Crowdfunding for Manchester attack victims raises thousands of dollars

A local newspaper in England raised hundreds of thousands of dollars within hours on Tuesday for the victims killed in the explosion at the Manchester Arena at an Ariana Grande concert.

The staff at Manchester Evening News created the crowdfunding page Tuesday morning, raising nearly $600,000 in less than nine hours.

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"Manchester Evening News readers have been asking how they can help, so we have started this fund to help support the families in the aftermath of the attack," the newspaper wrote on the crowdfunding site JustGiving.com.

The newspaper thanked online fashion retailer Boohoo.com for donating $130,000 to the campaign on Twitter. The crowdfunding goal was set to 500,000 pounds ($648,882.50).

Twenty-two people died and 59 others were injured when a bomb exploded just as Grande's concert was coming to an end. The concert was part of her Dangerous Woman Tour. Twelve children under the age of 16 were taken to the hospital with "serious injuries," emergency responders said.

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Manchester police identified the attacker as Salman Abedi, 22, who was said to be British, a European security official told the Associated Press. Another unidentified 23-year-old man was arrested. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that the U.S. had not yet verified that the terror group was responsible.

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A vigil was held in Albert Square in Manchester on Tuesday.

"This was an evil act. We are grieving today but we are strong," Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said.

Two of the victims were identified as Georgina Callander, 18, who was described by friends as an "Ariane Grande superfan," and Saffie-Rose Roussos, 8, who was remembered as a "beautiful little girl.

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Condolences and support from celebrities and politicians continued to pour in a day after the deadly blast. After reps confirmed Grande was "okay," the singer tweeted, "Broken, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don't have words."

President Donald Trump called those responsible for the deadly incident "losers."

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who temporarily suspended her campaign, called it a "callous terrorist attack."