The Islamic State claimed Tuesday one of its “soldiers” carried out a deadly blast in Manchester that killed at least 22 people, including teenagers and others streaming out of a pop concert.
The Islamic State statement did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out late Monday. The statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites.
The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous claims have not been proven.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the carnage a “callous, terrorist attack.”
“This attack stands out for its 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,” she said, speaking outside of Downing Street, where flags are flying at half mast.
She called it among the worst terrorist incidents in Britain and “the worst ever to hit the north of England.”
Authorities believe they know the identity of the assailant, she added, “but at this stage of their investigations, we cannot confirm his name.”
In a statement, the Greater Manchester Police said that they arrested a 23-year-old man in south Manchester in connection with the attack as hundreds of police swarmed through the city in the aftermath of the blast.
Authorities are trying to determine if the suicide bomber acted alone or was part of a larger network. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which injured 59 others.
“We believe at this stage the attack last night was conducted by one man,” said Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins at a televised news conference. “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Griff Witte, Karla Adam