An 8-year-old girl was among the 22 killed in a suicide bombing Monday night in Manchester, England, officials said. Dozens more were wounded in the attack. Saffie-Rose Roussos was attending the concert at Manchester Arena along with her mother and sister and died in the bombing. Just after the show concluded, according to reports, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device right outside the arena. The blast rocked the venue and killed nearly two dozen people. Scores more were left wounded by flying shrapnel. According to The Telegraph, Saffie-Rose’s mother, Lisa, and her older sister, Ashlee, are hospitalized and receiving treatment for shrapnel injuries.
“Saffie was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word. She was loved by everyone,” Chris Upton, the head teacher at her school told The Guardian. “Saffie was quiet and unassuming with a creative flair,” he added.
— Metro (@MetroUK) May 23, 2017
On Tuesday morning, ISIS claimed responsibility for the brutal attack, saying a “soldier of the Caliphate” carried out the bombing. U.K. Prime Minister in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump suggested that the attack was particularly “wanton and depraved,” a reference to the fact that terrorists had targeted a show attended largely by teenagers, a great many of them young girls.
Indeed, another victim who died in the bombing and named by officials is 18-year-old Georgina Callander, who, according to BuzzFeed News, died in the hospital from injuries suffered in the attack. Callander was a huge fan of Grande and had tweeted at her the day before the show, saying, “So excited to see you tomorrow.” About two years ago, Callander, along with a friend, met Grande and had her photo taken with the pop star, which she posted on her Instagram feed. Friends paid tribute to her on social media after news of her death spread. “Rest in peace Gina. I love you so incredibly much, you deserved the world and more. I’m so lucky to have met you and known you,” one grieving friend wrote on Twitter.
According to CBS News, authorities have identified 23-year-old Salman Abedi as the suicide bomber, a man whom British authorities were reportedly aware of prior to the attack. Abedi chose a soft target for the attack, an American pop star’s show that drew a large crowd of young girls and their parents. Many of the girls who were in attendance and emerged from the attack unscathed spoke out in the hours after the bombing and painted a picture of fear, chaos and lax security.
On ABC’s Good Morning America, Jessica PIerpoint and Elle Byrne fought back tears as they recounted the horrific experience. The girls said they didn’t know what exactly was going on, but there was total panic as concertgoers tried to flee the scene.
Describing their arrival at the venue, the girls described almost non-existent security measures, something that will no doubt be questioned in the aftermath. “I thought there would be more security,” Byrne told Robin Roberts, saying that stadium security workers gave a cursory glance at people’s bags as they entered, but not a close enough look to stop a potential threat. “Anyone could’ve took anything in,” she said.
Watch the interview with the girls below.