At least 34 have been reported dead and over 100 injured in coordinated attacks that ripped the Brussels international airport early Tuesday shortly before another blast was heard at a metro station near the EU headquarters.
Three explosions that ripped through Belgium on Tuesday killed at least 34 people, according to Belgian media, and raised the specter of terror once again in the heart of Europe.
Two explosions ripped through Zaventem airport early this morning, killing at least 14 people according to Belgian authorities and injuring many more.
About an hour later, a third explosion hit the Maalbeek metro station in the EU quarter, killing 20 people,according to RTBF.
Authorities told people in Brussels to stay where they were, bringing the city to a standstill. Airport security was also tightened in Paris, London and other European cities. All flights were cancelled, arriving planes and trains were diverted and Belgium’s terror alert level was raised to its highest level.
Belgium’s federal prosecutor has confirmed that the explosions at Brussels airport were carried out by a suicide bomber, according to broadcasters VTM and RTBF reported.
All flights were cancelled, arriving planes and trains were diverted and Belgium’s terror alert level was raised to its highest level.
Authorities told people in Brussels to stay where they were, bringing the city to a standstill. Airport security was also tightened in Paris, London and other European cities.
European security officials have been braced for a major attack for weeks, and warned that ISIS was actively preparing to strike. Abdeslam’s arrest on Friday heightened those fears, as investigators said many more people were involved in the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people in Paris than originally thought, and that some are still on the loose.
“The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion,” Alexandre Brans, 32, told AP, wiping blood from his face. “It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.”
The metro station hit by the explosion was Maelbeek, close to European Union institutions. There were no details immediately available of casualties in this second incident of the morning.
‘It was a war scene,’ says witness
Belgian media reported 13 people were killed at the airport. Zach Mouzoun, who arrived on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first blast, told BFM television that the second, louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes, mixing water with victims’ blood.
Marc Noel, 63, was about to board a Delta flight to Atlanta, to return to his home in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A Belgian native, Noel says he was in an airport shop buying automobile magazines was the first explosion occurred about 45 metres away.
“People were crying, shouting, children. It was a horrible experience,” he told AP. He said his decision to buy the magazines might have saved his life. “I don’t want to think about it, but I would probably have been in that place when the bomb went off.”
#NEWSGRAPHIC Explosions rock Brussels airport and metro service in Tuesday morning rush hour pic.twitter.com/fCUFNOfBoI
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 22, 2016