More than 26 people died and dozens of others were injured in explosions at Brussels airport and a metro station Tuesday morning. The coordinated attacks were carried out just days after a key suspect in November 2015 Paris massacre was arrested in Brussels. Salah Abdesalam, 26, was the last known participant in the Paris attacks. He was arrested in the Molenbeek neighborhood of the Belgian capital four days ago.
Pools of blood, dead bodies, abandoned luggage
The Belgian government said it was a coordinated suicide attack. Public transport throughout Brussels has been shut down, and the city has been put on maximum terror alert. The explosions collapsed the ceilings in the departure hall at the Zaventem Airport, leaving dead bodies, pools of blood, and abandoned luggage. According to Belgian media, the actual number of casualties could be significantly higher.
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Roughly an hour after explosions at the airport, the Maelbeek metro station was ripped apart by another explosion. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he was “following the situation minute-by-minute.” The airport was damaged badly. Daniela Schwarzer, chief of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said, “We saw a few people injured, we saw the glass front of the building had exploded, glass flying around.”
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) March 22, 2016
The airport was closed, and all flights were diverted to Liege airport. Amateur videos taken in the aftermath of the attacks showed large clouds of smoke emerging from the blown out windows. Panicked people could be seen running out of the airport.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 22, 2016
Facebook activates ‘safety check’ after Brussels explosions
Facebook was quick to activate the “safety check” system after attacks in Brussels. The social networking company’s system provides an easy way for people to mark themselves as “safe” after a major crisis or disaster so people searching for them will know they are safe.
— BCNN1 (@bcnn1) March 22, 2016
The attacks have raised security concerns across Europe. French President Francois Hollande convened an emergency meeting with his top security advisers. US President Barack Obama has also been briefed about the Belgium explosions.