An explosion that appeared to be a suicide bombing killed at least 22 people on Monday night and wounded 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert filled with adoring adolescent fans, in what the police were treating as a terrorist attack.
Panic and mayhem seized the crowd at the Manchester Arena as the blast reverberated through the building, just as the show was ending and pink balloons were dropping from the rafters in a signature flourish by Ms. Grande, a 23-year-old American pop star on an international tour.
Traumatized concertgoers, including children separated from parents, screamed and fled what appeared to be the deadliest episode of terrorism in Britain since the 2005 London transit bombings.
Speaking to reporters early Tuesday, Manchester’s chief constable, Ian Hopkins, said the police learned of the explosion around 10:33 p.m. Children were among those killed, he added, and the wounded were taken to eight hospitals.
Chief Constable Hopkins said that a man had detonated “an improvised explosive device” and had been killed in the blast. He said the police believed that the man had acted alone, but that they were trying to determine whether he had been part of a wider network. Other officials said the police were investigating reports that the device had used nuts and bolts as shrapnel.
The scene in central Manchester immediately evoked the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, which included a deadly assault inside the Bataclan concert hall, where the Eagles of Death Metal had been playing. But unlike the Bataclan show, the Manchester concert was filled with young teenagers.