MANCHESTER, England – Investigators hunted Tuesday for possible accomplices of the suicide bomber who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people and sparking a stampede of young concertgoers, some still wearing the U.S. pop star’s trademark kitten ears and holding pink balloons.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and police said the bomber died in the attack on Manchester Arena — something that went unmentioned in the Islamic State claim, which also had discrepancies with the events described by British officials.
Manchester police chief Ian Hopkins identified the bombing suspect as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. British election rolls listed Abedi as living at a modest red brick semi-detached house in a mixed suburb of Manchester where police performed a controlled explosion Tuesday afternoon.
Neighbor Natalie Daley said she was frightened by a loud bang, then police yelling “get in your houses — get away from the windows!”
“When it’s like two seconds from your house, when you walk past it every day, you do live in fear,” Daley said.
Manchester, 160 miles northwest of London, is one of Britain’s largest cities and Manchester Arena is one of the world’s largest indoor concert venues.
The attack was the deadliest in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 London commuters on subway trains and a bus in July 2005. Campaigning for Britain’s June 8 national election was suspended.
The attack sparked a nightlong search for loved ones — parents for the children they had accompanied or had been waiting to pick up, and friends for each other after groups were scattered by the blast. Twitter and Facebook lit up with heartbreaking appeals for the missing.
Grande’s Dangerous Woman tour is her third one and supports her album. After Manchester, Grande was due to perform in London on Thursday and Friday, and later at venues in Europe, including Belgium, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and France, with concerts in Latin America and Asia to follow.
Grande’s tour has not been canceled or postponed despite reports online, said a person close to the situation, who was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic and so spoke on condition of anonymity.
The person said that Grande and her team are more focused on the victims at the moment.
Manchester itself has seen attacks before, but not this deadly. The city was hit by a huge Irish Republican Army bomb in 1996 that leveled a swath of the city center. More than 200 people were injured, although no one was killed.