At least 22 people have been killed, including children, and a further 59 injured in a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena last night.
The attack took place at around 10.30pm on Monday night in the arena foyer after the concert had finished, with medics treating injuries consistent with shrapnel injury.
"This is the most horrific incident we have ever faced," said chief constable Ian Hopkins at a press conference this morning. He confirmed that the explosion was the work of one man who died at the scene, and was believed to have used an improvised explosive device.
A 16-year-old girl called Georgina Callander, an eight-year-old girl named Saffie Rose Roussos and 26-year-old man John Atkinson have been named as the first three fatalities of the attack.
A 23-year-old man has been arrested near his home in the Manchester area in connection with the incident, and a controlled explosion has been carried out by police at and address in Fallowfield, in the south of Manchester, which they confirmed was also linked to the investigation.
The man responsible for the attack has now been named as Salman Ramadan Abedi, a 22 year-old Mancunian of Libyan descent. He lived in Elsmore Road, in Fallowfield.
This is the most deadly terrorist attack to hit Britain in a decade – since the 7/7 bombings on London’s transport network in which 52 people lost their lives.
Parents were separated from their children amid the chaos and confusion following the explosion. There are a number of people still missing, and friends and family are calling for help with any news of their whereabouts on social media.
Witness Majid Khan, 22, told the Guardian: “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.
“It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”
Theresa May chaired a Cobra meeting and appeared outside Downing Street this morning. She said that authorities believe they know the identity of the attacker, and told a press conference:
"All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice.
"We struggle to comprehend a warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish, but an opportunity for carnage."
The major parties have all agreed to suspend election campaigning until further notice.
Here is the full statement from leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn:
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has also suspended campaigning, calling the incident a “devastating” attack.
The police counter terrorism network and MI5 are working to investigate who was responsible for the attack, and whether they were part of a wider network.
Ariana Grande tweeted to say she was “broken” following the attack, while other musicians such as Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift have also expressed solidarity with those affected.
broken.— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 23, 2017
from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words.
My heart hurts for my sister, Ariana & every family affected by this tragic event in the U.K. Innocent lives lost. I'm so sorry to hear this— Chun-Li (@NICKIMINAJ) May 23, 2017
The citizens of Manchester have responded bravely to the attacks, and have been using social media to share information they have about missing people and offering places to stay for those in need.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has praised the attitude of the people, and was retweeting helpful advice throughout the night.
In a statement made earlier today, he called the attack “evil”, and added: “I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked through the night … I want to thank the people of Manchester: even in the minutes after the attack they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger … It will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”
If you were at the Manchester Arena and have footage you can help police by uploading it here.
Manchester’s local paper, the Manchester Evening News, has put together this list of everywhere you can donate blood in Greater Manchester.
The emergency number to call if you are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area is 0161 856 9400.