Twenty-two people have been killed and and 59 injured in a suicide attack at Manchester Arena.
The blast occurred at 22.33 BST on Monday at the end of a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande.
As many as 60 ambulances attended the scene, with the wounded treated at six hospitals around the city.
Manchester police say a lone male attacker detonated a homemade explosive device in the foyer of the arena, close to the entrance to Victoria railway and tram station, just as people started to leave the concert. He died in the explosion.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said:
“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.
“Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives. Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones. We continue to do all we can to support them. They are being treated at eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.
“This is a fast-moving investigation and we have significant resources deployed to both the investigation and the visible patrols that people will see across Greater Manchester as they wake up to news of the events last night. This will include armed officers as people would expect. More than 400 officers have been involved in this operation during the night.”
Eyewitnesses and victims described hearing a loud “bang” and a scene of “terror” and seeing “nuts and bolts” amongst the blood and debris.
The prime minister has chaired an emergency Cobra committee meeting and is expected to travel to Manchester later today. Flags arouond the country are flying at half mast in remembrance of those who lost their lives.
Friends an relatives are using the #MissingInManchester hashtag on social media to try and contact their loved ones. Police have established two emergency numbers, 0161 856 9400 and 0161 856 9900, a help centre at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, access Gate 11, to help anyone who needs assistance in tracing loved ones.
Ariana Grande tweeted her sadness at the events that unfolded after her performance:
“Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words”
In response to the incident, Manchester residents and local businesses rallied to help. Many Manchester residents offered those stranded to stay at their house, local hotels and bars gave people meeting points and places to stay and regroup, and taxi drivers offering their services for free.