British Prime Minister Theresa May says the suicide attack "stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice"
Authorities in Britain believe they know the identity of the man who launched a suicide attack in Manchester, killing 22 people and injuring nearly 60 others.
Speaking outside number 10 Downing Street in London, the British Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities are restricted from releasing his details “at this stage of our investigations.”
The Islamic State group has now claimed responsibility for the attack.
It is believed the attack was carried out by a lone male suicide bomber who was carrying an improvised explosive device.
He is believed to have died in the attack.
Separately, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack.
“It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack,” said Mrs May.
“This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom and although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way it is the worst attack the city has experienced and the worst ever to hit the north of England."
She said the threat level for international terrorism in the UK remains at ‘severe’ and praised the emergency services for their response overnight.
She said there were “many young children and young people” among those killed or injured in an attack that “targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.”
“The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert which was attended by many young families and groups of children,” she said.
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice; deliberately targeting innocent defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.
She said police and security services will be provided with all the resources they need to continue their investigations – adding that it is important to find out whether the attacker was acting alone or as part of a group.
“We can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future,” she said.
“To take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence - and if there turns out to be others responsible for this attack to seek them out and bring them to justice.”
She said many friends and relatives of those caught up in the attack are “still trying to find out what has happened to their children, brothers and sisters, parents and loved ones.”
“So please think of those who are experiencing unimaginable worry and if you have any information at all relating to the attack please contact Greater Manchester Police,” she said.
Meanwhile Britain’s Queen Elizabeth said “the whole nation” had been shocked by the death and injury suffered by “so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert.”
“I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured,” she said.
“I want to thank all the members of the emergency services, who have responded with such professionalism and care and I would like to express my admiration for the way the people of Manchester have responded, with humanity and compassion, to this act of barbarity.”
In Dublin, the Minister for foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said the attack was a "deliberate, callous, targeting of young children and teenagers" adding that there is no evidence of any Irish citizens caught up in the violence.
Anyone with concerns for Irish citizens in Manchester can contact the Irish embassy in London on +44-207-2358-2171 or the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on 01-408-2000