Trump deplores ‘evil losers’ who bombed Manchester concert
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Trump deplores ‘evil losers’ who bombed Manchester concert

Netanyahu joins world leaders in sending condolences to families of the casualties; Abbas also denounces ‘horrible’ attack

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with the President of the Palestinian  Authority Mahmoud Abbas (not seen) presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (not seen) presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday condemned the bombing of a pop concert in Britain that claimed the lives of 22 people in Manchester the previous night, describing those who carried out the attack as “evil losers” and saying that society can no longer tolerate such bloodshed.

Trump was delivering a press statement together with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem as part of his 28-hour visit to Israel and the West Bank. The two men also discussed the future of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Manchester police said an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in the northeastern UK city. Many of those killed and injured were reportedly children.

“I extend my deepest condolences to those terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed, and the families, so many families, of the victims,” Trump said. “We stand in absolute solidarity with the people in the United Kingdom. So many young innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life.

“I won’t call them monsters, because they would like that term,” he continued. “They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are, they’re losers. and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers. Just remember that.”

Armed police patrol near Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017. (AFP/Oli SCARFF)
Armed police patrol near Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017. (AFP/Oli SCARFF)

Trump noted that combating terror has been a key topic of discussion during his visit to Israel and, before that, Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

“This is what I’ve spent these last few days talking about during my trip overseas,” he said. “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed. We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people.

“The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever,” Trump continued, echoing his own speech in Riyadh on Sunday when he urged Arab states to “drive out” terror ideology from their midst. “This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated, and innocent life must be protected. All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.”

US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas shake hands during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump, left, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas shake hands during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

Standing next to Trump at the briefing, Abbas also denounced “the horrible terrorist attack.”

“I offer my condolences to Britain and the British people,” he said.

Other world leaders expressed condemnation and sent messages of support to Britain, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in a statement earlier Tuesday that the Israeli government condemned the “terrible terror attack.”

“I send condolences to the families of those murdered and wishes of a speedy recovery to the wounded,” Netanyahu said. “Terrorism is a global threat and it is incumbent on the enlightened countries to defeat it everywhere.”

US President Donald Trump (L) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after delivering press statements, before an official dinner in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after delivering press statements, before an official dinner in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN)

There was mass panic after the explosion at the end of the concert, which was part of Grande’s The Dangerous Woman Tour.

Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours later: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, although a video circulating on social media attributed it to the Islamic State jihadist group.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said forensic investigations are continuing to determine if the attacker had accomplices. He provided no information about the individual who detonated the device.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins speaks to the media in Manchester, May 23, 2017. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins speaks to the media in Manchester, May 23, 2017. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was being kept updated about the developments by the national security team.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz linked the Manchester blast to Trump’s visit to Israel.

“The US president’s visit to the region highlighted the need and the opportunity for intelligence, security and civil cooperation between countries in the regional and global arena in order to foil terror attacks all over the world and deal also with extremism and terror at the source,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Britain in a condolence message to Prime Minister Theresa May over the “inhuman” attack, the Kremlin said.

“We firmly condemn this cynical, inhuman crime. We expect that those behind it will not escape the punishment they deserve,” Putin said in a statement published by the Kremlin.

“The Russian head of state confirmed his readiness to bolster anti-terrorism cooperation with our British partners, both on a bilateral basis and in the framework of broader international efforts,” it added.

Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terror attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017. (AFP / Paul ELLIS)
Concert goers wait to be picked up at the scene of a suspected terror attack during a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017. (AFP / Paul ELLIS)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe was mourning with Britain.

Juncker said in a statement that “today we mourn with you. Tomorrow we will work side by side with you to fight back against those who seek to destroy our way of life.

“It breaks my heart to think that, once again, terrorism has sought to instill fear where there should be joy, to sow division where young people and families should be coming together in celebration,” he continued.

France’s government offered sympathy and solidarity, with President Emmanuel Macron saying Paris would continue to work with Britain to fight terrorism. Macron said he would speak with May to stay abreast of developments.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also expressed solidarity. Paris has grim experience with the type of attack that struck Britain, after multiple Islamic State attackers struck a concert hall, the national stadium and cafes and bars on November 13, 2015, killing 130 people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday expressed her “sorrow and horror” over the bomb attack in Manchester, vowing that Germany will stand by Britain in the fight against terror.

“This suspected terrorist attack will only strengthen our resolve to work with our British friends against those who plan and execute such inhuman acts. I assure the people in Britain: Germany stands by your side,” she said in a statement.

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