Last updated: Tuesday, May 23rd; 5 am Manchester UK time. Please check back for ongoing updates.
Pop superstar Ariana Grande is now safely alive and uninjured following a grisly terrorist attack in Manchester, UK. But she’s reportedly deeply shaken, with next steps on her tour uncertain.
The attack, which appears to be a suicide bombing, rocked the venue Monday night immediately after the concert concluded.
“Ariana is okay,” a representative from Grande’s record label, Republic Records, told the LA Times.
Grande may have been a target the attacks, given her high prile. Other performers have not been accounted for as this writing.
The explosion, which is being treated as a terrorist attack, hit Manchester Arena shortly after the performance concluded. Manchester police estimated the explosion occurred at 10:33 pm, Manchester time. Fans immediately rushed the exits the Manchester Arena after the explosion, though 20 have already been declared dead.
Most the attendees were teenagers or pre-teenagers, though many were accompanied by their parents.
As this writing, the death count at the venue has reached 19, with 60 reported injured. Those numbers appear to be climbing, with police still clawing through wreckage and helping survivors.
Prime Minister Theresa May has called the explosion “an appalling terrorist attack,” and other leaders are chiming in. At this point it appears that the explosion was an act Islamic extremist terrorism. The remains a male perpetrator have been identified, though more information on the suspect remains unavailable.
The US Department Homeland Security says there’s no intel to suggest similar threats in the US. President Donald Trump, who is wrapping a tour the Middle East and Israel, has not issued a statement on the matter.
The Manchester Police have updated their original statement on the blast as follows.
Anyone concerned about loved ones should call the following emergency number: 0161 856 9400. This is not for general updates.
The attack follows a devastating act terrorism in Paris. In November 2015, Islamic extremists invaded the Bataclan, gunning down attendees at an Eagles Death Metal show. That was part a broader, city-wide assault, though so far, the Manchester attack does not appear part a broader massacre.
Ariana Grande Shaken, Fragile, ‘Broken’
Concertgoers described a massive, deafening blast immediately after the event concluded. It’s unclear if Ariana Grande herself was a target. Artists Victoria Monét and Bia were opening acts, and appear to be safe.
Meanwhile, police have widened the perimeter around the Arena, though no further explosions have occurred.
At this stage, it’s unclear if the Grande tour will roll on.
The singer is slated to play Thursday at the O2 Arena in London, though it’s unclear if that date will be cancelled. According to reports, Ariana Grande has been seriously traumatized by the blast, with a mental state that is undoubtedly shaken.
“Broken,” Grande tweeted after the attack. “From the bottom my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”
In the case Eagles Death Metal, the blasts at the Bataclan proved devastating to the members on stage. In a subsequent interview with Vice, lead singer Jesse Hughes betrayed a fragile mental state. Ultimately, he accused the Bataclan venue itself orchestrating an inside job.
Hughes has performed again, but clearly struggled. He was denied re-entry to the Bataclan’s re-opening, and banned by other festivals and venues following controversial statements against Islamic extremists. Strangely, his comments were tentimes factual, and extremely grisly accounts what actually happened on that fateful night.