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Brussels live: 21 people killed in blasts at airport, metro station

Explosions tore through the departure hall of Brussels airport and struck a metro station on Tuesday morning, killing up to 21 people and injuring several others, local reports said. The Belga agency said shots were fired and there were shouts in Arabic shortly before the blasts at the airport. Pictures on social media showed smoke rising from the terminal building through shattered windows and passengers running away down a slipway, some still hauling their bags.

Brussels attack Updated: Mar 22, 2016 18:24 IST
Agencies
A victim receives first aid by rescuers near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels.
A victim receives first aid by rescuers near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels.(AFP Photo)

Explosions tore through the departure hall of Brussels airport and struck a metro station on Tuesday morning killing up to 21 people and injuring several others, local reports said.

The Belga agency said shots were fired and there were shouts in Arabic shortly before the blasts at the airport. Pictures on social media showed smoke rising from the terminal building through shattered windows and passengers running away down a slipway, some still hauling their bags.

The blasts at the airport and metro station occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Belgian police had been on alert for any reprisal action.

  • 4.50pm - ‘The whole of Europe has been hit’: Hollande.
  • 4.30pm - Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw calls all three explosions in Brussels “terrorist attacks.”
  • Major terror attacks in Europe since 2000:
  • 4.14pm - ‘Many dead, many seriously injured’ in Brussels attacks: Belgian PM.
  • 4.13pm - Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel says ‘what we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks’.
  • 4.04pm - Border between France and Belgium has been closed.
  • 3.57pm -
  • 3.47pm - Two Jet Airways cabin crew injured in the blasts at Brussels airport, says the airline.
  • 3.43pm - Quick round-up of what has happened in Brussels:
  • 3.32pm - Sushma Swaraj tweets: “Please do not worry. Indian Embassy in Brussels will provide all assistance”
  • 3.30pm - Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets:
  • 3.31pm - Eurostar has suspended high-speed rail service to Brussels-Midi station.
  • 3.25pm - At least 21 dead in Brussels airport, metro blasts: firefighters to AFP
  • 3.20pm - India’s minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj tweets:
  • 3.15pm - All flights from Mumbai to Brussels cancelled: ANI
  • 3.14pm - American Airlines says no employees hurt in Brussels blasts
  • 3.13pm - Authorities refer to explosions at airport, subway as terror attacks
  • 2.59pm - First details on the location of the blasts emerge.
  • 2.56pm - French President Francois Hollande is holding an emergency meeting after the explosions.
  • 2.52pm - Belgian PM tweets: “We are following the situation minute by minute. Top priority goes to the victims and people at the airport”.
  • 2.49pm - Authorities tell everyone in Brussels to remain where they are after explosions at airport, subway station.
  • 2.48pm - Major railway stations closed in Belgian capital: Brussels prosecutor.
  • 2.46pm - London’s Gatwick airport steps up security
  • 2.47pm - American Air releases statement.
  • 2.45pm - Security measures have been reinforced at the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris
  • 2.42pm - Brussels blasts are “attack against democratic Europe”: Swedish prime minister
  • 2.40pm - At least 13 dead, 35 injured in Brussels airport blasts: Belgian media
  • 2.28pm - EU staff told to remain indoors or at home after Brussels blasts: Commission

• 2.20pm - Belgian public broadcaster says bomb at Brussels airport was a suicide attack.

• 2.16pm - Aftermath footage emerges from airport.

• 2.15pm - Brussels airport tweets: “Questions about family or friends > Call 02/753.73.00”

• 2.11pm - AP reporter: several people injured in explosion in Brussels Metro.

• 2.07pm - UK Prime Minister David Cameron tweets on attack.

• 2.05pm - Local reports say three explosives found at the airport.

• 2.05pm - An AP reporter says saw several people with facial injuries following an explosion in a Brussels metro station near European Union headquarters. At least two people were seen being moved on stretchers

• 2.04pm - MEA says not report of Indian casualty.

• 2.04pm - Smoke reported at subway station near EU headquarters.

• 2.03pm - European airline, travel stocks fall sharply after Brussels blasts.

• 2.02pm - Metro operator STIB announces on Twitter that the metro is closing.

• 2pm - Jet Airways says all planes in Brussels, its Europe hub, are safe. Airline trying to find status of passengers and staff.

• 1.54pm - Terror alert level raised from three to a maximum of four; applied across Belgium.

• 1.57pm - Explosion reported at Brussels Metro station close to EU institutions. No official confirmation.

• 1.48pm - Belgian fire service tells local media least several dead.

Social media showed pictures of smoke rising from the departure hall where windows had been shattered by the blasts. Passengers were seen running away down a slipway.

Sky News television’s Alex Rossi, at the scene, said he heard two “very, very loud explosions”.

“I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well...I went towards where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked.”

“The thinking here is that it is some kind of terrorist attack - that hasn’t been verified by any of the authorities here at the airport.”

Belgian interior minister said the terror alert has been raised to the maximum level in wake of the explosions.

Video showed devastation inside the departure hall with items scattered across the floor.

Belgian media said rail traffic to the airport was suspended.

Brussels airport said it had cancelled all flights and the complex had been evacuated.

Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect for November’s Paris attacks on a stadium, cafes and a concert hall, was captured by Belgian police after a shootout on Friday.

Belgium’s Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, said on Monday the country was on high alert for a possible revenge attack following the capture of 26-year-old Abdeslam.

“We know that stopping one cell can ... push others into action. We are aware of it in this case,” he told public radio.

French investigator Francois Molins told a news conference in Paris on Saturday that Abdeslam, a French citizen born and raised in Brussels, admitted to investigators he had wanted to blow himself up along with others at the Stade de France on the night of the attack claimed by Islamic State; but he later backed out.