A public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing begins today, with the promise that investigations will leave "no stone unturned".

A total of 22 people died in the terror attack that took place at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017 - including Scottish schoolgirl Eilidh MacLeod.

To mark the beginning of the inquiry, loved ones of the 22 victims partook in a moment of silence as their names were recited by counsel to the inquiry, Paul Greaney QC.

Families, lawyers and inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders stood with their heads bowed for the minute’s silence.

Retired High Court judge Sir John is set to lead the probe examining events before, during and after suicide bomber Salman Abedi's attack.

Abedi, surrounded by a throng of elated youngsters leaving the show, detonated his shrapnel-packed rucksack bomb which shot thousands of nuts and bolts into the air.

READ MORE: Eilidh Macleod Trust running fundraiser to take place this weekend

Formally opening the inquiry, Sir John said: “This is an exercise in establishing the truth.

“If I conclude things went wrong then I shall say so, but we are not looking for scapegoats. We are searching for the truth.

“The explosion killed 22 people, including children, the youngest was eight years old.

HeraldScotland: The 22 victims of the terror attack during the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017.The 22 victims of the terror attack during the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in May 2017.

“Salman Abedi blew himself up in the explosion but he intended as many people as possible would die with him.”

Sir John said some evidence must be heard in secret to prevent further similar terrorist attacks.

Abedi was known to the security services, and a senior MI5 officer, known only as witness J, is expected to give evidence to the inquiry later this year.

The bomber’s brother, Hashem Abedi, now 23, is expected to die in jail after last month being handed 24 life sentences for organising the bomb plot.

READ MORE: Manchester Arena bomb plotter jailed for at least 55 years

The inquiry is being held with unprecedented arrangements to ensure social distancing is observed by the families of the victims, their lawyers and others representing public bodies, witnesses and the media.

Over the following three days, Mr Greaney will set out the evidence to be heard and summarise the key issues to be considered during the inquiry, which is expected to run into spring next year.

Background evidence and pen portraits, where relatives of those killed speak about their loved ones, will begin on Thursday.

The inquiry is divided into 17 chapters to cover topics including the victims, the background and radicalisation of Salman Abedi, the response of the emergency services on the night, the planning of the attack, and whether what the security services and police knew about Salman Abedi could have prevented the attack.

Chairman Sir John will make a report and recommendations once all the evidence is heard.

Some evidence, involving information judged to be potentially of use to terrorists, is subject to restriction orders, and those hearings will be closed to the public.

The most sensitive evidence is likely to be heard at closed hearings, with both press and public excluded because of the risk to national security.

A livestream of proceedings will be broadcast so members of the public can follow the hearings.

The livestream is on the inquiry’s YouTube channel and via the inquiry website at https://manchesterarenainquiry.org.uk/