Dozens of people have been killed and nearly 100 have been seriously injured after a series of terror attacks rocked the city of Brussels on Tuesday. Massive explosions ravaged Brussels’ main international airport, and a bomb was detonated in a subway station in the heart of the city.
Two bombs hit Zaventem airport, which handled 23 million passengers last year, at about 07:00 GMT during the busy morning rush, one of the explosions is believed to be from a suicide bomber. Another bomb was set off at the Maelbeek subway station an hour later. The Belga news agency reports that guns were also fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the two explosions in the airport.
The attacks in the airport splattered blood across the departure lounge and collapsed the ceiling. Smoke was seen billowing out of the terminal.
Zach Mouzoun had just arrived at the airport from a Geneva flight about 10 minutes before the first blast. He told BFM television that the second, louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes, mixing water with victims’ blood.
“It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed. There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere,” Mouzoun said. “We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene.”
The latest reports state that there at least 28 people dead. A spokesman for the Brussels Metro said 15 people were killed and 55 injured in an explosion on a train, and Belgian media reported at least 13 dead at the airport attack.
Someone shared the chaos at the airport on Periscope.
“We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium said.
Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level, diverting planes and trains and ordering people to stay where they were. Airports across Europe immediately tightened security.
Two suspects were arrested a mile from the Maelbeek station at around 11 a.m. as the city was flooded by troops searching for the terrorists who carried out the deadly siege.
The attacks could be retribution for the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a terrorist who was involved in the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people in November, but was able to escape France, but was captured by Belgium police four days ago.
Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel called the Brussels attacks “blind, violent and cowardly”, saying they were a “tragic moment in our country’s history. I would like to call on everyone to show calmness and solidarity.”
French President Hollande said, “Through the Brussels attacks, the whole of Europe was hit.”
“We are at war,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after a crisis meeting called by the French president. “We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war.”
This cartoon as well as the hashtag #JeSuisBelge have gone viral in response to the atrocious attacks.