Wednesday, 23 March 2016

34 Dead, Dozens Injured in Powerful blasts At Brussels Airport, Metro Station

It is a black day for Belgium as its capital has been hit by a series of explosions that caused scores of deaths and injuries in the city’s airport and metro station.
28 Dead, Scores Injured in Brussels' Airport, Metro Station Explosions
A twin explosion tore through the departure hall of Brussels’ Zaventem airport on Tuesday morning killing up to 14 people and injuring at least 30 others, Belgian media said.
The agency said shots were fired and there were shouts in Arabic shortly before the explosions.
Reports indicated that one of the explosions took place near the American Airlines check-in desk.
A government source confirmed that it was an attack, while Anke Fransen, spokeswoman for Brussels Airport, said there were multiple injuries. “We can confirm that there have been two explosions in the departure hall. We called the emergency services on the ground – they [are] now provid[ing] first aid to the injured.”
The reports citing a firefighter said that other explosive devices had been discovered at the airport.
28 Dead, Scores Injured in Brussels' Airport, Metro Station Explosions
Another explosion occurred at the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels that had killed at least 20 people while a further 10 people had been injured, according to local police, as cited by RTBF television.
The explosion took place less than an hour after a deadly bombing at the Zaventem airport.
Minutes after the blast at Maalbeek, a second explosion was reported to have taken place at the near-by Schuman metro station. Images on social media showed passengers being evacuated from inside the metro and walking along the train tracks.
“It is just a pure chaos at the moment on the streets,” Annie Machon, a former intelligence officer for MI5 who lives in a Belgium capital indicated.
“The metro bombing was in Maalbeek, which is indeed 5 minutes down the road from me. The whole of the area is just now in lockdown, the sirens going off everywhere, there are helicopters overhead,” she added.
The Maalbeek station is also near a number of important EU buildings such as Berlaymont building, which houses the EU Commission and the Council of the European Union.
Staff working at the EU commission had also been told to stay indoors.
Belgian authorities had raised the security alert to the highest level following blasts at the Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek Metro station.
28 Dead, Scores Injured in Brussels' Airport, Metro Station Explosions
Due to the current security situation in Brussels, the city’s transport authority closed all public transport services.
Eurostar had taken the decision in the wake of the attacks to cancel trains running to and from Brussels on Tuesday. Staff had told people not to come to the station and that tickets can be exchanged for free.
“No trains are currently running to or from Brussels Midi,” the high speed rail service said on its Twitter feed, as cited by Reuters. “Brussels customers are advised to postpone, and not come to station.”
Meanwhile, a crisis center in Brussels has been telling members of the public to “stay where you are.” The Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel had also issued a similar plea to the people of Brussels.
The general public in the Belgian capital was advised not to call friends and family as the phone networks were becoming saturated. Instead, people were asked to text or use social media in order to stay in touch with friends and family.Brussels blasts
In the meantime, it is official that the Brussels airport explosions are considered a terrorist attack, according to an official communique from the Belgian government.
The Belgian broadcaster VRT reported that the blasts were carried out by a suicide bomber. They come just four days after Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind behind the November Paris Attacks that killed 130 people, was arrested in Belgium.
Belgian intelligence had advance knowledge of plans to carry out terrorist attacks in the country but was unaware of their time or location, the French BFMTV reported Tuesday, citing police sources.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
22-03-2016 | 14:01
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