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Terror in Manchester; 22 killed in attack

Police say at least 22 people have been killed in a reported blast at a concert venue in Manchester, UK, in what is being treated as a suspected terrorist incident.

Around 60 others were injured in the explosion at the Manchester Arena in northern England on Monday night.

Panic and chaos followed as thousands of mainly teenage concert goers tried to escape following the blast.

“It was a huge explosion – you could feel it in your chest. It was chaotic. Everybody was running and screaming and trying to get out” – said one witness.

It appears to have been centred on the Arena’s box office and happened following a performance by the singer Ariana Grande. The 23 year-old American is said to be safe.

Witnesses said they noticed the floor was covered in nails, nuts and bolts. Paramedics confirmed they had treated some of the wounded for “shrapnel-like injuries”.

Greater Manchester Police quickly secured the area including the nearby Victoria railway station where all trains were cancelled.

Some hours later a precautionary controlled explosion in the Cathedral Garden area of the city was carried out. Police have now confirmed it was not a suspicious item.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police:

“We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information. We are working closely with national counter terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners. This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. We are doing all that we can working with local and national agencies to support those affected.”

Dozens of people were taken to hospitals across the city as desperate parents and friends took to social media to try and find missing teenagers.

Prime Minister Theresa May has suspended her general election campaigning and is to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee later today.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party said he would also cease campaigning.

Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in Europe, opened in 1995 and has a capacity for 21,000 people, according to its website. It is a popular concert and sporting venue.

Lere Thomas

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