After a devastating bombing yesterday at Brussels international airport and metro station yesterday, more than 30 people are believed to have been killed and dozens more injured. Twin blasts hit the airport at about 7:00 GMT, with 11 people reported killed. Another explosion struck Maelbeek metro station near the EU headquarters an hour later, leaving about 20 dead. The police in Brussels have issued a wanted notice for one man seen pushing a luggage trolley through the airport. He was pictured in CCTV footage with two other suspects, who are believed to have been killed in the blasts.
Daesh, also known as the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the attacks through the Amaq agency. In response, Belgium has raised its terrorism alert to its highest level, and three days of national mourning have been declared. Prime Minister Charles Michel has declared the latest attacks to be “blind, violent and cowardly”, and asked for solidarity on this day.
Two blasts tore through the departures area of Zaventem airport not long after 7:00 GMT, with a suicide bomber most likely responsible. Eleven people were killed and 81 wounded, according to Belgian Health Minister Maggie de Block. Some witnesses reported hearing gunshots and shouts in Arabic before the two explosions, while others said that people fled the first blast before getting caught in the second. A third bomb failed to detonate and was destroyed by the security services. One local firefighter described “war injuries”, saying that it was the worst thing he’d seen in his career. The incident has left tourists wondering what to do now, and where it was safe for them to go.
The metro blast occurred about an hour later during the rush hour at Maelbeek station. It struck the middle carriage of a three-carriage train while moving away from the platform. About 20 people were killed and more than 100 were injured, 17 of them severely. The station is close to EU institutions, the the European Commission has told employees to stay indoors or at home.
Local and international travel has been suspended or disrupted, and security has tightened across Europe. All flights have been cancelled, with the airport due to reopen today. Eurostar has cancelled all trains to and from Brussels, while security in the UK has been stepped up at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. In France, the cabinet has held an emergency meeting, and there’s been extra security at Dutch airports. In a joint statement, the 28 EU leaders have said the bombings were an “attack on our open democratic society”. Outside of the EU, Vladimir Putin and Obama have both condemned the attacks, referring to them as “barbaric” and “outrageous”, respectively.
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