A multi-faith vigil held in the city center saw prayers for the victims of Monday evening’s Daesh-claimed terror atrocity at Manchester Arena, at the close of a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande.
The vigil was attended by Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh leaders, and followed global messages of condemnation of the attack — including from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations.
Newly elected mayor Andy Burnham, a former Labour Party Cabinet member, called the vigil in the city’s Albert Square.
He earlier praised the positive reaction of the city’s residents, declaring: “Even in the minutes after the attack they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger. They have the best possible response to those who seek to divide us. And it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”
Dave Haslam, former DJ at Manchester’s once-legendary Hacienda nightclub, tweeted: “You’ve got the wrong city if you think hate will tear us apart.”
Police on Tuesday named 22-year-old Salman Abedi — reportedly British-born of Libyan descent — as the suspect behind a suicide bombing.
Eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos and teenager Georgina Callander were among the first of at least 22 people to be confirmed dead in the terror attack. Another 59 people were taken to hospital, many with life-threatening conditions.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday joined Arab and Muslim world leaders in condemning the terrorist attack.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement reaffirming the Kingdom’s solidarity with the UK and underscored the importance of pooling together international efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and extremism.
The Saudi ambassador to the UK also conveyed Saudi Arabia’s sincere condolences over what he described as a “cowardly” attack.
Queen Elizabeth II condemned the Manchester attack as an “act of barbarity” and observed a minute's silence at a Buckingham Palace garden reception.
US President Donald Trump said during a visit to Bethlehem: “So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers.”
Though Daesh claimed the attack, terrorism expert Lee Marsden, a professor at the University of East Anglia in the UK, said it was not yet clear whether the extremist group had any operational involvement in the bombing.
But he said attacks of this nature are likely to become more frequent as the extremist terror group loses ground in the Middle East.
“As Daesh is facing defeat in Iraq and Syria and foreign fighters return home then the propensity for such attacks is likely to increase,” Marsden told Arab News.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the bombing a “callous terrorist attack... that targeted some of the youngest people in our society.”
The attack is the deadliest terror assault on Britain since four militants killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.
The UK national terror threat level has been elevated from “severe” to the top level “critical,” which means that an attack is underway or imminent.
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