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22 Killed, Dozens Injured in Manchester Area Blast; British Prime Minister Theresa May Speaks. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired May 23, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, May 23, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we do begin with breaking news.
[05:59:19] At least 22 people killed, including children, dozens more are injured in this terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. This was a chaotic scene. You can see it on your screen. It unfolded when an explosion occurred just after the pop singer finished performing at the Manchester arena. This is the deadliest attack on British soil since the subway bombing there in 2005.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Now those were, of course, coordinated attacks, and that's the big question right now for investigators. Who was this bomber? Was there help?
The device, of course, suggests some level of sophistication. This arena holds 21,000. Many people are still unaccounted for. The numbers that you hear will likely change in terms of the victims.
Now, right now police are focusing on just one lone suicide bomber, who was uniquely positioned in this enclosed area that connects the concert hall to Victoria Station, the big metro station. So that was the right place to be if you are up to this type of evil.
People around the world are reacting to the attack, including President Trump, who is in Israel this hour. We have it all covered.
Let's go first to CNN's Clarissa Ward in Manchester -- Clarissa.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
Well, this is as close as we can get to the arena, because police have still cordoned off this entire area. But as you said, this is a huge venue, and last night it was packed. Many of the people attending this concert, Ariana Grande very popular with the tween audience. A lot of young girls, eight, nine, ten years old. And it was packed, as I said, at about 10:33 p.m. That's when the chaos unfolded. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on? Oh, my gosh. WARD (voice-over): A deadly explosion rocking Manchester arena in
England. The blast sending panicked concertgoers, including many young fans of pop singer Ariana Grande, running for the exits and jumping over barricades.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was just bodies scattered about everywhere, at least 20, 30 people on the floor that you could see. They were just -- just dead.
WARD: Police now investigating the incident as an act of terror carried out by one male suicide bomber.
CHIEF CONSTABLE IAN HOPKINS, GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE: We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated, causing this atrocity.
WARD: The attacker died at the scene after detonating the device in an area near the box office outside the arena at 10:33 p.m. as the concert ended.
JAIMA WALTER, WITNESS: There was just a mad rush to get out, because nobody knew what was happening.
WARD: Parents screaming, frantically searching for their children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was just mayhem on the streets. There were children crying, trying to get in contact with the parents. There were parents on their phone, who obviously were upset. They were crying, trying to get in contact with the kids. Bu tit was just an awful, awful thing to witness.
WARD: The attack leaving many traumatized, especially the children.
CAROL LONG, WITNESS: She's just petrified that whoever did this will come to the house or go to her school. She's just -- she's devastated. For her to, at 10 years old, to witness something like that is just horrific.
WARD: One mother in anguish pleading for help finding her missing 15- year-old daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the most horrible feeling ever. You know that your daughter's there. You can't find her. You don't know if she's dead or alive. I don't know how people can do this to innocent children.
WARD: The city left reeling from the tragedy.
SIR RICHARD CHARLES LEESE, LEADER, MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL: A dark day, yes. But it's something that Manchester, in its own unique way, will make sure that we turn into a strength for us as a city by working together.
WARD: Authorities now have two main focuses, the first, of course, is trying to help people who are still missing their loved ones, who became separated during the chaos of last night's event.
And of course, the second one is to try to identify who this lone male suicide bomber was and to work out whether or not there was a larger network providing him with financial and technical support -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. The U.K. leader Theresa May, speaking right now. Let's listen in.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack, an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation. This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom.
And although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced and the worst ever to hit the north of England.
The police and security services are working at speed to establish the complete picture, but I want to tell you what I can at this stage.
At 10:33 last night, they police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester arena in Manchester city center near Victoria Train Station. We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately. The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert which was attended by many young families and groups of children.
[06:05:30] All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people. But this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.
As things stand, I can tell you that, in addition to the attacker, 22 people have died and 59 people have been injured. Those who were injured are being treated in eight different hospitals across greater Manchester. Many are being treated for life threatening conditions. And we know that among those killed and injured were many children and young people.
We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.
But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future. To take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence. And if there turn out to be others responsible for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice.
The police and security services believe that the attack was carried out by one man, but they now need to know whether he was acting alone for his part of a wider group. It will take some time to establish these facts, and the investigation will continue. The police and security services will be given all the resources they need to complete that task. The police and security services believe they know the identity of the perpetrator. But at this stage of their investigations, we cannot confirm his name.
The police and emergency services have, as always, acted with great courage. And on behalf of the country, I want to express our gratitude to them. They acted in accordance with the plans they have in place and exercises they conduct to test those plans, and they performed with the utmost professionalism.
Four hundred police officers were involved in the operation through the night. And many paramedics, doctors, and nurses have worked valiantly, amid traumatic and terrible scenes, to save lives and care for the wounded. Significant resources have been deployed to the police investigation, and there continue to be visible patrols around Manchester, which include the deployment of armed officers.
For people who live and work in Manchester, there remains a large cordon in place around Manchester Arena and Victoria Station, which will be in place for some time. The station is closed and will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is under way.
We know that many friends and relatives of people caught up in the attack are still trying to find out what has happened to their children, brothers and sisters, parents, and loved ones.
So please, think of those people who are experiencing unimaginable worry. And if you have any information at all relating to the attack, please contact greater Manchester police.
The threat level remains at severe. That means that a terrorist attack remains highly likely. But the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Center, which sets the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available to them, will continue to assess this throughout today and in the days ahead.
Later today I will travel to Manchester to meet the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and members of the emergency services who have come to Manchester's aid in its moment of need.
And as I announced last night, the general election campaign has been suspended. I will chair another meeting of COBRA later today.
At terrible moments like these, it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again does not make it any less true.
For us, so often while we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. [06:10:19] And in the days ahead, those must be the things we
remember. The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help. Of the men and women of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to bring comfort to help and to save lives. Of the messages of solidarity and hope, of all those who opened their homes to the victims, for they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain, a spirit that, through years of conflict and terrorism, has never been broken and will never be broken.
There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work, and we all, every single one of us, stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time. And today, let us remember those who died, and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win; and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail.
CUOMO: Theresa May reassuring the people there, having suffered through this alleged terror attack in Manchester, saying the terrorists will never win. Our way of life will always prevail.
President Trump also speaking out about the situation. He spoke to the British leader earlier, offering condolences. The president is in Jerusalem right now, laying a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. Earlier he used strong words to condemn this attack while speaking alongside the Palestinian president. Here's a sample.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. And we'll have more of them. But they're losers, just remember that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. Let's bring back our panel in. We can discuss this with Clarissa Ward. She's back with us, as well as CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour; and CNN terrorism analyst and editor in chief of CTC Sentinel, Paul Cruickshank.
Paul, what's the latest that your sources are telling you in terms of intelligence?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, the most important thing we've learned now is that the police have -- I think they've identified the individual who carried out this attack. They need to confirm that, obviously. But that's very important, because that will give them a big head start now in terms of interviewing associates of this individual, of going to properties, residences connected to this individual, looking at the social media and trying to see if there's any network behind this attack.
The concern is if there is a network out there, there may be other individuals connected to that network, that cell, who may move forward with attacks in the hours ahead. So they want to better understand this, and they also want to prevent more bloodshed.
CUOMO: Who has he been talking to, always one of the first questions the investigators ask.
Christiane, Theresa May didn't mention ISIS. There has been no claim of responsibility for this attack. Yet, she spoke generally about the threat and said one line in there that I'm sure was meant by many years in recognition there in the U.K., which is just because I've had to give you this message of resilience before doesn't make it any less true. There has been a string of attacks there now. It must be withering.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. I mean, there has been. And she actually also said that the threat level remains severe, which means another terrorist attack is likely, and she says that they will continue to keep assessing that.
We have to keep saying that the intelligence people, that intelligence and security leaders over many months have been saying that the terrorism threat is high, that it is a matter of when, not if, and that they have managed to foil so many attacks, but inevitably, something was going to get through. This is that something, because the Parliament, you know, vehicle and knife attack was not considered a classic terror attack. It was a one-off.
[06:15:24] But I think that, you know, what we're seeing is these, as we continue to watch in -- across Europe and even in the United States, there aren't any more 9/11-style massive attacks, highly- coordinated and deeply planned.
But the terrorism of today is these individuals and who may or may not have some help, and that's what the police are looking for right now. She did also say, of course, this is happening for the first time ever during an election campaign. And all parties have suspended their campaigning for that June 8th election until further notice.
CAMEROTA: Clarissa, you're in Manchester. Theresa May said this is not the first time Manchester has suffered this way. Tell us about Manchester. What is that community like?
WARD: Well, the Mancunians, as they're known to people, in Manchester are known for their resilience. This is not the first time they have been victims of terrorist attack. They did suffer a terrorist attack at the hands of the IRA many decades ago.
But we heard from the prime minister that this is certainly the worst attack not just in Manchester but in the whole northern part of the country and, indeed, one of the worst attacks in Great Britain. So there is a definite sense here that people are trying to go about
their normal lives, but you can see the look in their eyes. They're in shock. And not just because this was a terrorist attack, Alisyn, but because as you heard Prime Minister Theresa May say, this is a terror attack that deliberately appeared to target children. And this is what is so difficult, I think, for many people to try to wrap their heads around. Because Ariana Grande, of course, is a pop star who is very popular with the tween audience. A lot of the people in the audience were young families, were groups of children. I have seen walking around here eyewitnesses, some of whom were as young as 7 years old.
So make no mistake about it. This is a community that is on high alert. This is a community that is in shock. And this is a community that will be grieving for some time as police set about the important work of trying to ascertain whether or not this bomber, who they said they have identified, although they're choosing not to name him for now, whether or not there was an extended network who was supporting him financially, technologically, emotionally or otherwise.
CUOMO: So Paul what does it mean to you that no claim of responsibility by any organization yet. Then you see also the clues here on the ground, the timing obviously advantageous to the end of the concert. The location, that bottleneck point between the concert hall and the Victoria Station, and, of course, the device.
CRUICKSHANK: Well, it's early stages in terms of a claim of responsibility. We saw after the Westminster attack in March it took ISIS nearly a day to put out a statement after that attack, claiming some ownership in that attack.
But you're right. No claim of responsibility from any terror group. ISIS had their morning radio bulletin just a few hours ago, and there was no mention at all of the attack in Manchester.
Obviously, all signs pointing to Islamist terrorism, given that this was a suicide bombing. And the context here in the U.K. is there's a very elevated threat in recent weeks. There's been a spike in terror activity. They're making nearly one arrest a day in counterterrorism operations. Just last week in London four men were arrested. They thwarted a terror attack here in the council of the U.K. So a lot of concern as we move forward here.
CAMEROTA: We're seeing some activity happening in Manchester. These are live pictures. Clarissa, you're there. Do you have any idea what's happening on the streets of Manchester right now?
CUOMO: We don't have her right now. We're just showing you a live picture from Manchester, England. This is a very active investigation. We're told that the police believe they know the identity of the attacker. They haven't released it yet. Obviously, they're going to try and find out, Paul Cruickshank, who else is involved.
We had a similar incident yesterday for this, when the police had the second controlled explosion. The Manchester police put out warning about that.
You see the media moving in now. What do we know about how many different resources are involved on the U.K. side to figure out what happened here?
CRUICKSHANK: The entire counterterrorism apparatus of the country has been put into action here. This is perhaps the best in class in terms of international capability all around the world. They have a lot of experience, unfortunately, with these kinds of attacks going all the way back to the days of IRA terrorism in the 1970s.
[06:20:17] And the intelligence services and the police work very, very closely together in a coordinated fashion here in the U.K. to try to stop these kind of attacks but then to investigate them. Afterwards, they'll be taking advantage of the fact there's a huge amount of CCTV coverage in a place like Manchester, to try to retrace the footsteps of this attacker.
CAMEROTA: Well, Paul, hold on one second. Clarissa is back with us. Clarissa, do you know what's happening in that neighborhood?
WARD: Well, I mean, unsurprisingly, Alisyn, everyone here is on a high state of alert. There's a definite air of tension. And it often happens in these sort of days and hours after this kind of an attack that you'll see these, in this case apparently a false alarm. People began to run down the streets, screaming, "Move, move."
There is an elevated police presence over there. I don't know if our camera can just pan aside here. Walk with me over here. You can see in the background there there's an elevated police presence. Not sure exactly what that is and what exactly happened.
But as I said before, this is typical. This is common. We have all experienced this before for many of us who covered the Paris attacks. We were repeatedly in instances like this where it just takes one person, a moment of panic, a moment of fear to sort of set off a chain reaction. But so far things do appear to now be calm in the area after an initial flurry of activity, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. Clarissa, Christiana, Paul, thank you very much for all of the insight. Obviously, we'll check back with you during the course of this developing story.
So the terror in Manchester is unfolding just outside of an arena that was packed with children and teenagers because of the Ariana Grande concert. Coming up we have an eyewitness who took his little brother to the concert.
[06:25:48] CUOMO: Following breaking news. At latest count, 22 people have lost their lives. Dozens more are injured. Those numbers are likely to change after a terror bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in the U.K.
The concert had just ended at the Manchester arena. There were tons of kids, teenagers loved ones packed in the arena. It holds 21,000 people. We're told it was sold out, and many are still unaccounted for.
Joining us by phone is Andy James. Andy attended the concert with his 10-year-old brother Ellis. It was an early birthday pretty for him, his brother's first concert experience ever. We're also joined by Joel Goodman, a photographer who captured the explosion aftermath quick on the scene.
Andy James, tell us about the night before this happened.
ANDY JAMES, WITNESS (via phone): So, you know, we were just going into the arena. I think it was about 10 past 7 and, you know, we were just taking our seats, you know, seemingly unaware of, you know, what was just about to happen, really.
And we entered the arena, you know, later on when the explosion actually happened. And just took our seats. You know, really enjoyed the concert. He absolutely loved it.
And then come -- I think it was about 10:35, 10:40, we went to go and leave, went to go to the merchandise, to get some T-shirts and, you know, goodies and all that. And we were just about to walk up the stairs where the explosion happened. And then it just -- it rattled all the chairs and felt it in your chest. And, you know, it was terrifying. It was so loud.
CUOMO: Ellis is OK; you're OK. Is there anybody who you knew who became a worse victim of this situation?
JAMES: No, both of us are OK. I made sure that we got outside of the arena as soon as possible. You know, as soon as that happened, I just grabbed him straight away and just went in the opposite direction.
JAMES: I had been to the arena a couple of times before that, different events and stuff. So I just made sure we went in the opposite direction, got out as quick as possible, and then just got away from it all. I don't know anybody else that was affected. But you know, there's been a lot of posts on the social media this morning and last night, as well, about you know, people that were potentially being injured. And one of my friends actually works in one of the main hospitals in Manchester, as well, and said that there's just so many people in and out of the hospital today.
CUOMO: Yes. Eight different hospitals had to be used to handle the flow.
JAMES: That's right.
CUOMO: Many are still unaccounted for. What did you think it was when it happened?
JAMES: You know, as soon as it happened, something just clicks in your head. And, you know, straightaway with all the terrorism that's happening in the world right now, it's the first thing you think of. And you know, I just knew straightaway it was an explosion, and you know, something bad was about to happen. And you just have this feeling wherever you are, you're just like oh, God, this is actually happening. And I just told my brother that it was, you know -- he'd just been to a concert. So I just said to him that, you know, it was a balloon that had popped or something like that. Just to sort of keep him at ease. And he was really, really well-collected and kept himself together. He was really good for, you know, someone his age.
CUOMO: We'll get back to that in one second. That was the right advice at the time.
Joel Goodman, you hustled down to the scene. What did you see?
JOEL GOODMAN, WITNESS/PHOTOGRAPHER: I saw a bit of rather nasty scenes of people, walking wounded, I guess you would describe, who were injured, people with temporarily bandaged necks, knees, faces, heads, arms bleeding, being held by friends. People hobbling away or on the ground and emergency services, obviously, all over the place. Really, police, ambulance just running and doing their best to keep up with -- with some of the shocking events that Andy was describing.
CUOMO: We're showing photos that you took during and in the immediate moments after what you witnessed there on the ground. Where this took place, the nature of the response, what were your thoughts on those aspects?
GOODMAN: I mean, it's a location I know well. I work a lot in Manchester. And I photograph sometimes in southern Manchester Arena, as well.