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Thousands Gather in Manchester at Silent Vigil for Ariana Grande Concert Bombing Victims

Terror level in Britain raised to critical after attack kills 22 and injures 59

Thousands gathered in Manchester’s Albert Square on Tuesday evening to pay tribute to the 22 people killed and 59 injured in Monday’s suicide bomb attack following an Ariana Grande concert.

A minute’s silence gripped the historical square as the crowd — many of whom were young girls similar in age to the Grande fans who filled the Manchester Arena the night before — mourned those who lost their lives.

The vigil was followed by words from mayor Andy Burnham, Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins and poet Tony Walsh, who performs as Longfella, who read out his poem “This Is The Place” as an ode to the victims.

“This is the place. In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best. And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands set the whole planet shaking.

“Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music, we make brilliant bands, we make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands,” he said, of the city that is home to sporting and musical greats such as Manchester United, Morrissey, New Order and Oasis.

“We keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics,” he concluded.

The tribute took place as the U.K. threat level was raised to critical. That allows military personnel to be deployed on the streets of Britain to free up armed police resources to hunt down suspects, the Guardian reported. The arrangements are known as military assistance to civil powers.

“The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,” British prime minister Theresa May said in a statement.

Vigils were also held Tuesday in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Belfast, Coventry, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle, Bolton, Swindon and Leeds.

Earlier in the day, police identified the sucide bomber as a British citizen named Salman Abedi.

Abedi, 22, was born in Manchester to parents of Libyan origin, according to the BBC.

In addition, authorities arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester, England, in connection with Monday’s deadly bombing, Greater Manchester Police reported. He has not yet been identified and no further details have been provided about his possible ties to the case.

See tweets from the Manchester vigil below.