Brussels attack: Islamic State claims responsibility as toll crosses 30

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 22, 2016 21:30 IST
Floral tributes for the victims of Brussels attacks, including a picture of the Manneken Pis sculpture in Brussels, are placed on the steps of the Belgian embassy in Berlin, Germany. (Reuters)

The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the three blasts that killed 34 people in Brussels, saying the suicide attacks were carried out in retaliation for Belgium’s participation in an international coalition targeting the group.

A message posted on the website of Amaq Agency, which operates in areas controlled by the IS, said the attacks were carried out by several suicide bombers.

Read: IS supporters celebrate on social media after Brussels bombing

“Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the center of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State,” the message said.

“Islamic State fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station,” it added.

Read: Blasts, blood and chaos as terror visits Brussels, at least 34 killed

The IS claimed the attacks “resulted in more than 230 dead and wounded”.

The coordinated strikes came four days after a key suspect in last year’s Paris attacks, which too were claimed by the IS, was arrested in Brussels.

Two blasts targeted the main hall of Zaventem Airport and another went off at Maalbeek metro station near the European Union’s main buildings while commuters were making their way to work in rush hour.

Belgian authorities confirmed the involvement of a suicide bomber in the attack at the airport.

Twenty people died at the metro station and another 14 at the airport, Belgium’s public broadcaster RTBF reported. Belgian media reports put the number of injured at 130.

“We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters.

Earlier, interior minister Jan Jambon had warned of revenge attacks following the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a prime suspect in the Paris attacks that killed 130 people, on Friday.

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