I have just chaired a meeting of the government emergency committee, Cobra, where we discussed the details and the response to the appalling events of Manchester last night.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families, and friends of all those affected. It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack.
PM May says police believe they know the attacker’s identity but won’t reveal it for now.
An attack that has targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation. This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom, and 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.
The police and security services are working at speed to establish the complete picture. But I want to tell you what I can at this stage, at 10:33 pm last night, the police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena in Manchester City centre near Victoria train station.
We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device (IED) near one of the exists of the venue deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately.
The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert which was attended by many young families and groups of children. All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening, cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent defenceless children and young people who should’ve been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
As things stand, I can tell you that, in addition to the attacker, 22 people have died and 59 people have been injured.
Those who were injured are being treated in eight different hospitals across Greater Manchester.
Many are being treated for life-threatening conditions. And we know that among those killed and injured where many children and young people.
We struggled to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as seen to cherish, but as a for carnage. But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future. To take on and defeat of the ideology that often feels this violence.
And if the turnout to be responsible for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice.
The police and security services believe that the attack was carried out by one man. But they now need to know whether he was acting alone or as part of a wider group. It will take, some time to establish these facts. And the investigation will continue.
The security services and police will be given enough resources to complete the task. They believe that they know the identity of the perpetrator but, at this stage of investigation, we can not confirm his name.