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Manchester Police Investigating Deadly Blast; At Least 19 Killed, 50 Wounded in Manchester Arena Blast. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 23, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:13] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.


Our breaking news this hour: police in Manchester, England are investigating a deadly explosion outside one of Britain's largest entertainment venues. At least 19 people were killed and 50 wounded after an explosion just outside the Manchester Arena. This all happened around 10:35 p.m. local time just as a concert by pop star Ariana Grande had ended.

VAUSE: Grande tweeted this. "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don't have words."

Fear and panic erupted as the crowd of around 20,000 people, many of them teenagers, desperately tried to leave that venue. One western law enforcement official has told CNN a man has been identified at the scene as the probable suicide bomber. So far -- no claim of responsibility.

Police in Britain have an emergency number now for anyone looking for information.


IAN HOPKINS, GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE: An emergency number is available for all those concerned about their loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area. The number is 0161-856-9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information. We're working closely with national counterterrorism policing network and U.K. intelligence partners. This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone.


SESAY: Well, this is a fast developing story. We have our team of correspondents covering the story for you.

Producer Zayn Nabbi joins us from the Manchester Arena.

VAUSE: Erin McLaughlin is live outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary and Max Foster outside 10 Downing Street in London.

But Zayn -- first you there in Manchester outside the crime scene where this terrorist attack or believed -- suspected terrorist attack took place. What's the latest from there - Zayn?

ZAYN NABBI, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, Jonathan (SIC), some six and a half hours ago behind me, behind the car, the police cordon, you can see the Manchester Arena car park. And a bomb ripped through, an explosion ripped through the arena. And that explosion has had some fatalities. 19 people killed, 40 people injured, and some 40 ambulances descend on to Manchester Arena when this happened at 10:35 p.m. local time in Manchester.

We've had emergency services. We've had people that have come in. We've had people who have shown the best side in this traumatic situation. People have come. We've had some of the hotels like the Holiday Inn and the Crown Plaza open their doors and open their rooms to people so that those who were stranded -- the arena can hold 20,000 people -- and when they flooded out, they need places to go.

I spoke to some of the people who came to this concert. I spoke to a gentleman who sat in the front row. And when the attack took place, the only place he could exit to, the closest place was on stage. And he was actually helped by Ariana Grande's bodyguard who helped him when he had an asthma attack.

I spoke to sisters who were near the back of the arena when the explosion took place. And while they were trying get out, they saw casualties and they saw fatalities.

The people you speak to are talking, but they're clearly traumatized and they're clearly suffering after such an attack that has taken place here in Manchester.

SESAY: All right. Zayn -- thank you.

Let's go to our own Erin McLaughlin who is outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Erin -- what are you hearing about the condition of those who were injured who were taken to local area hospitals? We know some 59 people are currently admitted in a hospital there. What are you hearing?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here outside the Manchester Royal Infirmary, the priority really is treating those injured inside. This hospital was so busy in the overnight hours they actually stopped admitting regular patients, treating trauma patients only. They have signs outside the hospital saying authorized personnel only.

CNN managed to speak to one eyewitness 17-year-old Ellie Ward as she was leaving the hospital. And she recounted in horrific detail what happened to her inside that arena.

She was there to see Ariana Grande. She said it was at the end of the concert. Grande had sung her last long. The lights had come on.

As she was leaving the arena with her friend, her grandfather got caught up in the explosion. He had arrived to pick her up. He was on a lower level. He is now being treated at the hospital behind me with a head injury.

[00:04:59] One of many stories we are hearing of individuals, parents, relatives who had arrived at that arena to pick their kids up from the concert, now caught up in this horrific explosion that's being treated as a terrorist attack -- Isha.

VAUSE: Ok. To Max Foster now outside Number 10; so Max -- what are we expecting to hear from the British government in the coming hours, keeping in mind that this comes, what, two and a half weeks before Britain votes in the general election.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the general election has effectively been put on hold. The campaigning has been put on hold. Theresa May's conservative party has told us that. She has issued a short statement saying her thoughts were with those affected by what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

We know that there will be a Cobra meeting; it's called an emergency meeting of senior government ministers and also officials involved in the response to this. That will happen at 9:00 local time. So that's where the latest intelligence will be gathered and assessed.

The operation obviously being led by Manchester, but also being assessed here in London in terms of what the national response should be -- John.

SESAY: All right. Max -- thank you.

Erin -- back to you. For those who have been taken to hospital, are we getting any details as to the type of injuries they're suffering from?

MCLAUGHLIN: At the moment, Isha, hospital staff are not being forthcoming with those details. We are expecting an update from them in the coming hour. But right now the priority is treating the victims, the injured inside the hospital.

As I said, they've been very busy in the overnight hours. This is one of six hospitals in the area treating the dozens that were injured in this explosion.

SESAY: All right. Erin McLaughlin joining us there from outside Manchester Royal Infirmary; Max Foster outside 10 Downing Street; and Zayn Nabbi outside the Manchester Arena -- our thanks to all of you.

VAUSE: Joining us here now in Los Angeles, CNN law enforcement contributor and former FBI special agent Steve Moore. We also have Lisa Daftari, she's a counterterrorism expert and editor of the "Foreign Desk" and international and U.S. foreign policy. Also in Boston, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette -- first question to you. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the target here -- women and children. What does that say to you about who may have been behind this and clearly just how devastating this attack was?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I mean there is terrorist attacks we sort of get used to. And then there's ones that set a new bar -- or lower a new bar sort of targeting not just a concert -- we've seen that before say in Paris -- but one whose audience is literally like 11, 12, 13, 14-year-old girls, some of them often not with their parents.

In fact, in some of the pictures you've been showing all night you see the parents on the other side of the security. Any parent knows they drop off their kid, they wait around and then their kid comes out.

So the primary focus you've been seeing, of course, is family unification. By now, a couple of hours later, notifications are likely occurring, if not occurring soon.

So this is the lowering of a new standard if we can call it that in counterterrorism and suggests, you know, of course first, we don't know who the perpetrator is or if he is connected to anyone else. But how, you know, simplistic of an attack this is because the assailant did not need to get through it appears any security protocols to get in.

SESAY: Lisa -- to you, as Juliette was just saying, we don't know who the perpetrator is or what group he was affiliated with. The question has to come down to was it inspired or directed by any one particular outfit?

LISA DAFTARI, FOREIGN DESK: Right. And the answer is probably both. Because what we've been -- what I've been reporting on for a very long time is this shift, this evolving face of ISIS or al Qaeda. What these groups are realizing is that individuals cannot bear all the risks of going to fight alongside ISIS or al Qaeda in the caliphate, go to Syria, go to Iraq to be trained.

They're getting stuck. They're having problems on their way over making that journey, or they're going there, having buyer's remorse and coming back to these European countries.

So their new message to individuals who are inspired and supporters of this jihadism is to launch attacks at home. And even if you have one casualty, that's enough. You are a martyr. You've helped out the cause.

This is exactly what we've seen. Local attacks, whether they're in coffee shops or in sports arenas or in places where young people hang out, it's very symbolic of this attack towards the west and western lifestyle. And that's exactly what they're pushing at on propaganda, on social media. And these children, whether they've gone abroad or they've stayed in their parents' basement, they're absorbing the material.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Steve -- how would the suicide bomber be identified by this, you know, western law enforcement official. They said essentially they know who this person may have been.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, if he says they know who he is, it means they have got clear photographs of him, because they're not going to do that off witness testimony.

[00:10:00]So obviously, the first thing you're going look at are the videos of the security cameras around. He will most likely be obvious. And they're going to put it through any kind of software they can. But they might just show it to the local's counter terrorism people and they say oh, that's my guy.

VAUSE: Ok. Stay with us -- guys. We want to get Jessica Pierpoint (ph) who joins us on the line. She was at the concert. She joins us now on the phone from Manchester.

So Jessica -- you were at the concert. How are you doing right now? Have you managed to process what happened?

JESSICA PIERPOINT, WITNESS (via telephone): Yes. I'm slightly still shaken up. And I'll be honest with you, I haven't really slept. And it's 10 past 5:00 in the morning here. And yes, I haven't slept. It's been horrible.

SESAY: I can only imagine. I mean, seeing the scenes, it's truly terrifying. Jessica -- where were you when this explosion happened?

PIERPOINT: Well, I had meet and greet with my friends, and Ariana had only just left and the stage when the concert was over. And everybody was leaving to get out of the seats. And in the arena, they have like a flight of stairs which you have to walk up to get out of the building. And everybody was just heading towards those.

And all of a sudden we heard like the first explosion. And everybody turned around thinking that it was like a gun or something like that. Nobody knows like what to think. And everybody just screamed and run. And it was horrendous. We were all crushed up against one another just trying to leave.

VAUSE: And Jessica, obviously, before the explosion happened, this has been quite an exciting night for you. You actually got to meet Ariana Grande, is that right?

PIERPOINT: Yes, yes, I did.

VAUSE: Tell us about that.

PIERPOINT: I met her at the last world tour. Everything was fine then. And honestly, I just was not expecting it at all. It sort of went from like a dream come true to the worst nightmare you could honestly like it's unimaginable.

SESAY: Yes. Jessica -- who were you there with? I mean tell us about that? Who did you go to the concert with?

PIERPOINT: I was with my friend, Freya. And we both had meet and greet. I have a lot of friends from Twitter because all of us have like accounts with Ariana on Twitter (inaudible). A lot of us were meeting up like during the day and we're just hanging around.

And at the time I was with my friend Freya and another Natalie when it happened. But I actually lost Freya for a little while after the explosion so I was just in such a panic because I was leaving with her to go home. And I was just terrified. I didn't know what to think.

SESAY: Did you find her?

PIERPOINT: Yes, yes, I did.

VAUSE: So all your friends are accounted for right now, Jessica?

PIERPOINT: Yes. My friend Natalie and her parents have minor injuries and they're in hospital at the moment. I think her mom had a mark on her neck and her dad had grazed knees or something like that. I don't know. I know that they're being taken care of now in hospital.

VAUSE: Because there was a bit of panic, almost like a stampede or a crush when the explosion happened.


VAUSE: And everyone tried to get out. Were people hurt during -- at that moment?

PIERPOINT: I didn't see anybody hurt from where I was. Luckily, I was away when the whole thing happened. But after seeing it on the news and hearing it on the radio, like I've just heard so many witnesses say that there was just like blood everywhere. And just bodies on the floor. And it was just -- horrible.

SESAY: You poor thing. I know. You poor thing.

Jessica, when you ran up those stairs after you heard the explosion, where did you go? Tell me about what happened when you managed to get up those stairs?

PIERPOINT: Well, at the time, we didn't know like what the noise was. And everybody was saying that it could have just been a speaker or something that had like blown from the stage. And somebody from Ariana's crew had actually walked out with a microphone to say that everything was fine and everybody just needs to remain calm and, you know, things are fine.

But then, you know, as soon as we reached the top, there was just security everywhere, just having us evacuate and we just heard the sirens. And they were asking everybody to leave the building.

VAUSE: Jessica, we're hearing from our sources here at CNN that this attack could have been carried out by a suicide bomber.


VAUSE: That a man detonated his explosives just outside the venue. When you hear that news, it must be chilling to think that someone targeted this concert, this venue, and you and your friends -- with a suicide vest.

There must be incredible -- I mean I can only imagine how insecure you must feel now, just knowing that this venue was targeted this way. How do you deal with that from this point?

[00:14:07] PIERPOINT: Honestly, you don't. Like, it's just -- it's horrible because you hear about all of these events from the news and just these horrific acts of violence towards such innocent people. And you never think it can happen to you. But like until it's happened to you, you're never truly going to understand how real it is and these things happen. And so many people get hurt. It's just -- it's so hard to explain.

Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to be able to think about this amazing experience I had meeting Ariana like now after what happened. I just think this has just made this such a horrible day for me now.

SESAY: You're just going to have to take it one hour at a time, sweetheart. I mean it's terrifying what just happened. Have you spoken to your loved ones? Have you spoken to your parents? Do they know you're ok?

PIERPOINT: Yes. So while I was in the arena and as I was leaving, I called my mom straight away. And my mom is normally with me when I see like (inaudible) and things but she wasn't with me this time. So I called her up. And obviously, it had only just happened so not a lot of people knew what had happened at the time.

So like I just called my mom in such a panic, and I was crying my eyes out. And my family were just hysterical down the phone, just asking me to get to the nearest safe zone. It was -- it was horrible. I had all of my friends messaging me, you know.

I suppose it's nice because you don't actually realize how many of your friends and your family really like truly care about like your safety. And it's been overwhelming the amount of messages that I've received.

SESAY: Jessica, you've been through an absolute nightmare.


SESAY: We are so pleased that you are safe -- you and all your friends.

PIERPOINT: Thank you. Thank you.

SESAY: Just take it easy. Take it easy. One hour at a time. And you're going to get through this. But thank you so much for --

PIERPOINT: Thank you very much.

SESAY: -- thank you so much for speaking to us. We appreciate it.

PIERPOINT: Thank you so much. Thank you.

VAUSE: Jessica Pierpoint is 18 years old, has been through a night that no 18-year-old should have had to --

SESAY: No one should let alone an 18-year-old out for a fun night.

VAUSE: Absolutely. With that we will take a short break. A lot more on our breaking news coverage out of Manchester. We'll find out how one concertgoer described all the devastating aftermath -- that in just a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. We have more now on our breaking news.

Police investigating a deadly explosion outside one of Britain's largest entertainment venues; at least 19 people have been killed. At least 50 others wounded after the blast which happened outside the Manchester Arena. It all took place around 10:35 p.m. local time after a concert by the pop star Ariana Grande.

SESAY: Well, in about four hours, British Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee. Officials say they have identified a male at the scene as the probable suicide bomber. So far, there have been no claims of responsibility.

VAUSE: Ariana Grande's management has issued a statement. It reads "Tonight our hearts are broken. Words cannot express our sorrow for the victims and families harmed in this senseless attack. We mourn the lives of children and loved ones taken by this cowardly act."

SESAY: "We're thankful for the selfless service tonight of Manchester's first responders who rushed towards danger to help save lives. We ask all of you to hold the victims, their families and all those affected in your hearts and prayers."

VAUSE: And back with us here in Los Angeles: CNN law enforcement contributor, former FBI agent Steve Moore; also Lisa Daftari, counter terrorism expert and editor on the "Foreign Desk"; and Juliette Kayyem, national security analyst for CNN is in Boston.

SESAY: Indeed. Juliette -- to start with you, again, this western law enforcement official telling CNN that it was probably a suicide bomber. The question has to be was the suicide bomber part of a cell? Are there follow-up attacks here?

Talk to us about the way this will unfold from the operational investigative front right now.

KAYYEM: Exactly. So it will unfold as we've seen many of these cases unfold. First, identification and then, you know, figuring out whether he had been surveyed or was known to authorities.

In most of these cases, they are. These are not people that are always under the radar. Sometimes they have criminal convictions for things totally unrelated. They are people who are lost or become radicalized. And then, of course, who he was working with, who he may have been affiliated with, where he was living and working. So really, look at it as a sort of concentric circle. Once they identify who it is and they probably know who it is, that's sort of the bull's eye. And the investigation will take a series of circles around that to see if there's any others involved.

At the same time, just on the operational side, you'll see a lot of just leaning in the next couple weeks there is an election going on there, a greater security presence. And then here in the United States, you're already seeing the Department of Homeland Security talk about, you know, sort of there is no specific threat, but that people should see something, say something.

You'll probably see mayors in the morning put more police around concerts. It's a weekend, long weekend here in the United States. So there will be a lot of sort of moving in and sort precautionary activity going on I think, you know, in western countries.

VAUSE: Steve, a lot of people are comparing this attack with what happened in Paris at the Bataclan Theater.

MOORE: Sure.

VAUSE: An American band was playing that night, an American singer tonight at Manchester -- last night in Manchester. Other similarities here -- how do you piece all this together?

MOORE: The targets could be similar because it was an American artist -- that could be it. I think mainly what they were looking at is body count -- that you had that many people here. And, you know, you never know when they're going to get all their things together. Once you have your explosive, you can't wait forever.

[00:24:58] It's almost like once you've created or obtained your explosive, the clock is running. You have to do an attack. So depending on their logistics, they look for the one target they could hit before time ran out on the explosives.

SESAY: Lisa -- as you said a short time ago, the question of inspired or directed is kind of a blurred line in this day and age. Are you surprised we haven't seen any group jump on the bandwagon publicly at least claim some part of the warped glory, if you, will here?

DAFTARI: It's a touch too soon. Usually it's the next day. We see about 12 to 24 hours later. We'll see whether it was ISIS or al Qaeda. They'll take responsibility.

Usually if the suicide bomber left a note, that will tell us something more. Or Facebook pages and some sort of identification will give us better answers.

But we always see online there is some sort of jumping on the band wagon, even last week with the Times Square car crash. ISIS came out -- I reported on this -- that they came out and said there should be more such attacks in the west. Meaning everyone has a car, everyone has a kitchen knife, everyone has an ax. You no longer need to build the sophisticated weapon when you can take what you have, these household goods and launch these type of attacks in the west.

That's exactly the propaganda and what is going out. It's not just going out in Arabic anymore. It's going out in 12 to 14 languages each time.

SESAY: I hear what you're saying that you can do low tech and bring terror to the streets of just about anywhere. But it is these grand spectaculars that they want, really. These --

DAFTARI: They would love --

SESAY: These are the flags that you plant in the sand, if you will.

DAFTARI: Absolutely. But that's not the main goal. What we used to see is the al Qaeda September 11th. You retreat, you plan, and then you go forward and you launch. Right now it's when you have a weapon there are so many types of venues that you could hit. It could be a nightclub. It could be a restaurant. It could be anywhere where people are -- there is life everywhere.

And I think the main point here is that tomorrow, May 23rd, we're going to go all about life as usual. They will go back to plotting and planning and finding the next person who can carry out such attacks.

VAUSE: With that in mind -- so Juliette Kayyem in Boston, as far as the investigation goes, what law enforcement is doing right now in the U.K. to prevent the next attack from happening, knowing that this was a suicide bomber, how does that change the equation here?

KAYYEM: So that is the hardest part. Because unfortunately, you know, the pool of people who may be willing to do this -- it's not infinity, there's not thousands of people. But they're so difficult to detect. Most of them are trained to try to lie under the radar for most of their lives. Some of them are radicalized and can sort of figure out how to do this stuff on their own.

And so, you know, while prevention is important, we also have to think of sort of protection efforts and preparedness efforts. So it's important that you have a greater police presence at these events, that you have what we call layered security so that in an event like this you may have the gates but there is also security on the other side of the gates.

And then of course it just can't be forgotten the extent to which investments in our first responders are key because that saves lives. We have a horrible, horrible fatality rate right now. But, you know, without the sort of fast thinking, you see the pictures of the ambulances going to the hospitals, we probably would have lost more. We may lose more overnight. But certainly the investments also in that preparedness and response capacity is key because of the challenges of stopping the next person.

SESAY: Steve, as Juliette is talking about these steps to be taken to try and prevent the next outrage, if you will, mining the digital landscape is also as important. MOORE: You have to be mining the digital landscape; you to be looking

everywhere, every rock that these people could be under. They have to communicate somehow. They have to -- they have to talk to their cells. They have to talk to other people who are supporting. There are communications going on and they're almost all digital. That's where you have to put your resources at this point.

The other thing is we're talking earlier about the size of these attacks. What kept us safe for so long was the al Qaeda philosophy that we have to be big every time. And when you try to launch a big attack, you leave ripples in the water.

Now they're realizing that these smaller, smaller attacks are actually giving them almost as much traction because people say much more -- that could have been me. Or this could be -- it could be a mall.

VAUSE: When it comes to claiming responsibility, very quickly, if this wasn't directed by ISIS, if this was like, you know, freelancer, is there any reluctance, any hesitation, any shame because they're targeting women and children here?

The head office, guys are going to say hey, we don't want any part of this.

MOORE: Yes. Well, shame is not a word.

VAUSE: I know. It's a bad word used. You know what I mean, yes.

[00:30:00] MOORE: I don't think there will be any problem of them claiming responsibility. But at the same time, this doesn't look to me to be something that was just homegrown in Manchester.

VAUSE: Steve and Lisa and Juliette -- thank you so much. We appreciate you being with us.

SESAY: Thank you. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

VAUSE: And we have a lot more on our breaking news story out of Manchester. We are live there outside the arena. Also, in Downing Street in London where the prime minister will call an emergency meeting in just a few hours from now. All of that after a short break.


VAUSE: Hello, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. Let's return to our breaking news out of the UK.

Official says a suicide bomber is a likely cause on the deadly explosion outside the Manchester Arena just hours ago.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What just happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on? Oh my god.


[00:35:06] SESAY: You can hear the terror, the absolute confusion and those screams. At least 19 people were killed and 50 wounded following a pop concert by Ariana Grande.

VAUSE: The explosion sent the crowd of 20,000 people, many of them teenagers, desperately scrambling to get out. One witness describes the aftermath as total chaos and bodies scattered everywhere. So far there has been no claim of responsibility.

Many in the concert were teens and children. 15-year-old Olivia was among them. Now she is missing. Her mother Charlotte Campbell desperate to know what happened to her daughter. She talked to CNN, to Don Lemon just a short time ago.


CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL, OLIVIA CAMPBELL'S MOTHER: This is the most horrible feeling ever to know that your daughter is there, you can't find her. You don't know if she is dead or alive. And I don't know how people can do this to innocent children.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So I have to say -- and I think you have your television up in the background. If you do, if you don't mind turning it down.

CAMPBELL: Yes, I'll turn it down.

LEMON: Hopefully, Charlotte, that is just her phone isn't working and Adam's phone isn't working, and you'll be able to get in touch with her. That is the hope tonight.

CAMPBELL: Yes, I just want her home. I want her home and I want her safe.


SESAY: The thoughts of many other parents also in Manchester separated from their children.

Let's go right now to Manchester, our CNN's Erin McLaughlin is there, as well as Nina dos Santos who's actually covering the story for us from London.

Erin, to you first. What's the latest you're hearing on the condition of the injured? I know you're there outside one of the Manchester hospitals.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Isha. Well, just to give you a sense of the magnitude of this emergency, some 59 victims admitted to the hospital. Some six local hospitals in the overnight hours. 60 ambulances responding to the arena. I am outside of one of the hospitals, Manchester Royal Infirmary. It was so busy in the overnight hours that the hospital actually stopped admitting regular patients. Their signs posted outside saying authorized personnel only.

We managed to speak to some of the eyewitnesses and relatives of the victims as they were leaving the hospital. We spoke to one woman in her 30s. She was here to see her sister and her mother. Her sister and her mother had arrived at the arena to pick up the sister's nieces, were caught up in the explosion. This woman telling us that they were hit by shards of glass.

We spoke to another -- another person who attended the concert. 17- year-old Ellie Ward. She was there with a friend. She said it was right after Ariana Grande finished her last song. The lights went up in the arena. They were leaving. That's when she said the explosion occurred. She said that her grandfather was in a lower floor and sustained head injuries and was admitted to the hospital behind me.

So we're hearing all sorts of stories of people caught up in this explosion. Many of them parents, aunts, relatives of the kids who had attended that concert.

VAUSE: OK, Erin, thank you.

Let's go to Nina who is in London covering this for us as well.

So, Nina, the words we're hearing now is that the suicide bomber has been identified carrying out this attack. Britain has seen a number of small-scale terrorist attacks if you like in recent weeks, in recent years. Knives, cars, that kind of thing. The fact that this may have been a suicide bomber is likely to send chills not just to the government but across the UK.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, you can imagine that this is going to be something that the UK Prime Minister Theresa May is going to be discussing very, very intently with her Cabinet members when she chairs one of those emergency situation room type meetings that we have here in the UK. They're called cobra meetings and they take place at about 9:00 in the morning. So we've got about three and a half hours from now for intelligence officials to try and gather all the material that they can from the scene.

But you're right. Yes, what we've seen throughout the course of the last couple of months has been more the threat of knives. We've got two incidents of people having been either arrested or taken down by police officers around parliament armed with knives. One of them, you'll remember was that deadly attack on Westminster Bridge, which also involved a car.

And these are so-called low tech, high impact attacks. But this in particular seems to be something very, very different. So of course it will raise all sorts of questions for security forces here about who this individual could have been, if indeed it turns out that largely at the moment seems to be coming from the United States.

U.S. intelligence indicates that according to sources who have spoken to CNN, this could be the work of the suicide bomber that could definitely change things indeed -- John.

[00:40:08] VAUSE: OK. Nina, thank you.

Nina Dos Santos there live in London. Also, Erin McLaughlin live in Manchester. Time now is 5:40 in the morning there.

So we thank you both for being with us live, just as the sun comes up. Many, many hours since that apparent terrorist attack in Manchester.

SESAY: Yes. We're going to take a very quick break now. We'll have much more on the deadly explosion in Manchester, England. Police are treating that blast as a terrorist incident. At least 19 people are dead. Dozens more are wounded. The latest is straight ahead.


SESAY: Hello, everyone. We are following breaking news out of Manchester, England, where there has been a deadly explosion. The blast happened as crowds of people, many of them children and teenagers, were leaving the Manchester Arena following a concert by U.S. pop star Ariana Grande. 19 people are confirmed dead.

VAUSE: Dozens have also been hurt. And it's feared the toll will rise in what police are now considering a terrorist incident. Now U.S. official says the attack was probably carried out by a suicide bomber.

[00:45:02] SESAY: CNN spoke to one of the concertgoers Andy James who took his 10-year-old little brother to see Ariana Grande as a birthday present.


ANDY JAMES, WITNESS: Yes, so we got to the concert about 7:00 p.m. and then they had a good time. Everything like that, was really good. It was the best concert that he had ever been to. And then about -- I think it was about 10:40, the explosion happened. And we were walking up the stairs, just about to be leave in the exact same direction as where the actual explosion happened.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So you heard the explosion very clearly?

JAMES: Oh, yes, yes. It must have been, you know, 40 feet away from where we were. And we heard the explosion happened. It rattled in my chest. And, you know, you could feel it, you know, in the ground. It was just horrific.


SESAY: Oh, that poor little boy. Well, our CNN national security analyst Steve Hall joins us now from Tucson, Arizona.

Steve, good to have you with us once again. The obvious question in this situation is why didn't the intelligence officials in this case, the Brits, counterterrorism, why didn't they -- why didn't they intervene beforehand? Why didn't they pick this up on their radar? Give us your assessment of basically how efficient British counterterrorism officials are. How do they measure up?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The British counterintelligence system is extremely good. And really, it's not very emotionally satisfying, but at the end of the day, it's just extremely difficult the fact of the matter is to try to track each and every attempted terrorist attack, especially if it's a singleton type of attack, which at least -- as far as we know right now, it was. That's not to say that it was lone wolf style attack, perhaps somebody who self-radicalized.

That's possible. But in this particular case, given the magnitude of the damage and the significant size of the bomb, it looks like there was probably more than just one person involved. But even when there is more than one person involved, I mean, there is literally thousands upon thousands of people who are on really any country's watch list. And it's just extremely difficult to know when precisely they're going to strike and under what conditions. Again, it's not particularly emotionally satisfying.

But, you know, many days go by when there are no terrorist attacks. And then one slips by and everybody asks the very question you're asking, rightfully so which is how could we have missed this? I can tell you, the first people who are asking that are the law enforcement and intelligence officials in the UK right now.

VAUSE: But, Steve, in terms of like an investigative footprint and knowing ahead of time what may be coming down the line, the fact that this was a suicide bomber -- believed to be a suicide bomber, a very powerful explosive device which was used in this, that seems to be a bigger footprint as compared to, say, somebody who uses a car to run people down or a knife.

HALL: Yes, that's true. And when you get the types of situation that we've seen in France and other places where, you know, you have clearly, you know, what is a lone wolf attack, somebody gets into a car and uses that as a weapon, that's even harder. So there is a chance, I think, a good chance that the investigation of this and the intelligence that is going to be collected not only from the scene, but also, you know, signals intelligence, human intelligence as this investigation moves forward, we'll probably get a good sense of how it was done and who did it.

Now of course we don't -- as far as I know we don't yet have anybody who's claimed responsibility. But the really important part will be how did it happen and how is it put together. And potentially, it is not over yet. You recall that in some of these attacks, there is a first attack followed by, you know, additional ones later on, or there are people who feel that they have to carry out an attack because, you know, they have the means to do so and were waiting for the right moment. Now the police are out and they've got to do something so there is a lot of questions still to be answered on this.

VAUSE: Just very quickly, hasn't that time passed? If there is one attack, a second attack comes within a few hours. You're saying there is still the possibility that window is open?

HALL: Well, you remember, there had been other attacks in the past where it's actually played out over days because they're in different cells, and sometimes these things can be -- you know, you can have disruptions that happen in a plan. Somebody's hand gets forced. They make their attack sooner than they thought and the other people are -- the other cells are perhaps taken unawares.

So no, I don't think we're out of the woods yet. I think you're going to see preparations not just in the UK but also in Europe, and certainly in the United States to see whether there's any additional attacks or copycat attacks as well.

SESAY: And, Steve, to that point, you lead me into my next question that I'd imagine British counterintelligence and law enforcement are reaching out to their counterparts across Europe and here in the United States. At this point I'd imagine coordination is extremely important.

HALL: Absolutely critical. If you do not -- I mean, the fight against -- the fight against terrorism in today's modern world with modern intelligence services and law enforcement that we have right now is extremely interdependent. That's a good thing.

[00:50:02] And you've got to be talking to all of your allies and all of your intelligence and law enforcement colleagues everywhere so you can put the pieces together. Because this is -- as we all know, this is a worldwide phenomenon. It doesn't just happen at one place at one time. It happens all over the place. And everybody has got to coordinate on these things, or else it's not going to be successful. It's absolutely critical.

VAUSE: OK, Steve. We'll leave there it. Thank you so much for being with us.

SESAY: Thank you, Steve.

VAUSE: Steve Hall, our national security analyst, former CIA operative as well. Thanks, Steve.

SESAY: Quick break here. A deadly explosion at a concert in Manchester, England. You can see all the pink balloons in this image here in the venue that was packed with young girls, fans of Ariana Grande. We'll hear from an eyewitness next.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. There are scenes of sheer terror in Manchester, England after an explosion at a concert by the American pop star Ariana Grande. At least 19 people were killed. At least 50 others hurt. Cell phone video from inside the arena captured the sound of the blast. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What just happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on? Oh my god.


[00:55:06] SESAY: Well, investigators are looking into this as a possible suicide bombing. Law enforcement sources say a male at the scene has been identified as the likely bomber.

VAUSE: CNN spoke to one of the concertgoers, Tiara Goldberg (PH), just after she made it out of the arena.


TIARA GOLDBERG, CONCERTGOER: They just started letting everyone out. The music had just gone off. There was a massive, massive explosion. There was a bang. There was smoke coming up, sorry. There was smoke coming through the steps. And everyone was just screaming and someone saying that it could be a bomb. And there was people shouting for their kids. There were people trying to find people. And as we went out on to the concourse to get out of here, there were bodies scattered about everywhere. And people's belongings on the floor. We just ran. All the traffic was at a standstill. I mean, we were just running through the roads. And it was just chaos.


SESAY: It is heartbreaking to think of all those young people.

VAUSE: Yes, the kids on a fun night out.

SESAY: Yes. It really is awful.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Our breaking news coverage continues live in Manchester and London after a short break. You're watching CNN.