Time: 8:41 a.m. CEST
Three attacks in Brussels’ Airport Zaventen with more than 30 dead and over 100 injured; 14 killed in two attacks at the international airport and 81 injured; 20 killed and 106 injured in an attack on subway station Maelbeek; Brussels on lockdown, threat level four across the country
On Tuesday morning two explosions hit the Brussels airport Zaventem in Belgium and caused multiple deaths and severe damages to one of the departing terminals with ceiling debris fallen on the floor. The Brussels prosecutor’s office called the explosions terror attacks. Health Minister Maggie De Block said that current number of death after the attack at Zaventem Airport is 11 and 81 injured, Belgian broadcaster VTR said on its online news site.
Another explosion at the metro station caused evacuation of passengers in the tunnel just outside Schuman metro station. Evan Lamos has shared some images when evacuated at Arts-Loi from the train at Arts-Loi heading towards Maelbeek, where the third explosion occurred and injured at least 15. Belgium broadcaster VTR says that 15 people died at the explosion at Maelbeek metro station. Belgium De Standaard cites the fire brigade for the number of deaths. The explosion occurred on a subway car.
Prime Minister Charles Michel has strongly condemned the attacks in Brussels and confirmed a range of additional security measures. He called to be “united and in solidarity.” These are key moments until 10:31 a.m. CEST on Tuesday after shocking news was shared almost immediately via social media, news services and Belgian media.
- There were two explosions at around 08:00 (07:00 GMT) at Zaventem airport as people queued to check in
- Belgian broadcaster VRT says at least 13 people were killed and 35 were wounded at the airport
- Shots were heard before the explosions, which appear to have struck near the American Airlines and Brussels Airline check in desk
- Some time later there was also a blast at Maelbeek metro station, very close to the city’s main European Union buildings
- The Belgian government has raised the terror alert level to four across the country, the highest level on Monday
Latest updates: Another explosion hit Brussels metro station at Maelbeek, pictures on social media show. Train staff confirmed the explosion. Metro services are now on lockdown since Brussels was hit with at least three separate explosions, two at the Zaventem Airport and one at the metro station. Even though, Belgian government confirmed casualties, no official information until now on the numbers of death in the attack on the European soil. Belgian media inform that the explosion at the airport was a suicide attack. Belgium Security Council has a meeting to discuss the planning, communications, rescue and safety. Belgium introduces tighter controls at the border with France and additional safety measures at nuclear power plants.
Belgian Prime minister Charles Michel tweeted that the government is following the situation as developing and that priority has been given to the victims and the personnel present at the airport. Later Michel advised population to stay indoors and calls crisis center.
The Belgian broadcaster RTBF quoted a witness as saying there were people injured or unconscious in the departure area, opposite the Sheraton hotel.
The blasts come four days after the capture in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris attacks in November, but at least until now there are no reports that the two events are connected. Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon had said on Monday that the country was on the highest level of alert for possible revenge attacks after the capture of Salah Abdeslam.
He told Belgian radio: “We know that stopping one cell can… push others into action. We are aware of it in this case.” Zaventem airport is 11km (7 miles) northeast of Brussels and serviced more than 23 million passengers last year, while metro station at Maalebeck is four minutes walking to the building of the European Commission in Brussels.
American Airlines statement:
“We are aware of an incident at the Brussels airport departure hall and are taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. At this time, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries. American Airlines flight 751 has been canceled for today. When operations at the airport resume, we will re-accommodate our customers,” the statement read.