Tuesday

31st Mar 2020

Brussels on high alert after deadly explosions

  • Scene of devastation at Brussels airport on Tuesday (Photo: Jef Versele)

[Updated] A double suicide attack at Brussels Airport and another explosion at a metro station have left at least 13 people dead and forced the closure of the city's public transport network.

The Belgian government has raised the threat alert to the highest, level four, across the country.

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  • At least one metro station was also hit, early reports indicate (Photo: Alexander Rentsch)

Belgium's prosecutor said two suicide attackers struck at Zaventem airport on the outskirts of the city, killing at least 13 people and injuring 35 more.

Another blast caused casualties at the Maelbeek metro station in the EU district in central Brussels. Some local reports suggested 10 people had been killed. Images from the scene showed emergency services helping people laid out on the ground.

The explosions came four days after Belgian police captured Saleh Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris attacks in November.

The airport was evacuated and closed after two explosions tore through the departures hall. Flights have been cancelled or routed to other airports.

Eyewitnesses at the airport described chaotic scenes.

"I was having a break and heard and felt a large explosion," an employee of Swissport told Flemish broadcaster VRT.

"We can see the departures hall from here and saw a plume of smoke emerging. The windows were completely shattered. People were exiting in shock. It doesn't look good."

Another eyewitness told De Morgen newspaper: "People hid under chairs and benches, because the ceiling was coming down. We immediately knew something severe was taking place. I went to see the the departures hall, which was completely destroyed."

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