At least 13 people were killed and dozens of others were injured after terrorists set off two explosions at the Brussels airport and at least one more in the city’s subway system Tuesday morning, days after a key suspect in last November’s Paris terror attack was apprehended in the city.
Belgium’s interior minister announced that the terror threat was being raised to its maximum level. Flights were canceled and arriving planes were diverted, while all public transportation in Brussels was shut down. Security was also tightened at all Paris airports.
“One person has died and perhaps there are several more,” said a police official at the airport told the Associated Press.
Brussels Airport spokesman Anke Fransen confirmed that the blasts occurred shortly after 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. EST). Reuters, citing the Belga news agency, reported that shots were fired and shouting in Arabic was heard before the explosions.
Zach Mouzoun, who arrived on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first blast, told BFM television that the second, louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes, mixing water with blood from victims.
“It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed,” he said. “There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere.”
“We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene,” he said.
About 80 minutes after the airport blasts, an explosion was reported at the Maelbeek subway station, not far from the headquarters of the European Union. Rescue workers set up a makeshift treatment center in a local pub. Dazed and shocked morning travelers streamed from the metro entrances as police tried to set up a security cordon.
Alexandre Brans, 32, who was wiping blood from his face, said: “The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.”
First responders ran through the street outside with two people on stretchers, their clothes badly torn.
The explosions at the airport hit at the middle of the busiest time there. Smoke was seen billowing out of the terminal while other images showed a security officer patrolling inside a hall with blasted paneling and what appears to be ceiling insulation covering the floor. A member of Belgium’s parliament, whose wife was at the airport, told Belga that the wounded were struck by flying glass and ceiling tiles.
Marie-Odile Lognard, a traveller who was lining up in the departures hall for a flight to Abu Dhabi, told BFM television that people panicked after the first explosion about 20 meters from her and that a second explosion about 15 seconds later caused parts of the ceiling to collapse.
“I knew it was an explosion because I’ve been around explosions before,” said Denise Brandt, an American woman interviewed by Sky television.
“I felt the explosion, the way it feels through your body. And we just looked at each other and I said let’s go this way. It was over there. There was just this instinct to get away from it. Then we saw people running, crying, toward us. So I knew we were going in the right direction and away from it. ”
Amateur video shown on France’s i-Tele television showed passengers including a child running with a backpack dashing out of the terminal different directions as they tugged luggage.
With three runways in the shape of a “Z,” the airport connects Europe’s capital to 226 destinations around the world and handled nearly 23.5 million passengers in 2015.
European security officials have been braced for a major attack for weeks, and warned that ISIS was actively preparing. The arrest of Salah Abdeslam in Brussels last week heightened those fears, as investigators said many people involved in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people were still on the loose. After Abdeslam was arrested, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said authorities learned he had created a new network around him and had access to several weapons, though there was no immediate indication that he or ISIS had any involvement in Tuesday’s attacks.
Read the Original Article at FOX News
Should this come as any surprise after this report by Jihad Watch?