Manchester Arena Suicide Bombing: 22 Die at Ariana Grande Concert

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  •  As Thailand reassures foreigners following Bangkok hospital attack

Children were among 22 people killed in a suicide attack after an Ariana Grande concert at Britain’s Manchester Arena, police said early Tuesday.

The bomber also died when he detonated an improvised explosive device near one of the venue’s exits at 10:33 p.m. local time (5:33 p.m. ET) on Monday, according to authorities.

Officials said 59 other people were wounded, including some with life-threatening injuries. Many others remained missing.

The incident sparked a nightlong search for loved ones as frantic parents tried to locate their children, and groups of friends scattered by the explosion sought each other.

Video shot inside the 21,000-capacity venue showed teenagers screaming as they made their way out amid a sea of pink balloons. Some fans were still wearing the pop star’s trademark kitten ears as they fled.

“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins told reporters. “Our priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

Police later confirmed a 23-year-old man had been arrested in Manchester in connection of the attack.

Rohit Kachroo, security editor for NBC News’ U.K. partner ITV News, reported that nuts and bolts were spotted in the arena’s foyer but police would not comment on whether victims had suffered wounds from shrapnel.

More than 400 officers were deployed in what Hopkins described as a “fast-moving investigation.”

In the meantime, Thailand`s foreign ministry on Tuesday reassured the international community that the country would increase security at sensitive locations a day after a bomb exploded at a hospital in the capital Bangkok wounding 24 people.

Thailand has been ruled by a junta since a May 2014 coup. The attack on Monday coincided with the third anniversary of the takeover and the army has blamed the incident on groups opposed to military rule.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack which happened at the military-owned Phramongkutklao Hospital.

“Bombs will have an impact anywhere,” Thailand`s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told reporters on Tuesday.

“Any action at a hospital violates human rights … I would like the foreigners to know that security forces are looking after this,” he said.

“We didn`t want this to happen. If we can catch those behind this even better,” he added.

One of the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia, Thailand attracted 32.6 million visitors last year, a rise of nearly 9 percent from the previous year.

The country`s beaches and city destinations continue to lure travellers with Chinese making up the largest group of tourists.

But Thailand has been rocked by attacks, including a series of explosions last year at popular beach locations, which cast a shadow over Thailand`s safety credentials.

The beach attacks killed four people and wounded dozens, a day after Thais voted overwhelmingly to accept a military-backed constitution that critics said would only serve to entrench military power.

Thailand`s military seized power on May 22, 2014, to end months of street action aimed at overthrowing a populist movement that had won several national elections since 2001.

The coup was the 12th military takeover since 1932 when Thailand saw the end of an absolute monarchy.

Junta spokesman Winthai Suvaree said security would be increased following Monday`s attack.

“Any security measures that are not working will need to change,” junta spokesman Winthai told reporters at Bangkok`s Government House.

On May 15, a small bomb went off near the National Theatre in Bangkok`s old quarter, wounding two people. It was not clear who was behind the bomb. An explosion outside a former government lottery office on April 5 wounded two others.

Army chief Chalermchai Sitthisat said on Monday that he believed the two attacks were linked to the hospital attack, adding that the materials used to make the bombs were the same.

NBC with additional report from Zee

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