Multiple bomb blasts kill 26 at Brussels Airport and on the metro rail

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March 22, 2016

Two explosions have struck the departures area of Zaventem airport in Brussels killing at least 26 people and seriously injuring a further dozen.

Airport authorities said the explosions were centred on an American Airlines desk in a departure hall. The Belga news agency reports that shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the two explosions went off.

While emergency services are clearing the airport completely, Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws reports that more bombs have been found and in news just in more bombs have been detonated in the Brussels subway at Maalbeek Matro station which is located close to EU institutions.  The Metro system too, like the airport, is shut down. 

Airport spokeswoman Anke Fransen said: "There were two blasts in the departure hall. First aid team are in place for help."

Passengers were led on to the tarmac and the crisis centre urged people not to come to the airport. All flights have been cancelled and the airport has been evacuated.

The blasts come just four days after the capture in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the jihadist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015.

Belgium has now raised its terror threat to its highest level.

Social media showed pictures of smoke rising from the departure hall where all windows had been shattered by the blast. Passengers were seen running away down a slipway from the departure lounge.

Sky News television's Alex Rossi, at the scene, said he heard two "very, very loud explosions".

"I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well…I went towards where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked."

"The thinking here is that it is some kind of terrorist attack – that hasn't been verified by any of the authorities here at the airport."

 

Passengers due to arrive or depart from Brussles airport today are best to visit their airlines website, facebook or twitter page for advice.