|2016 Brussels bombings|
|Location||Brussels Airport and Maelbeek/Maalbeek metro station,Brussels, Belgium|
|Date||22 March 2016
c. 08:00–09:11 (UTC+1)
|Target||Civilians, Transport hubs|
|Suicide attack, mass murder|
|Deaths||At least 28:
at least 13 at Brussels Airport
15 at Maalbeek metro station
|at least 81 at airport
at least 55 in metro, 10 critically
|Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant|
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.
There were two explosions within the Brussels Airport international departure hall shortly after 08:00 local time; one near the American Airlines and Brussels Airlines check-in desks and the other next to a Starbucks coffee shop. Belgium’s federal prosecutor has since confirmed that the explosions were carried out by a suicide bomber.
Initial reports stated that 13 people were killed and at least 35 people were injured. Windows were shattered in the main terminal building and “significant” damage was reported inside. 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.
After the attack the airport was closed and all departing flights cancelled. All arriving flights were either cancelled or diverted to nearby airports including Brussels Charleroi and Schiphol in Amsterdam. Paris train station Gare du Nord, which has services to Brussels, was also temporarily closed.
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 in the center of Brussels. The Brussels Metro was subsequently shut down. Initially no deaths were reported as a result of the metro explosion, though subsequent reports have confirmed that 15 people were killed there. 55 people have been reported to be injured, 10 of those critically.
Authorities have temporarily halted all air traffic to the airport, and patrons inside are being evacuated. The Berlaymont building, which is located near the Maelbeek station and houses the headquarters of the European Commission, was subsequently placed into lockdown. The Belgian police executed controlled explosions of suspicious objects around Maelbeek station, according to media reports.
All public transport in the Belgian capital was shut down as a result of the attacks. 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. All trains from Paris to Brussels were also cancelled. According to Belgian broadcaster VRT, all taxis in Brussels transported passengers free of charge for the time of the public transportation lockdown.
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. 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.
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, 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.Security was increased at Schiphol Airport.
In the United Kingdom, security was increased at London transport hubs. British Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the UK government’s COBRA emergency committee to discuss the situation.
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”.
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.
- 2016 Brussels police raids in the days before the bombings
- January 2015 anti-terrorism operations in Belgium
- November 2015 Paris attacks
- Terrorism in the European Union
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