Islamic State Claims Manchester Attack, Police Arrest Suspect
Near universal condemnation for the attack; Trump derides attackers as “losers.”
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed 22 and wounded 59 at a concert in Manchester Monday night, and the British police said they arrested a suspected linked to the attack, and said they believe they know the bomber’s identity.
Many of the victims were young girls; an eight-year old was among the first victims named. It was the worst terror attack in Britain in 12 years.
“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,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May. Like Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, May suspended campaigning for the June general election in the wake of the attack.
President Donald Trump, speaking with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during his Middle East visit, said, “We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom. So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are. They’re losers.”
In a phone call with May, Trump reaffirmed America’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and to the United Kingdom. Trump will see May in person in Brussels for a NATO meeting later this week.
French President Emmanuel Macron went to the British embassy in Paris to offer support, and to promise improved European intelligence cooperation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called off a pre-election campaign beer event in Munich and said in a statement, “I assure the people in Britain: Germany stands by your side.” Pope Francis, with whom Trump will meet at the Vatican on Wednesday, called the attack “barbaric.” Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo tweeted, “Terrorism has once again affected the innocent. A monstrous act of violence to which there can be no consent.”
Russia, for its part, used the attack to chide Britain for not embracing closer counterterrorism cooperation with Moscow.
“Unfortunately, what happened in Manchester was a lesson to the British intelligence services that without the help of other countries, their work will fail,” said Viktor Ozerov, who heads Russia’s Federation Council’s Defense Committee.
Photo credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images