Manchester is one of the great cities of the United Kingdom. Last night, it was the venue for a pop concert starring the American singer Ariana Grande, attended by thousands of happy young children and adults, people from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds as Manchester is a very diverse city.
As they were leaving, many were killed by an explosion. At the time of writing, the death toll stands at 22, including adults and children.
The police have confirmed that this was a terrorist incident, carried out by a single suicide bomber. No further details have yet been released regarding the identity of the bomber, and we can assume that the police will be making every effort to identify whether there were accomplices.
In the days to come, there will be ample time for analysis and policy prescriptions.
Today, the thoughts and prayers of all of us are with the victims, their families and friends.
Today we also pay tribute to those from all religious and ethnic backgrounds in our police service, in our medical teams and those from all walks of life who responded to this emergency with a shared common aim - to help and protect the victims of this most horrific of crimes.
We will defeat this scourge by standing together, united against acts of terrorism.
Telephone: Shaheen Thantrey on 020 7984 8248
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