Explosions at Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels have caused as many as 23 casualties.
Here is what we know so far:
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) March 22, 2016Advertisement
The Zaventem airport explosions were minutes apart and took place at around 8am local time (7am GMT).
According to local media, one of the explosions was in the departures area and the other was on or near the runway. The metro system, which is close to the EU institutions, and the airport have been completely shut down.
There has been no official confirmation that the attacks were an act of terrorism, but Belgium’s public broadcaster RTBF reported at least one suicide bomber was behind the explosions at the airport.
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) March 22, 2016
Brussels airport confirmed that there were two explosions at the site and the airport had been evacuated. It warned people to stay away from the area.
The airport will stay closed until 6am on Wednesday and Eurostar has suspended trains to and from Brussels Midi station.
Belgian media reported that shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the two explosions in the airport.
The blasts come four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam in Brussels – the main suspect in the November Paris attacks.
There have been 2 explosions at the airport. Building is being evacuated. Don’t come to the airport area.
— Brussels Airport (@BrusselsAirport) March 22, 2016
Police have confirmed at least one death, but Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported up to 13 people were killed and 35 were wounded in the airport explosion.
Belgian broadcaster VTM said a further 10 people were killed in the blast at the Maelbeek station.
Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, said the government was monitoring the situation minute-by-minute. He said in a tweet that the ‘top priority’ was the victims.
Nous suivons la situation minute par minute. La priorité absolue va aux victimes et aux personnes présentes dans l’aéroport @BrusselsAirport
— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) March 22, 2016
The Belgian government has put the country’s terror threat to its highest level following the explosions, and Brussels has been put on lockdown, with museums reported to have been shut, The Guardian reports.
British prime minister David Cameron is to chair a meeting of the UK government’s emergency Cobra meeting. Cameron and other world leaders have expressed their support to Belgium on Twitter.
I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels. We will do everything we can to help.Advertisement
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) March 22, 2016
The European commission has locked down its staff, and Kristalina Georgieva, the commission’s vice-president for budget and human resources, told staff to stay indoors.
Our thoughts are with the people of Belgium.