers in order to contact family members and offer them a respite.
Police said the bomber, who died in the explosion, detonated the device in a space outside the arena as crowds were leaving the venue. The arena’s foyer connects with Manchester Victoria train and the tram station, making it a major hub on the northern edge of the city center.
At press time, the Victoria Station remained closed and roads in the area were sealed off, all unlikely to open before Wednesday morning at the earliest. Metrolink posted that no services will operate through Victoria Station until further notice.
Tram services will also be affected with the airport line stopping at Deansgate. However, service from Liverpool to Manchester Piccadilly on to the Manchester Airport are operating normally.
The National Rail Enquiries page is the most up-to-date source of information regarding ground transportation throughout the city and for now simply states major disruptions until the end of the day.
Anyone heading into Manchester city center and parts of Trafford over the weekend are directed to check the Transport for Greater Manchester website.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told the Financial Times of London that security services believed they knew the identity of the bomber behind the “callous terrorist attack," which was “among the worst terrorism we have experienced in the United Kingdom.”
The attack is the most serious terrorism incident in the UK since the Islamist suicide bombings on London Underground trains and a bus in 2005, which killed 52 people.
Marketed as the gateway to the north of England, Manchester Airport is the third largest airport in the UK, reaching the 26 million annual passenger mark in February 2017. More than 60 airlines land in Manchester directly linking it to more than 200 destinations around the world including new direct routes for 2017, San Francisco and Boston.
“Whilst we have no information to suggest any further threat at this time, as always, we ask that passengers remain vigilant. If they see anything suspicious do not hesitate to report it airport staff or the police on site. Flights are currently operating as normal but public transport to the airport might be impacted following the incident," a Manchester Airport spokesman said.
The Manchester Arena (formerly known as the MEN Arena) is listed as a popular venue for concerts as the city boasts music and performances every night of the year. The arena is the largest indoor concert venue in Europe with a capacity of around 21,000.
Among Manchester’s top attractions are the gothic architecture at John Rylands Library and Manchester Cathedral; take in fine art at Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth; or discover history, old and new, at Manchester Museum and the Imperial War Museum North and the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. Manchester is synonymous with football so visitors frequently tour the Manchester United and Manchester City grounds, and discover the social history of the game at the National Football Museum.