Dutch PM, terrorism boss call Manchester explosion "terrible"; 22 killed, over 50 injured
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and counterterrorism coordinator Dick Schoof both called an apparent attack in Manchester on Monday "terrible". At least 22 people were killed and over 50 were wounded in an explosion shortly after an Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena. The English authorities are "treating it as a terrorist attack until we know something else", the police said, RTL Nieuws reports.
The victims include children. The police currently believe it was a suicide bombing.
"Terrible news from Manchester, where a beautiful evening ended in a drama", Rutte said on Twitter. "Our thoughts are with the victims. Expressed our sympathy to Prime Minister May."
"Police assume an attack in Manchester. Terrible deed at a concert with many children. We are following the situation closely", Schoof, the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security in the Netherlands, tweeted. "In Netherlands we already have visible and invisible measures. Threat level in the Netherlands stays 4 out of 5."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely following developments in Manchester and is trying to find out whether any Dutch were involved. As far as is known, this was not the case. The Ministry also hasn't received any calls from worried relatives.
According to the Manchester police, the explosion happened around 10:30 p.m. on Monday night, just after the end of the concert. The concert was attended by many teenagers and their parents. Ariana Grande responded to the possible attack on Twitter. "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don't have words." she tweeted. Grande had two shows in Amsterdam last week.
British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her sympathies to the victims and their relatives. She and her cabinet will have an emergency debate on the matter on Tuesday morning. She emphasized that the authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the explosion, but for now it is considered an "appalling terrorist attack".
Football team Manchester United responded on Twitter: We are deeply shocked by last night's terrible events at the Manchester Arena. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected." Manchester United is playing against Ajax in the Europa League finals in Stockholm tomorrow. As yet it is not yet clear whether any additional security measures will be implemented at the match following the explosion. A Manchester United fan Twitter account reacted to the attack with the words: "We will not be defeated, we will stand strong, we are Manchester."