The ISIS terror group has not claimed responsibility for an explosion that left at least 19 dead and 50 wounded at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, but its supporters are “celebrating” the incident on social media, according to experts.
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, tweeted, “No claim regarding blasting in Manchester, but ISIS accounts celebrating the attack, disseminating media and threats.”
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) May 23, 2017
ISIS supporters often celebrate attacks and incidents that injure multiple people in the West, but that does not always mean the terror group is behind the incident. In several cases, ISIS supporters who have carried out attacks have been claimed by the group as its “soldier,” while no evidence of any direct contact between the terror group and the supporter can be found. At this point there has been no statement from official ISIS sources, including its Amaq news agency. ISIS has called for attacks on concert venues, like its coordinated assault on the Bataclan, and has tried to inspire homegrown terrorists in the West, including in Britain.
— Michael S. Smith II (@MichaelSSmithII) May 23, 2017
Ariana Grande was not among those injured, her representatives said. The incident reported about 10:30 p.m. local time, after Grande left the stage and houselights came on, while people were beginning to exit the arena. About 20,000 people were in attendance at the sold-out show, including many teenagers and young people who came to see the pop star perform.
“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the police department said in a statement. The North West Counter Terrorism Unit is treating the incident as a possible terrorist incident and is investigating, the BBC reports.