A suicide bomber has killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through fans leaving a pop concert in Manchester.

Some 59 people were also injured when the blast caused by an improvised explosive device carried by the attacker detonated at the Manchester Arena.

Announcing that the death toll had risen, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said: "What I can confirm is that there are children among the deceased."

He said: "This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.

"Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives.

"Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones.

"We continue to do all we can to support them."

Mr Hopkins said a "fast-moving investigation" had established the attack was conducted by one man, although detectives are working to establish if he was "was acting alone or as part of a network".

"The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena.

"We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated, causing this atrocity."

Police were called to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at 10.33pm, shortly after US singer Ariana Grande had finished her performance.

Victims described being thrown by the blast that scattered nuts and bolts across the floor.

More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with responders including 60 ambulances flooding the area.

More than 400 police officers were deployed as part of the operation, with a visible presence remaining on the streets of Manchester on Tuesday.

Theresa May will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee on Tuesday following the explosion which she said is being treated as an “appalling terrorist attack”.

The Prime Minister said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

“All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

Pop star Grande who attracts a youthful audience tweeted that she is “broken” following the blast.

The 23-year-old US singer, who found fame as the child star of Nickelodeon series Victorious, is in the middle of a world tour and was due to play in London next.

Witnesses reported hearing a “huge bang” at the venue shortly after US singer’s gig finished on Monday evening.

The area around the arena was swamped with police and emergency services and approach roads were closed.

Majid Khan, 22, said: “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.

Manchester’s Victoria station, which backs on to the arena, has been evacuated and all trains and trams cancelled.

  • Police have set up an emergency number for anyone affected by the explosion, or anyone concerned about friends or relatives. It is 0161 8569400.