2016 Brussels bombings

2016 Brussels bombings
Location Brussels Airport and Maelbeek/Maalbeek metro station,Brussels, Belgium
Coordinates 50°54′05″N 4°29′04″E (airport)
50.843190°N 4.380025°E (metro station)
Date 22 March 2016
c. 08:00–09:11 (UTC+1)
Target Civilians, Transport hubs

Location of the incidents in Brussels

Attack type
Suicide attack, mass murder
Deaths At least 28:
at least 13 at Brussels Airport
15 at Maalbeek metro station[1]
Non-fatal injuries
at least 81 at airport
at least 55 in metro, 10 critically[1]
Suspected perpetrators
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[2]

On 22 March 2016, three explosions occurred in Brussels, Belgium: two at Brussels Airport and one atMaelbeek/Maalbeek metro station. At least 28 people are reported to have been killed, with dozens injured.[3]

Brussels Airport from the air.

There were two explosions within the Brussels Airport international departure hall shortly after 08:00 local time;[4] one near the American Airlines and Brussels Airlines check-in desks and the other next to a Starbucks coffee shop.[5] Belgium’s federal prosecutor has since confirmed that the explosions were carried out by a suicide bomber.[5]

Initial reports stated that 13[6] people were killed and at least 35 people were injured. Windows were shattered in the main terminal building and “significant” damage was reported inside.[5][7] Unconfirmed reports indicate that this could have been a suicide attack and an additional explosive device; the Belgian government has put the country onto its highest national threat level.[5][4][8]

In a BBC report, the news agency Belga reported that shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the explosions occurred.[9][5]

The Wall Street Journal reported that an airport worker said he “heard someone yelling in Arabic before the blasts”[10][11]

After the attack the airport was closed and all departing flights cancelled.[12] All arriving flights were either cancelled or diverted to nearby airports including Brussels Charleroi and Schiphol in Amsterdam.[13] Paris train station Gare du Nord, which has services to Brussels, was also temporarily closed.[12]

Maalbeek metro station

An explosion took place in a train travelling between the Maalbeek and Schuman metro stations near the European Parliament at 09:11CET[14] in the center of Brussels.[15][16] The Brussels Metro was subsequently shut down.[17][5] Initially no deaths were reported as a result of the metro explosion, though subsequent reports have confirmed that 15 people were killed there.[5] 55 people have been reported to be injured, 10 of those critically.[1]


Authorities have temporarily halted all air traffic to the airport, and patrons inside are being evacuated.[5][4][18][19] The Berlaymont building, which is located near the Maelbeek station and houses the headquarters of the European Commission, was subsequently placed into lockdown.[5] The Belgian police executed controlled explosions of suspicious objects around Maelbeek station, according to media reports.[20]

All public transport in the Belgian capital was shut down as a result of the attacks.[21][22] Brussels-North railway station, Brussels-Central railway stationand Brussels-South Railway station were evacuated and closed, and all Eurostar trains to Brussels Midi station were suspended.[5] All trains from Paris to Brussels were also cancelled.[5] According to Belgian broadcaster VRT, all taxis in Brussels transported passengers free of charge for the time of the public transportation lockdown.[23]

Belgium’s Interior Ministry announced that the terror alert level in the country would be raised to the highest level following the attacks.[24]

International reactions

Additional police have been deployed to the Belgian border of the Netherlands.[25] The border between France and Belgium has been closed. [26]

The French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve indicated France will increase the presence of security forces at their borders, and enforce carrying of identity cards on public transport.[27] The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo announced that the Eiffel Tower would be illuminated in the Belgian national colours on the evening of 22 March 2015.[23]

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte gave a public statement the morning after the attacks expressing condolences on behalf of the Netherlands, and stating that the though there is no imminent threat of terrorism to the Netherlands,[28] there will be increased security at the four main train stations and the border train stations, the general border with Belgium and at the Binnenhof.[29]Security was increased at Schiphol Airport.[30]

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș said that he is shocked by the Brussels bombings and strongly condemns this attack.[31]

In the United Kingdom, security was increased at London transport hubs.[32] British Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the UK government’s COBRA emergency committee to discuss the situation.[33]

In Germany, authorities strengthened security at important traffic junctions. In a letter of condolences to King Philippe, President Joachim Gauck condemned the attacks as a “terrible crime” and announced that together with Belgium, Germany would “defend our joint values of liberty and democracy”.[23]

Shortly after the news of explosions, Israel issued a temporary ban on all flights from Europe. The ban is in place from 10:30 am until midnight Israel time. The ban does not affect outgoing flights.[34]

See also


  1. a b c “Attentat suicide à Zaventem confirmé, explosion à Maelbeek: respectivement 11 et 15 morts” (in French). 2016-03-22.
  2. Tom Batchelor. “Brussels terror attack – Islamic State behind Belgium bomb blasts – World – News – Daily Express”.Express.co.uk.
  3. Breeden, Alissa J. Rubin, Aurelien; Raghavan, Anita (2016-03-22). “Explosions at Airport and Subway Leave ‘Numerous’ Dead in Brussels”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  4. a b c “Brussels Zaventem airport and metro explosions ‘kill at least 13′”. BBC. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  5. a b c d e f g h i j k Matthew Weaver (22 March 2016).“Brussels Airport explosions – live updates”. The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  6. “17 dead, dozens wounded in 2 blasts at Brussels airport – reports”. RT International.
  7. “Explosion at Brussels Airport took place near American Airlines desk – reports”. RT International.
  8. “Several dead in Brussels airport explosions”.http://www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  9. “Brussels explosions: Many dead in airport and metro terror attacks”. BBC News. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  10. Natalia Drozdiak and Gabriele Steinhauser (22 March 2016). “Brussels Rocked by Terrorist Attacks, Killing at Least 27 People”. WSJ.
  11. Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Attacks on Brussels airport, metro station kill around 20 – Belgian media”. Retrieved22 March 2016.
  12. a b “Brussels explosions: Full list of Zaventem airport diverted, cancelled and arrived flights”. International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  13.  “Vluchten naar Brussel wijken uit naar Schiphol”. NU.
  14. hrt. “Vrees voor doden bij explosie in metrostation Maalbeek”. De Standaard.
  15. jfbxl (22 March 2016). “Fumée métro maelbeeck” (Tweet).
  16. lesoir (22 March 2016). “Evacuation des passagers entre la station Arts-Loi et Maelbeek” (Tweet).
  17. STIBMIVB (22 March 2016). “All metro stations are closing” (Tweet).
  18. BrusselsAirport (22 March 2016). “There have been 2 explosions at the airport. Building is being evacuated. Don’t come to the airport area.” (Tweet).
  19. BrusselsAirport (22 March 2016). “Don’t come to the airport – airport is being evacuated. Avoid the airport area. Flights have been cancelled.” (Tweet).
  20. “Explosionen in Brüssel – was bisher bekannt ist” (in German). Tagesschau. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March2016.
  21. “Live: Belgium terror threat raised to highest level”. ABC News. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  22. STIBMIVB (22 March 2016). “Bus, tram and metro shut down” (Tweet).
  23. a b c “Liveblog zu Attentaten in Brüssel” (in German).Tagesschau. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  24. “Deadly explosions rock Brussels Airport”. CBS News. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  25. “Brussels Blasts Knock Air Travel EU-Wide”. Sky News. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  26. “Conflict News (@Conflicts) – Twitter”. twitter.com. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  27. SkyNews (22 March 2016). “French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve talks French response to #Maalbeek and #Zaventem attacks” (Tweet).
  28.  “Rutte opnieuw: ’Wij zijn met meer’”. Telegraaf.
  29.  “Rutte: aanslagen Brussel aanval op vrijheid en veiligheid”. nos.nl. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  30. “Schiphol verscherpt maatregelen”. Telegraaf (in Dutch). Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  31. “Mesaj al premierului Dacian Cioloș referitor la exploziile care au avut loc la Bruxelles în această dimineață”. gov.ro(in Romanian). Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  32. “Brussels attacks: Latest updates”.
  33. Ashley Cowburn (22 March 2016). “Brussels attacks live updates: ‘Around 23 dead and 35 injured’ after three explosions around city”. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  34. “Israel Bans Incoming Flights from Europe (Temporarily)”. Retrieved 22 March 2016.

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