At least 34 people have been killed after a Muslim terrorist suicide attack ripped through Zaventem Airport in Brussels and another blast hit a city metro station.
What we know so far
- Police have confirmed a security footage image is believed to be of three suspects in Tuesday’s bombings at the Brussels airport. Authorities are seeking help in identifying one of the men.
- At least 31 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in twin bombing attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital.
- The terror group Islamic State has claimed responsibility.
- Authorities said three bombs were brought into a main airport corridor, but one failed to explode. One of the blasts was from a suicide bomber.
- An hour later around 9 a.m., another bomb exploded on a rush-hour subway train near the European Union headquarters.
- The tragedy has triggered security alerts across western Europe and brought warnings from American officials. Multiple U.S. airlines diverted and canceled flights to and from Belgium.
Shots were fired and Arabic words were shouted before the two airport bomb blasts, according to Belgian news agency Belga. Maalbeek metro station was targeted in a separate attack during the morning rush hour.
An image showed an empty pushchair surrounded by debris from an explosion at the airport, while children could be heard screaming after the underground blast. Belgium’s federal prosecutor said all three explosions were “terrorist attacks”.
“There were two explosions in the departure area, one probably caused by a Muslim suicide bomber,” said Frederic Van Leeuw of the attack on the airport. Two people were arrested by armed police at the city’s Noord railway station hours later – as officials said they feared “people are still at large”.
At least 14 people died and 35 were wounded in the twin blasts, and some 20 people were killed and 55 injured – 10 critically – in the metro explosion, according to reports.
As the city went into lockdown, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the attacks as “cowardly” on what he described as “a black day” for the nation. “What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” he said. “This is a dark moment for our nation. We need calm and solidarity.”
Zach Mouzoun, who arrived at the airport on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first blast, told France’s BFMTV: “It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed. There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere. We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene.”
Video and images on social media showed smoke rising from an airport building and shattered windows.
Confused and shocked passengers fled the terminal to safety as they were evacuated by armed police.
Footage also showed ceiling tiles littered across the floor and strewn black luggage belts, cases and bags at a check-in desk. According to reports, the first blast took place near a counter where customers pay for overweight baggage – and the second near a Starbucks at the airport.
Anthony Deloos, who works for the baggage handling firm Swissport, said he “jumped into a luggage chute to be safe”. The attacks follow the dramatic arrest of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam in the Belgian capital on Friday – four months after November’s terror in the French capital that left 130 people dead.
Authorities have said it is unclear if he is linked to Tuesday’s suspected coordinated attacks.
Sky’s Alex Rossi had just checked-in at the airport when he heard “two very, very loud explosions”.
“I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well,” he said.