Police have identified the suicide bomber who carried out Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack since 2005, an explosion that killed 22 people and injured 59 others.
The attacker, Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a homemade bomb at around 10:30 p.m on Monday near the foyer of Manchester Arena as children, teenagers and parents exited an Ariana Grande concert.
Several news outlets have revealed the assailant as a British national of Libyan descent, but police officials have declined to provide any further details.
Among his victims were eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who attended the concert with her mother Lisa and sister Ashlee Bromwich.
Saffie has since been described by her school as “simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word.”
“She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly. Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair,” Chris Upton, her headteacher, said.
Her mother and sister are currently being treated for injuries in hospital, according to friends.
Earlier, Georgina Callander, 18, was confirmed as another fatality.
Before attending the concert in Manchester, she sent a Twitter message to the American-based performer, saying: "SO EXCITED TO SEE U TOMORROW".
And in August last year, the superfan sent out a heartbreakingly eerie tweet, writing: “@ArianaGrande i miss you sooo much - can wait to see you on the dw tour, its gonna kill me.”
John Atkinson, 26, has also been named as one of the many killed when leaving the highly-anticipated concert.
Tributes have begun to flood in for the young victim, with one friend describing him as a “one in a million” man.
“Truly devastated for them all. What an amazing lovely man he was and blessed to have known him,” one friend said.
While another wrote: "You may of broke our heart but you're never break our spirit r.i.p. Manchester and my heart goes out to John and the Atkinson Family & friends.”
The militant group Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released on social media in both English and Arabic.
“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah (Caliphate) managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the crusaders in the British City of Manchester, in revenge of Allah’s religion, in an endeavour to terrorise the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims,” the statement read.
“The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 (sic) crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded.”
“And what comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of creation.”
More as we get it.