Brussels was hit by a terrifying two-pronged terror attack on Tuesday morning which killed up to 30 people and wounded 40 others, including one Israeli citizen.
Just after 8:00 am (GMT), four bombs exploded in the departures lounge of Zaventem Airport in Brussels, killing at least 17 people and wounding up to 40 more. One hour later, during rush hour commuting, an explosion tore through Malbeek Metro Station in Central Brussels, killing at least 10. The actual numbers are constantly fluctuating as more reports come flooding in.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 22, 2016
The Belga news agency reported that prior to the airport explosions, shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard. At the time of reporting, a Belgian public broadcaster classified the airport attacks as suicide bombings. There are unconfirmed reports that at least one of the bombs may have targeted the American Airlines desk. More bombs were found at the airport as the rubble was being cleared, according to Belgium’s Het Laatste Nieuws.
Malbeek Metro Station is near the European Union offices, lending to suspicions that the EU may have been the intended target.
Though authorities have not yet officially labelled the explosions as terror attacks, Belgium announced its highest level of threat alert, which includes deploying military personnel into the streets to ensure security and assess the situation.
Metro company STIB announced on Twitter that all Metro stations are now closed. The airport too is in a total security lockdown. Further, all flights are being diverted to Antwerp and all departures have been cancelled. One flight that was about make its descent in Brussels from Israel was diverted mid-air. Currently, all Israeli flights from Europe have been cancelled until midnight.
Authorities are urging civilians not to panic and to remain where they are. The US Embassy has ordered a shelter in place for all personnel and US citizens.
BREAKING NEWS – BRUSSELS: At least 23 dead & dozens wounded in 2 massive explosions in Airport & 2 subway stations. pic.twitter.com/WUsLDgr3wm
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) March 22, 2016
The attacks come just three days after a horrific suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed three Israelis and only four days after Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national and the main suspect in the November Paris attacks, was arrested in Brussels.
Anyone concerned about friends or relatives who may have been at the scene can call +32 2-753-7300.