May 23, 2017 11:47 am
Updated: May 23, 2017 2:09 pm

Manchester explosion: Attack happened on anniversary of British soldier Lee Rigby’s murder

Dramatic video shows panic inside Manchester Arena following explosion

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The suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that left 22 people dead Monday night happened on the four-year anniversary of the public murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

Fusilier Lee Rigby, 25, was attacked by two men on May 22, 2013, near a military barracks in the Woolwich area of London. He was off duty when the attack happened.

ARCHIVE VIDEO GALLERY: Lee Rigby murder

The two men, armed with knives and a meat cleaver, first struck Rigby with a car before hacking him to death and dragging him into the middle of a busy street in broad daylight.

READ MORE: 22 dead in suicide attack at Ariana Grande concert, police say

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Rigby supported the armed forces charity “Help 4 Heroes” and was wearing a sweatshirt branded with the charity’s logo when he was attacked.

The attack was later determined to have been an act of terrorism, carried out by Islamic extremists. One of the men was seen in video that surfaced later making statements about “an eye for an eye” as Rigby’s body lay on the ground behind him.

“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” the man said in the video. “We must fight them as they fight us.”

READ MORE: First victim identified as Georgina Callander, 18

The attackers reportedly stayed on the scene until emergency crews arrived. They were then shot by police and taken into custody.

Police said Rigby’s autopsy showed he died from “multiple incised wounds,” shedding more light on the frenzied attack.

Former prime minister David Cameron called the attack an “appalling murder.”

In 2014, both attackers were sentenced to life in prison for Rigby’s murder.

Mass panic follows blast outside Ariana Grande concert

Police and other emergency services are seen near the Manchester Arena after the reported explosion, May 22, 2017.

Joel Goodman/LNP/REX/Shutterstock (8828037b)

There is no apparent connection between the murder of Rigby and the panic and confusion that swirled around Manchester Arena Monday night after a suicide bomber blew himself up as a crowd of mostly young people left the U.S. pop singer’s concert.

The blast killed at least 22 people and David Ratcliffe, the medical director of North West ambulance service, told reporters Tuesday there were 12 children under the age of 16 among the 59 injured who were taken to hospital after the terror attack.

VIDEO GALLERY: Manchester terror attack

British Prime Minister Theresa May called the tragedy “a callous terrorist attack.”

“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” May said Tuesday outside No. 10 Downing Street.

READ MORE: Timeline of terror attacks in Britain

Greater Manchester Police said Tuesday they have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester in connection with the attack and the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.

The attack on Manchester Arena came just months after a man drove a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge attack, killing four people, before stabbing a police officer to death. The man was shot to dead at the scene by police.

— With files from the Associated Press

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