The Burj Khalifa is lit up in the colours of the Union Flag to show solidarity after the Manchester terror attack. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: The Burj Khalifa was lit up in the colours of the Union Flag on Tuesday to show solidarity with the UK following the Manchester terror attack.

The iconic Dubai landmark - the world's tallest tower - looked striking against the night sky clad in red, white and blue.

British expats living in the UAE say they are shocked and saddened by the Manchester concert bombing that killed 22 and injured dozens more.

On Monday evening, a suicide bomber set off a homemade explosive device at a concert hall in the British city.

Many of the victims were teenage girls who were at the hall to see a performance by US pop singer Ariana Grande.

Daesh on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group said in a statement published on its social media channels that "one of the caliphate's soldiers placed bombs among the crowds," and threatened more attacks. Concert attendees, meanwhile, said the attacker exploited security lapses at the venue.

The bombing was widely condemned, with world leaders and celebrities expressing solidarity following the tragedy.

EU flags flew at half mast outside the Union's headquarters in Brussels.

In the UAE, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation emphasised the UAE's unwavering stance that rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. 

News of the bombing, which is the worst terrorist attack in the UK since the July 7 bombings in 2005 which left 52 dead, left the nation reeling in shock.

Over in the UAE, British expats say that they’re wondering how their homeland can heal.

Anthony Burke

“Terrorists are winning, it’s a sad fact,” said Anthony Burke, a Ras Al Khaimah-based expat who heads up a community group of more than 2,400 Brits in the UAE.

“There is no denying that the targets this time were young children. What have they ever done to deserve this?”

Steve Watt

“We are up in arms and pointing the finger at a majority when it is clearly a minority that have these thoughts on how to cleanse the world.”

Over in Dubai, Steve Watt, another Brit, said he was “shocked and saddened to see such devastation in Manchester.”

“How can we stop this evil, barbaric behaviour that is the big question.”


“My reaction is one of sadness and heartbreak that such an event could ever happen, not only to children but to people in general,” said Andrew Walker, another expat.

“All thoughts are with the families that are having to come to terms with the devastation of losing a loved one.”

Others noted that the bombing could change the course of a nationwide election taking place on June 8. The snap election is the first to take place in the wake of the Brexit vote almost one year ago.

Peter Harrison

“This is terribly sad,” said Peter Harrison, a British expat who lives in Dubai. “To attack these people was just despicable. We‘re talking 13 to 14 year old girls. What have they done to deserve this?”

“I hope that the politicians don’t in any way use any of this to help their political causes for this election. But my suspicion is that the British public, many of them who have deep prejudices against cultural groups, will be impacted by this.”

However, the nation has a long-standing tradition of moving on and recovering from tough times, Harrison noted.

“Britain has a tradition of getting up, brushing itself down, and saying we are hurt, we are upset, and we are angry, but we are better than this.”