Three bombs exploded in Brussels, Belgium this week killing at least 30 people and injuring 230.
Two blasts took place at Zaventem airport at 8 am local time, killing 11 and injuring 100. A third bomb went off at Maelbeek metro station around an hour later. 20 people died in this attack and 130 were injured.
Some witnesses reported hearing shots fired and shouts in Arabic before initial two explosions which were both in the check-in area. A third bomb at the airport failed to detonate and was destroyed by the security services. The bomb at the metro struck the middle carriage of a three-carriage train while it was moving away from the platform during rush hour.
Alexandre Brans, who was wiping blood from his face, told The Associated Press that;
“The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro,” he said.
In an online statement, Daesh quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks, although the statement offered no more details than were publicly available and have also warned of “harder and more bitter” attacks to come.
Two of the suicide bombers who carried out attacks in Brussels on Tuesday have been named as brothers Khalid and Brahim el-Bakraoui, Belgian nationals. The federal prosecutor said Brahim blew himself up at Zaventem while Khalid struck at Maelbeek metro. The brothers were known to the police and had criminal records. They were identified by DNA records. Two other attackers at the airport have not yet been identified. One of them died, another is on the run.
The League of Imams in Belgium condemned “firmly the criminal and unspeakable acts … which took the lives of tens of our citizens and injured countless others”.
Within minutes of the news of the first explosion at Zaventem airport, emergency plans swung into action. At least 25 hospitals in Brussels and neighbouring provinces began caring for the injured, according to newspaper ‘La Libre Belgique’. Off-duty doctors and nurses were also asked to come to work and routine operations were postponed.
The Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, described it as a “black day” for Belgium, saying: “What we feared has happened.”
EU Interior and Justice Ministers will hold a crisis meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss their response to the attacks.
The 28 EU leaders said the bombings were an “attack on our open democratic society” in a joint statement.
Belgium is observing three days of national mourning. The nation also held a minute’s silence at midday on Wednesday.
The country has raised its terrorism alert to the highest level, and its international airport will remain closed on Thursday and Brussels Metro is due to close on Wednesday evening, operators say.
Belgium’s King and Queen have visited the airport and met some of the 300 people injured in the attacks. Around 150 people remain in hospital, 61 in intensive care.
The colours of the Belgian flag – black, yellow and red – were been on to national landmarks across Europe in a show of solidarity.
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