By Sarah Townsend
At least 22 people were killed in the explosion at Manchester Arena on Monday night
UAE expats from Manchester have told of their shock and horror at the suspected suicide bombing at a pop concert in their home city late on Monday night.
At least 22 people were killed in the explosion at Manchester Arena (MEN), in what has been described as the worst terror incident on British soil since the London bombings of 2005.
Fifty-nine others were injured in the attack carried out by one man, who died after detonating an explosive, the head of Greater Manchester Police said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
The bombing targeted the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena after a concert by 23-year-old actor turned singer Ariana Grande, packed with teenagers and children.
Dubai-based expat Alex Malouf told Arabian Business: “My thoughts are with all those who were at the concert last night, and those who have been impacted by this horrific act.
“I still have family and friends back in the area, but none at the concert last night.
“Manchester is such a diverse area, and there's good relations between the different communities in the city and the region. The city has experienced bombings before (I remember when the Arndale [shopping centre] was bombed [by the IRA in 1996]), but what is appalling is that a concert for teenagers and children was targeted. Who would do this?”
A female Dubai expat from Manchester, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I lived very close to the MEN and worked in the city centre before I moved to Dubai last year.
“I have many friends who have been told to work from home and not to head into the city centre. Nobody I know was at the concert, fortunately.
“I think Manchester is great city to live in and this sad day won’t change that, it will bring people together. But it does really seem more shocking to target kids and families.”
Meanwhile, Anushka Moore, a 28-year-old Manchester resident who was at the concert on Monday night, told Arabian Business that the concert had finished, the lights had come on and everybody was making their way to the exists when she heard a “loud boom”.
Moore said her and her friend “paused for a second to assess the situation and then saw the crowd split, people start to scream and run”.
“It’s absolutely awful and has really shaken not only the city but the world to its core because the majority of the people at the concert were little kids,” she added.
“Kids were targeted – possibly killed or separated from their parents – and still haven’t been found. It’s absolutely devastating. This is probably the biggest tragedy to happen to Manchester since the terror attacks of 1996.”
The UAE government condemned the attack in a statement on the WAM news agency on Tuesday. The statement stressed the UAE’s support for the British government and called for “intensified and concerted efforts of the international community to ensure the eradication of the serious scourge of terrorism that is contrary to all moral and humanitarian values”.
Dubai-based Malouf added: “My one hope is that this brings together everyone in the North West and the country, to tackle the reasons behind the bombing, and that it brings different communities as one, to say we will never accept or tolerate such atrocities. It was good to see people from all over the North West offering support such as rooms and transportation all of last night and this morning.