AS IT HAPPENED: World leaders react to Manchester 'terrorist' attack

2017-05-23 06:13

World leaders expressed shock and horror on Tuesday after the suicide bombing in Manchester which killed at least 22 people, including children.

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Last Updated at 00:57
23 May 18:15

Here is what we know so far about the terror attack, the deadliest in Britain since 2005.

Police said they were called at 22:33 to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena during a concert by pop star Ariana Grande, who is popular with teenagers and pre-teens.

According to police, the blast occurred "within the foyer area of the stadium", although the venue said it was in a public area outside. Prime Minister Theresa May said it was near one of the arena exits.

Read more here:

23 May 17:33

The UK has been hit by a number of terror strikes the past few years. 

Police said they believed the Manchester attack, the deadliest on British soil in 12 years, was carried out by one man who had died at the scene.

Read full story here

23 May 17:04

World leaders expressed shock and horror on Tuesday after the suicide bombing in Manchester which killed at least 22 people, including children. Here are some of the reactions:


British Prime Minister Theresa May called it an "appalling terrorist attack" and suspended her campaign ahead of a general election on June 8, as did the chief opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected," May said.

Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services."

United States

US President Donald Trump condemned the "evil losers" behind the attack, saying: "I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name.

"So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered," he said.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced "sorrow and horror", adding: "This suspected terrorist attack will only strengthen our resolve to work with our British friends against those who plan and execute such inhuman acts. I assure the people in Britain: Germany stands by your side."


Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to increase anti-terror cooperation with Britain after "this cynical, inhuman crime".

"We expect that those behind it will not escape the punishment they deserve," he said.


French President Emmanuel Macron voiced "horror and shock" and said he planned to speak to the British prime minister.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said it was an example of "the most cowardly terrorism" that was aimed "specifically and knowingly" at young people.


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the attack was "especially vile, especially criminal, especially horrific because it appears to have been deliberately directed at teenagers".

He added: "This is an attack on innocents. Surely there is no crime more reprehensible than the murder of children. This is a direct and brutal attack on young people everywhere, on freedom everywhere."

United Nations

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres expressed "his deep sympathy and solidarity to the people and government of the United Kingdom" and said he hoped "that those responsible for this unjustifiable violence will be swiftly brought to justice".


Pope Francis said he was "deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life caused by the barbaric attack in Manchester," and said he sought "God's blessings of peace, healing, and strength upon the nation".

The Netherlands

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: "Terrible news from Manchester where a great evening ended in tragedy. Our thoughts are with the victims."


Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said: "I condemn the Manchester attack. My condolences to the families of the deceased and my fervent wishes that the wounded recover soon."


Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted: "Italy joins forces with the British people and government. Our thoughts go out to the victims of the Manchester attack and their families."


Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said: "Horrendous loss of innocent lives in #Manchester. Our thoughts and sympathy are with the British people."


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "Canadians are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight. Please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts."


Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: "We express our solidarity to the British people and our support to the relatives of the victims. We are on your side."


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government "strongly condemns the terrible terror attack".

"Terror is a global threat and the enlightened countries must act together to defeat it in any place," he said.


President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Queen Elizabeth II, expressing "deep grief for the victims" and their families.


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "I firmly condemn the terrorist attack," adding that he shared "the pain of the British people."


President Doris Leuthard tweeted: "The fact that the target should once again be people wanting to enjoy a night out at a concert is appalling."

23 May 16:11

Pop group Take That says it is canceling its show in Liverpool, northern England a day after the deadly bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The band says it is postponing the performance "out of respect to all of the people and their families that were affected by the horrific incident last night."

The band was scheduled to play at Manchester Arena, the site of Monday's attack, from Thursday to Saturday. Their representatives say there is no official word yet on whether those shows will go ahead.

23 May 15:57

23 May 15:51

An eight-year-old girl was among the 22 people killed in the bomb attack on a packed Manchester pop concert late Monday, a local authority said on Tuesday.

Lancashire County Council, in northwest England, named her as Saffie Rose Roussos from Leyland, near Preston. The headteacher of Tarleton Community Primary School said their pupil Saffie's death "has come as a tremendous shock to all of us".

"Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word," Chris Upton said, adding her "warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly".

Saffie is the second victim to be named in the attack on Manchester Arena where US pop star Ariana Grande had been performing.

Georgina Callander from Lancashire was also killed in the attack, Runshaw College Sixth Form Centre confirmed on its Facebook page.

She was believed to be 18, and was studying health and social care. The so-called ISIS group claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded 59 people, many of whom are still being treated for "life-threatening conditions" according to Prime Minister Theresa May.

23 May 15:29

23 May 15:18

UEFA: 'No specific intelligence' of risk to Europa final

After a deadly bombing on a concert in Manchester, Europa League organizer UEFA said it has no "specific intelligence" that the final featuring Manchester United will be a target.

United plays Ajax in the final on Wednesday evening in Stockholm, and security was already intensified following a deadly truck attack in Sweden's capital city last month.

"The terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project," UEFA said on Tuesday, noting it has worked with Swedish authorities "for many months" to plan for the game.

The UEFA statement added "there is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League Final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks."

23 May 15:13

Little movement on JSE as Manchester attack dampens sentiment

The explosion at a rock concert in Manchester dampened sentiment on global markets on Tuesday, and the JSE was no exception.

At mid-morning major JSE indices were only marginally higher, but this was enough to move the All-share index and the Industrial index to new 52-week intraday highs.

The All-share index was at that stage only 0.21% higher at 54 633 points, 116 up on the previous 52-week high of 54 517 points.

The index however still has a long way to go to reach the all-time high of 55 188 points reached in April 2015.The Top 40 index gained 0.25% to 48 125 points, still 315 points lower than the 52-week high of 48 488 points.

23 May 15:12

South Africans express shock, sadness, following Manchester bombing

South Africans on social media expressed shock and sadness following the killing of 22 people in a suicide bombing in Manchester, UK, on Monday evening.

Fifty-nine people were injured.

Writer Ryan Cummings? (@Pol_Sec_Analyst) tweeted: "Waking up to news of the bomb attack in Manchester. The thought that someone would purposely targeted an event filled with kids is surreal."

Nadia van der Merwe (@nadz4444) wrote: "It is a sick, mad world filled with sick, mad people. My heart bleeds."

23 May 15:02

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23 May 14:01

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for bombing a pop concert in the British city of Manchester and killing 22 people, including children, AP reports.

The group said in a statement published on its social media channels that "one of the caliphate's soldiers placed bombs among the crowds," and threatened more attacks.

The group's self-styled news agency Amaq separately claimed "a security squad" carried out the attack.

23 May 14:00

23 May 14:00

23 May 13:38

23 May 13:22
Scenes outside the Manchester Arena following a deadly bomb attack on Monday evening. (Supplied)

23 May 13:22
Scenes outside the Manchester Arena following a deadly bomb attack on Monday evening. (Supplied)

23 May 13:17

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23 May 12:49

23 May 12:43

British Prime Minister Theresa May says that it is "beyond doubt" that Britain and the city of Manchester have fallen victim to "a callous terrorist attack."

Speaking outside her offices in London, she says "Although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England."

May says police believe they know the attacker's identity but are not disclosing it immediately. 

23 May 12:43

British Prime Minister Theresa May says police and security staff in Manchester believe they know identity of the apparent suicide bomber who attacked people leaving an Ariana Grande concert Monday night, but they are not revealing the name for the time being.

Speaking in London, May said: "This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice."

She says the attack, in which 22 people died, was one of the worst the nation had suffered.  

23 May 12:40

'We prayed in the street' - SA priest on Manchester bomb attack

The Dean of the City of Manchester, who is originally from Durban, says scenes outside the Manchester Arena are bewildering, with the entire city centre under lockdown following a deadly bomb attack on Monday night.

"The atmosphere at the moment is rather surreal; the entire area of the city centre is on lockdown.

"People are coming into the city unable to get to work, with police officers walking around the entire area," Church of England Dean Rogers Govender told News24 on Tuesday morning.

"Police are seen carrying guns. Compared to South Africa, police here are not allowed to carry guns in public, unless something occurred – it’s bewildering and surreal."

23 May 12:22


Helpers attend to injured people inside the Manchester Arena. (PA via AP)

23 May 12:20

23 May 12:18

In terror's wake in Manchester, strangers extend a hand through Twitter

Manchester — They came offering rooms and rides, food and drink. 

They came by Twitter, harnessing social media — so often a site of anonymous derision — as a tool of collective uplift.

The hashtag #RoomForManchester announced that people in the latest British city to be struck by terrorism were prepared to lend a hand to strangers, Washington Post reports.

In the hours after a bomb detonated at an Ariana Grande concert, spreading chaos as large areas around the arena were cordoned off, residents took to Twitter to offer aid to those affected by the deadly blast.

The attack, which left at least 22 people dead and dozens more injured, was the deadliest in Britain since 2005 and is being investigated as an act of terrorism.

The messages, some of which gained thousands of retweets, offered a small glimmer of hope in an otherwise ghastly night of carnage, confusion and loss.

And as fear and uncertainty yet again gripped Western Europe, the response from those closest to the violence suggested an unwillingness to be cowed by such strikes. 

23 May 12:11

23 May 12:10

23 May 12:10

23 May 11:56

Zuma condemns deadly Manchester suicide attack

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the bomb attack in Manchester, UK in which 22 people, most of them children, were killed.

Any act of violence had no place in society, he said in a statement on Tuesday.He extended his condolences to families who lost loved ones in the attack, saying violence and extremism were a threat to peace, security and development.

The suspected terrorist attack, believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber, happened after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in the Manchester Arena on Monday evening.

Fifty-nine people were injured. Zuma wished them a speedy recovery.

23 May 11:16

23 May 11:04

Trump condemns 'evil losers' behind Manchester attack

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday condemned the "evil losers" behind a bomb attack at a pop concert in the British city of Manchester that killed at least 22 people, AFP reports.

"So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers," Trump said after meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in the occupied West Bank."

I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name."

Trump added that "I will call them from now on losers because that's what they are. They're losers, and we'll have more of them. But they're losers - just remember that."

23 May 10:44

23 May 10:24

The Latest: Social media joins in Manchester's victim hunt

Manchester — Social media users are helping the desperate hunt for people missing in the Manchester concert bombing by circulating names and photos with the MissingInManchester hashtag, AP reports.

The city's regional government and its mayor, Andy Burnham, were among scores of Twitter users that circulated the hashtag to help people seeking missing family members and friends.Those named as missing included Olivia Campbell.

Her mother, Charlotte Campbell, said the 15-year-old attended the Ariana Grande concert with a friend from school who has since been found and is being treated in a hospital.

But Olivia is missing, having last called home just before the concert, the mother told ITV television's Good Morning Britain breakfast show.

She says: "I've called the hospitals. I've called all the places, the hotels where people said that children have been taken and I've called the police. If anyone sees Olivia, lend her your phone, she knows my number."

A Czech woman who was at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester says that "there was almost no security check, rather zero.

"They let us get in without any check if we have anything with us."

Nikola Trochtova told the Czech public radio that "the only thing they were interested in was if we had any bottles of water with us. They almost didn't check our bags, they didn't take a look".

She says she was leaving the venue when she heard an explosion at the entrance, but learned the details only after returning to her hotel.

23 May 10:10

Macron says 'horrified' at UK attack, to speak with May

French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his "horror" at the attack that killed 22 people at a pop concert in England, and plans to speak to British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Macron "learnt with horror and shock about the attack that occurred yesterday evening," his office said in a statement.

"He addresses all of France's compassion and concern to the people of Britain and stands by its side in this period of mourning, with a particular thought for the victims and their families," the statement added.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe condemned the attack as "the most cowardly terrorism" that was aimed "specifically and knowingly" at young people.

23 May 10:07

Manchester blast, Trump concern spur risk-off tone in markets

The yen rose and the British pound dropped with US equity-index futures as investors turned cautious after a suicide bomb attack in the UK and the latest reports on the Trump administration.

The Japanese currency rose against almost all its major peers and S&P 500 futures dropped as the Washington Post reported Donald Trump asked intelligence chiefs to publicly deny any collusion between his campaign and Russia.

The pound slipped after a terrorist attack killed at least 22 people at a concert in Manchester. The Mexican peso slid after S&P said it may cut Brazil’s sovereign credit rating.

Noble shares plunged amid concerns over a default. Oil dropped below $51.Political wrangling in Washington returned to the fore, taking the focus away from global economic growth.

23 May 10:04

23 May 09:52

23 May 09:48

Screaming children, frantic parents after deadly Manchester Arena blast

"Panic", "chaos", "confusion" - these are just some of the words used by witnesses to describe what followed a blast at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in the northern English city of Manchester that killed at least 22 people and wounded dozens on Monday night.

"We just heard a bang," concert-goer Sadat Khan told Al Jazeera."

A few seconds later there was a massive stampede of panic and shouting and screaming," Khan said.

He added that those near him, the majority of whom were children and teenagers, ran towards the exits, "jumping on chairs and trying to run as fast as they could".

23 May 09:37

23 May 09:32

Media Statement issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation:

South Africa condemns the suspected terrorist attack in the United Kingdom

The South African Government joins the international community in strongly condemning what appears to be a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in Manchester on Monday, 22 May 2017, resulting in the unfortunate deaths and injuries of numerous children and youths.

On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, H. E. President Jacob Zuma extends his heartfelt condolences to the Government and the people of the United Kingdom, in particular the families and loved ones of the deceased and wish the injured speedy recoveries.

Acts of violence and extremism have no place in society and constitute a threat to peace, security and development.

The South African Government condemns in the strongest terms terrorist attacks in any form and from whichever quarter and in particular against the innocent children and youth.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Consular Services division is in contact with the South African High Commission in London following the attacks should any South African citizens have been affected.  

23 May 09:19

23 May 09:18

Ariana Grande concert bombing: 5 things we know and 3 things we don't

An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on Monday night.

Police confirmed on Tuesday morning 22 people were killed and roughly 59 were injured in what has been said to be the deadliest attack in Britain in 12 years.

Nine hours after the attack police are investigating what they are treating as a terrorist attack.

Here is what we know so far:

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