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Islamic State claim responsibility for terror attack in Brussels

22 March 2016

7:34 AM

22 March 2016

7:34 AM

  • At least 14 dead after two explosions by ‘suicide bombers’ at American Airlines check-in desk at Brussels airport. 81 injured. Firemen are said to have found a third unexploded device.
  • Separate explosion at Maelbeek metro station in Brussels city centre, 500 metres from an EU institution. At least 20 dead and 55 injured.
  • Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Brussels airport and the city’s Metro have shut down. The airport will remain closed until 6am on Wednesday morning.
  • All Eurostar trains to and from Brussels have been cancelled. All trains to Brussels stations from Paris have been cancelled.
  • The attacks come four days after the arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, a suspected participant in November’s attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
  • France has announced it is deploying an extra 1,600 police at its borders.
  • The Belgian federal prosecutor has confirmed that the three explosions this morning were terror attacks.

Islamic State have now claimed responsibility for the attack. A news agency affiliated with the group has released the following statement:

Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the centre of the Belgian capital Brussels.

Police have also released a photo of a man they wish to question. The unknown man, seen below dressed in white, is thought to be linked to this morning’s bombing. The identity of the two other men is unknown:



Confirmation that it was a terror attack. 
The Belgian federal prosecutor Fredere Van Leeuw has confirmed that the three explosions this morning were terror attacks. The Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has also given a press conference, confirming that the attacks were carried out by a suicide bomber, and that there were ‘many dead, many injured’. It is still unclear what the exact death toll is.


 

Separate attack on Metro, near an EU institution in city centre: A separate explosion has been reported at a Brussels metro stop near to the EU institutions between Schuman and Maalbeek Metro stations. 10 people are reported to have been killed in the attack.

The following AFP map shows where the attacks happened:

This, following the explosions at Brussels airport earlier this morning, suggests a coordinated set of terrorist attacks. The entire Metro system in Brussels has now been closed. Pictures and videos show people fleeing from the station.


Airport attack at Brussels. 13 people reported dead: At least thirteen people have died and around 35 people were injured after two explosions at Brussels airport in a suspected terror attack. Witnesses say that two loud blasts were heard and smoke was seen rising from the terminal. Some witnesses described seeing ‘dismembered bodies everywhere’ after the blasts. Photographs from inside the arrivals hall showed the floor was covered in fallen roof tiles and dust, as well as injured bodies:

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The explosion is reported to have taken place at the American Airlines area of the departure hall at around 8am (7am GMT). The airport has now been closed and flights have been cancelled. Train services have been suspended. Passengers have been evacuated and taken to a secure area on coaches. The Belgium government has now put the country on the highest alert level.

Some reports suggest that shots were fired, and that ‘words were shouted in Arabic’.  The blasts come four days after the arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. He was captured by Belgian police after a shootout on Friday. Some reports have suggested that this may be a possible revenge attack.


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