News broke shortly after 10:30 p.m. local time Monday night: an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in the northern British city of Manchester. At least 22 people were confirmed dead and 60 injured in an attack authorities are investigating as an act of terrorism. Islamic terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack early Tuesday afternoon, according to AFP.
A lone male suicide attacker is believed to have set off the explosion, and the BBC is reporting that armed police have arrested a 23-year-old man in a town south Manchester early Tuesday in connection with the attack.
The bombing is the second major terror attack to hit Britons this year, after a car mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March, killing five. As condemnation came in from leaders around the world, people in Manchester are banding together, offering beds and donating blood. EU flags are flying half-mast; and in Paris, the Eiffel Tower will turn off its lights, an act of solidarity for a city that is still grappling with its own trauma of terrorism.
Manchester Evening News May 23 front page
The first victim has been named as 18-year-old student Georgina Callander. There will be others, no doubt, who are even younger — Grande, an American pop singer, is a favorite among teen and pre-teen girls.
The attack conjured memories of the November 2015 coordinated bombing and shooting attacks in Paris that killed 130. Eighty-nine of the victims were at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan concert hall, including many in their teens and twenties.
Until Monday night, Manchester, a city of half-a-million, was known best for its role in England's 19th-century industrial revolution and its celebrated football club. Now, like Paris and Beslan, Sandy Hook and Chibok, the city's history will also be marked by terrorism that specifically targets the most innocent among us.