Editor’s note. With the passage of time, it is now possible to analyze some of the attributes common to terror attacks against crowds. Unfortunately, these events have become “targets” per se of terrorist. Any organization which sends employees or key personnel overseas or – to be frank – to events in the United States or the home country is vulnerable. In this article, our international security experts overview the event in Manchester, United Kingdom at the Ariana Grande attack. If you are looking for consulting on international event security, please reach out for a consultation.
On the 22nd May 2017, twenty three people were killed in a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, Northern England following a concert by the singer Ariana Grande. At 22:30 hours local time Salman Albedi, a British-born 22 year old of Libyan heritage, entered the main foyer of the arena and detonated an improvised explosive device (a suicide vest packed with nuts and bolts) while standing within a crowd of concert-goers attempting to leave the venue. Twenty-two concert-goers were killed immediately by the blast, of whom 10 were children. A further 116 individuals were seriously injured, with 23 remaining hospitalized in critical condition as of the 30th May. Albedi himself was also killed instantaneously by the device.
The attack has prompted a significant response from the British government. In the immediate aftermath of the event, Britain’s terror threat level was raised to ‘critical’ – indicating that the authorities believed that another attack was imminent. British police proceeded to raid a series of properties thought to be harboring extremist cells – arresting a further 30 individuals – and some 5,000 troops were deployed to key areas around the country in order to free up front-line policing assets. The terror threat level was downgraded to ‘severe’ (meaning that an attack is highly likely, though not expected imminently) on the 27th of May, and as of the 30th of May all deployed troops have been demobilized.
Travel Security Experts Discuss the Aftermath of the Manchester Terror Attack
The terror attack has demonstrated in the starkest possible terms the continued vigilance which is required by Britain to contain the domestic threat of Islamist terrorism. The Manchester bombing has proven that certain cells of Islamic extremists operating within the UK continue to possess the means, motivation, and cunning required to accomplish high-casualty attacks upon the British civilian population – even in the face of concentrated monitoring and disruption efforts by the UK’s security and intelligence services.
In the wake of the attack, it is likely that the UK government will seek to allocate further resources to Britain’s security services in order to improve their capability to more thoroughly monitor Britain’s extremist population. Though Albedi’s name was known to the government prior to the attack – his name appearing on a watch-list of some 3,000 suspected extremists – MI5 had not deemed him to be a priority target. Given this latest atrocity, it seems likely that the Security Service will receive greater funding in the future, to allow for more comprehensive monitoring efforts. Meanwhile, the British Home Office’s counter-radicalization ‘Prevent’ strategy – in place since 2003 – is likely to come under renewed scrutiny.