1210 GMT November 19, 2019
British Prime Minister Theresa May said police know the identity of the bomber, who died in the blast late Monday, and believed he acted alone. However, police arrested a 23-year-old man on Tuesday morning in connection with the attack, AFP reported.
Screaming fans, many of them teenagers, fled the venue in panic after the explosion at the end of a sold-out concert by US star Ariana Grande in the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, in northwestern England.
"A single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately," May said in a statement outside Downing Street after an emergency ministerial meeting.
While 22 people have been confirmed dead, many of the 59 people injured have life-threatening conditions, May said.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing bodies on the floor after the blast around 10:30pm (2130 GMT) on Monday, and some fans were trampled as panicked crowds tried to flee the venue.
The attack, claimed by the Daesh terror group, was the deadliest in Britain since July 7, 2005 when four suicide bombers inspired by Al-Qaeda attacked London's transport system during rush hour, killing 52 people and wounding 700 more.
May said it was "a callous terrorist attack", conducted with "appalling, sickening cowardice" and Queen Elizabeth condemned it as an "act of barbarity."
Britain's national terror threat level has been "severe", meaning an attack is highly likely, since August 2014, and May said this would remain unchanged, but under review.
Campaigning for the June 8 general election, in which May's Conservatives are expected to regain power, has been suspended.
World leaders including US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed condolences. Iran strongly condemned the attack.
Terror has one origin
The spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said acts of terrorism, whether targeting Iran or the United Kingdom, originate from one source.
Speaking on Tuesday, Bahram Qassemi strongly condemned a terrorist attack at the concert hall in Manchester, and said the origin of that attack was the same as the source of a recent raid that killed 11 Iranian border guards in the city of Mirjaveh on April 26.
“We believe that the taproot and the ideological origin of terrorist incidents in Iran’s Mirjaveh and the UK’s Manchester is one and the same,” Qassemi said.
While he did not elaborate, his remarks were most likely a reference to Saudi Arabia.
Qassemi said, “A serious, purposeful, and honest fight is needed [against terrorism] with the unity and [combined] determination of all countries that are victimized by the extremist and Takfiri ideology of these [terrorist] groups.”
He also made a tacit reference to a so-called anti-terror coalition formed by Saudi Arabia and said, “One result of [establishing] nominal and interest-based coalitions and of giving the wrong directions regarding the foundations... of terrorism is its (terrorism’s) cancerous spread all over the world.”