Manchester’s Victoria railway station has reopened after last Monday’s suicide bombing of neighbouring Manchester Arena that killed 22 people.
The concert venue’s foyer, which is connected to the station via an elevated bridge, was damaged alongside other parts of the station after Salman Abedi detonated a bomb which appeared to contain carefully packed shrapnel.
Taking city officials on a tour around the station after a wreath-laying ceremony, Northern Railway’s Regional Director Liam Sumpter said station staff “flooded” out to help those caught in the blast on the night of the attack.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said the actions of the station staff would be “properly recognised”, alongside those of others who helped.
“This is a incredibly important milestone, the reopening of Victoria station. Perhaps more than anything, this is a sign that life goes on and the city is returning to a form of normality, I say a form of normality because of course, it’s still very much at the front of our minds. We think of the families who lost loved ones, we think of those who are injured in hospital,” said Burnham.
British broadcaster BBC has obtained security camera footage which purports to show Salman Abedi buying goods in a local grocery store days before the devastating blast at the Ariana Grande concert. As the investigation into his final movements continues, police have also released a picture of Abedi that appears to show him wheeling a blue suitcase on the day of the suicide attack. Detectives have urged the public to come forward with any information if they think they’ve spotted him but they stressed the luggage is different from the one used in the bombing.
A total of 16 people have been arrested so far in connection with the attack. The latest person to be detained is a 23-year-old man in the Sussex town of Shoreham-by-Sea. He is understood to be Ala Zakry, who runs Hasoub Alafak, a UK-registered online marketplace based in Tripoli, Libya.
Meanwhile, the US pop star Ariana Grande has revealed she’s to play a benefit concert next month in Britain for Manchester victims.
Grande, 23, is offering free tickets to fans who were at her last performance in the city. Justin Bieber, Coldplay and Katy Perry are among a host of stars who have committed to perform. Others include One Direction’s Niall Horan and Usher. Take That, Miley Cyrus and Pharrell will also play at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground gig on Sunday 4 June.