Manchester Arena Bombing: Death Toll Rises As ISIS Claims Responsibility, Suicide Bomber Identified

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has claimed responsibility for what is now known to be a suicide bomber terrorist attack outside the Manchester Arena in England on Monday (May 22) night that killed 22 and injured at least another 59 people. Greater Manchester Police have also announced that the identity of the suicide has been confirmed.

USA Today reported that authorities in Manchester, England, had identified the suspected suicide bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi within a few hours of bombing. Moments after the identification was confirmed, Greater Manchester Police also announced that a 23-year-old man had been arrested in south Manchester in connection with the bombing, according to the Independent. There is as yet no information whether or not the arrested man was actually working with Abedi or had knowledge of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

A few hours later, ISIS released a statement, according to ABC News, claiming responsibility for the Manchester Arena bombing, which took place just moments after an Ariana Grande concert had ended. The bombing, which occurred outside the venue (contrary to early reports that a bomb had gone off inside the Arena itself), caught concert-goers as the exited the stadium. Police immediately locked down the area, including shutting down the Victoria Station trains located just beneath the arena and began their investigations, treating the explosion as a terrorist attack.

The ISIS statement, which has been translated from its original Arabic, claimed that a “soldier of the caliphate” had positioned explosives at a gathering of “crusaders” — an extremist reference to Christians — at the Manchester Arena. The statement also boasted that the detonation had killed about 30 people and that about 70 others had been wounded.

The actual casualty count lists 22 dead and 59 wounded. However, those numbers can change as more information is processed, not to mention those injured that may subsequently die from the wounds received during the terrorist attack.

Manchester Arena bomging first responders arrive

The Manchester bombing, if found to be connected to ISIS, follows an intense effort by the Islamic State (as reported by The Inquisitr), which is in the process of having its territory in the Middle East militarily diminished by various coalitions, to encourage those who would join its cause to carry out terrorist attacks in their home countries (as opposed to joining the fighting in Syria and Iraq).

The man suspected of being the suicide bomber is believed by police to be a solo attacker. Salman Abedi died at the scene following the detonation of an improvised explosive device, British officials said. However, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said that police are still attempting to determine if he acted alone or was part of a group about the incident.

The suspected terrorist attack occurred at around 10:35 p.m., according to Greater Manchester Police, just outside the foyer of the Manchester Arena.

Prime Minister May, in addressing the Manchester bombing, said (per The Independent) the suicide bomber had chosen the time and place of his attack to cause “maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately.”

People leaving Manchester Arena under police escort

Police have reported that there were 12 children under the age of 16 that were seriously injured in the blast.

Among the dead and one of the first of the victims to be identified was an 8-year-old girl named Saffie Rose Roussos.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of Greater Manchester Police said of the bombing, according to USA Today: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.”

He added that a “complex and wide-ranging investigation” had been launched to discover the scope of the Manchester Arena bombing attack.

[Featured Image by Dave Thompson/Getty Images]