- Death toll climbs to 28 in attacks on Brussels airport and metro station.
- Dozens injured in what prosecutors say was a suicide bombing.
- All public transport shut down in Brussels.
- Authorities launch massive police operation.
Two explosions occurred at Zaventem Airport and another ripped through the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels on Tuesday morning.
The prosecutor’s office told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that at least 13 people died and 35 were injured at the airport.
The RTBF reports that 15 people died and that 55 people were injured, including 10 in serious condition, in the explosion in the Maelbeek station, according to the Brussels transport operator STIB.
Belgium’s federal prosecutor said the explosion at the airport was caused by a suicide bomber, RTBF reports.
“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said at a news conference. “We know there are many dead, many injured.”
The RTBF reports that raids are currently being conducted throughout Brussels and that people suspected of being linked to the attacks are actively sought, including by street police patrols. According to the Daily Mail, two suspects were arrested about a mile from the Maelbeek station.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) March 22, 2016
France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, said France stood in solidarity with Belgium. “We are at war, and have endured for many months now, acts of war in Europe,” he said, according to Le Figaro.
French President François Hollande also reacted to the attacks, saying that “Terrorists struck Brussels but it was Europe that was targeted,” the AP reports.
The explosions at the airport originated near the American Airlines check-in desk at about 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. EDT), according to Sky News. Smoke was seen rising from the airport. There was also video on Twitter of people fleeing.
At about 9 a.m. local time, an explosion was reported in the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels, in the heart of Belgium’s government district near the European Council and European Parliament buildings.
Evan Lamos, a freelance video and media worker, was on a train heading into Brussels right before the blast at the metro station. “On the Metro between Schuman and Maelbeek. We have just been stopped due to an ‘incident on the line’. Can hear soft thudding in distance,” he tweeted.
“We felt a blast of air and my ears popped shortly after leaving Schuman station. The Metro stopped immediately,” he added.
He took this video of the train being evacuated in the dark after the explosion:
This was the scene a short while ago, between the Arts-Lois and Maelbeek metro stations in Brussels. pic.twitter.com/aTZjqsF7Gt
— Evan Lamos (@evanlamos) 22 March 2016
“Can still hear soft thudding in the distance,” Lamos said, before he was evacuated through a smoke-filled tunnel.
At the airport, people began sharing video and photos of the survivors on social media while they were still inside.
All metro stations in Brussels have been closed, and no buses, metros, or trams are running anymore.
Reuters reports that the main rail stations in Brussels are closed, and Eurostar confirmed that no trains were running to or from Brussels.
The blasts come four days after the police in Brussels captured Salah Abdeslam, the main remaining suspect in the Paris attacks in November.
There was footage on Twitter from inside the airport:
Sky News reporter Alex Rossi was at the airport’s duty-free shop when the explosions happened.
“I could feel the building move,” he said. “There was also dust and smoke as well. I went towards where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked.”
The Belgian news agency Belga reported that shots were fired and that there were shouts in Arabic shortly before the explosion.
Belgium’s interior minister, Jan Jambon, announced that terror levels were at maximum level after the two explosions and that their absolute priority were the people still at the airport.
Brussels airport confirmed that there had been two explosions, adding that all flights had been cancelled. No trains to and from the airport were running.
According to CNN, the Belgian prosecutor said that the explosions were suspected terrorist attacks and that a criminal investigation was opened.
AFP reports that security at Paris train stations, metros, and airports has been reinforced. Belgians were warned to stay at home and to not make phone calls, as the network was being saturated with calls.
US President Barack Obama was briefed on the Brussels attacks while on an official visit to Cuba, according to a White House statement.
RTBF reports that all tunnels in Bruxelles have been closed and that border controls at the Belgium-Netherlands border are in place.
NBC News reports that a European counterterrorism official confirmed that ISIS was suspected to be behind the attacks.
This is a developing story, click here for updates.
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