Raw Footage: Inside Belgium Airport After Attack
Explosions in Brussels leave dozens dead, many more injured.
BY MICHAEL SEBASTIAN | Mar 23, 2016 | Culture
At least 31 people are dead and 187 injured in Brussels, where explosions rocked the city's subway system and airport during the busy morning commute on Tuesday. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released through its news agency Amaq, BBC News reports. The explosions come just days after authorities in the Belgian capital captured Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the November 13 Paris attacks who said he had created a new network and was planning new attacks, the AP reported.
Brussels went on lockdown for several hours, and all flights were canceled and all trains, buses and trams shut down, according to The New York Times, which said cell service has also been jammed. The city has raised its terror warning to its highest level, as other European cities, including Paris, have tightened security. The airport will remain closed at least through Wednesday.
"We are at war," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. "We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war."
President Obama remarked on the attacks during a speech in Cuba, where he's traveling. "We will do whatever is necessary to support our ally and friend Belgium," he said. The attacks in Brussels are "another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together regardless of nationality, race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism."
"We can and we will defeat [them]," the president added.
The violence in Brussels began around 8 a.m. on Tuesday when two blasts rang out in a departures hall at the city's main airport. At least 11 people were killed from these explosions—earlier reports said 13 were dead—with at least one the work of a suicide bomber, according to CBS News. The Associated Press said one or possibly two Kalashnikov rifles were found in the departures lounge at the airport. Some reports have said gunfire was heard at the time of the blasts.
An unnamed U.S. official told the AP that security experts believe at least one suitcase bomb went off at the Brussels airport. The official said that the explosives appeared to be sophisticated. Another official told the AP that a third bomb has been deactivated.
"We heard a big noise and saw a big flash," a traveler named Ilaria Ruggiano told the Times. "My mother went to the floor—she was hit. I just dropped my luggage and went to the floor. A kid came out, bleeding a lot. I tried to help him with a tissue, but it was not enough. There were two bombs."
MUSLIMS HAVE JUST ATTACKED AGAIN Two explosions were heard at Brussels' Zaventem airport on Tuesday, Belgian media reported, suspecting a terrorist attack which has come on the heels of the recent arrest in Belgium of a key suspect in the November Paris attacks. Sky News initially reported one dead and several injured in the airport explosions, and that the attack happened at an American Airlines check-in desk. Belgian media are reporting several fatalities, while another explosion has gone off at a Metro train station in Brussels.Posted by Reclaim Australia Victoria inc on Tuesday, March 22, 2016
According to NBC News, three Mormon missionaries from Utah were badly injured in the attack; Elder Joseph Empey, Elder Mason Wells, and Elder Richard Norby had just dropped off a fellow missionary at the airport when the explosions started. U.S. military officials said that one American service member and four members of his family were injured in the attacks, but would not release identifying information.
About an hour later, another explosion hit a subway station in the heart of Brussels near the European Union. A Belgian subway official told the AP that 15 are dead and 55 injured as a result of the subway station explosions.
"The Metro was leaving Maelbeek station for Schuman when there was a really loud explosion," Alexandre Brans, 32, told the AP as he wiped blood from his face. "It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.”
Passengers being evacuated after explosion at Maalbeek metro station in #Brussels. LATEST: bbc.in/21ENlj8Video credit: Evan Lamos/EurActivPosted by BBC News on Tuesday, March 22, 2016
In the wake of the attacks, Facebook turned on its safety check, allowing people in Brussels to indicate whether they're safe. Areas of the city turned into triage centres to help treat the wounded, as people on social media offered to help, with the hashtag #ikwilhelpen (I want to help) emerging as a trending topic on Twitter. At least one person tweeted that cabs in the city were picking people up for free.
President Obama, who's traveling in Cuba, was briefed on the situation early Tuesday morning, according to the AP, which said U.S. officials were in contact with Belgian authorities. Officials in New York City said they were beefing up security at the city's airports, train stations and bridges, NBC News reported. There are no known credible threats, however. Transit officials in Washington D.C. also indicated they were stepping up security.
Presidential candidates weighed in on Tuesday morning, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump telling CBS News he'd be "extremely careful" about people from the Middle East" arriving in America.
"I would be extremely careful about people from the Middle East coming into our country. I would be extremely careful as to what's going on," Donald Trump said. "You have an ISIS problem that's a massive problem. They want to come in, they want to do big damage, and I would be extremely careful about that."
In the wake of terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, in December, Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
Hillary Clinton told the Today show that America needs to work more closely with its allies and insisted officials needn't resort to torture in response to the attacks.
Ted Cruz said in a Facebook post that "our hearts break for the men and women of Brussels," calling them the latest in a string of coordinated attacks and vowing to defeat Radical Islam.
John Kasich called on the U.S. to "redouble its efforts" to work with allies to root out terrorists.
From: Esquire US.