Culture

Brussels Has Been Hit By A Multi-Site Terrorist Attack

BELGIUM-ATTACKS-METRO
Getty Image

(UPDATE: Please follow our continuing coverage with updates at the bottom of this post.)

A series of multi-site explosions has rocked the city of Brussels, Belgium, and details are starting to emerge. This photo shows the chaos unfolding where an explosion detonated at a subway station during rush hour. Police and firefighters responded on the scene where an investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, at least two other explosions hit the Brussels Zaventem airport where Reuters reports that gunfire was also heard. CNN adds that several people have been removed by stretcher with at least 11 people killed at the airport. CNN updates the total number dead to 26, which accounts for several killed at the subway station. Another estimated 130 people have sustained injuries at both locations.

The apparent coordinated nature of these explosions brings to mind last November’s Paris attacks, which killed over 120 people. Only last week, the eighth suspect, ISIS member Salah Abdeslam, was shot and captured in Brussels, which has remained on alert for many months.

Immediately following Tuesday morning’s violence, Brussels raised its terror alert to the highest level, 4. (Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw updated to label these explosions as “terrorist attacks.”)

This infographic shows where the explosions detonated at the airport.

This video shows panic and chaos at the airport immediately after the explosions. Several blown windows are visible on a terminal building.

The BBC quotes British Sky News television’s Alex Rossi, who was at the airport when two “very, very loud” blasts occurred near the American Airlines terminal. Rossi described the experience:

“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.”

In this photo, smoke can be seen pouring out of the Maalbeek subway station. All public transport in Brussels has been shut down until further notice.

BELGIUM-UNREST-BLAST
Getty Image

This photo from within the subway station shows absolute destruction.

UPDATE – 7 a.m.: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is calling for calm and solidarity after these “blind, violent, and cowardly” acts. In a show of solidarity, Paris will light up the Eiffel Tower tonight with the Belgian flag’s colors.

A fourth explosion was also heard on the Rue de la Loi, a main thoroughfare that runs close by several government buildings. This appears to have been a controlled detonation.

Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and New York have all boosted security after the Brussels events. The Metro Transit police in D.C. will conduct extra sweeps today, but they have received no known threat at this time.

UPDATE – 9:00am: The Daily Mail has photos of Belgian authorities arresting two men with more suspects at large. The airport also confirms possession of footage that shows a suicide bomber detonating his explosive.

×