Shock and heartbreak don't even begin to describe the Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert. The tragedy seems senseless in every single way that a terrorist attack can seem senseless, but with the all the lives lost, many of them so young, it weighs especially heavy. In trying to search for answers in the rubble of this incident, the outsider might be wondering if Manchester is a central target where things like this tend to happen. Has Manchester ever had a terrorist attack before the bombing at Manchester Arena?
Manchester has, in fact, had at least three other known terrorist attacks within the last 40 years, although they're very different in nature than this. In 1978 Manchester was part of a series of cities — also including Bristol, Coventry, Liverpool, and Southampton — that was bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, according to The Washington Post.
In 1992 the IRA attacked Manchester again, as The Independent reported, exploding two bombs in the city's commercial district and a nearby cathedral. In this particular incident, there was extensive damage to buildings in the area and 64 people were injured, mainly from light wounds from shards of glass.
Finally, in 1996 the IRA set off a truck bomb in Manchester, the largest bomb to be set off in the U.K. since World War II. Although authorities were aware of this particular threat and evacuated over 80,000 civilians, the bomb couldn't be defused in time. This caused over damage to buildings estimated at 700 million pounds and injured over 200 civilians, according to The Sun.
So, Manchester has seen tragedy before, but this case is particularly unique because, for one thing, it wasn't committed by the IRA. As of Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Among the 59 people hospitalized, there were 22 fatalities from the concert attack. While no lives should matter more than others, choosing to detonate a bomb at a place populated by children and families, at what's supposed to be a joyous event, feels like an attack on innocence as a whole. It is utterly senseless no matter how many ways you try to understand it.