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Brussels paralysed as three blasts kill more than 20

Several people were killed on Tuesday when two massive explosions devastated the departure area of the Zaventem airport in the Belgian capital, triggering panic.

Brussels attack Updated: Mar 22, 2016 18:28 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
This file photo taken on August 03, 2015 shows people walking in the departures hall of Brussels Airport in Zaventem. Two explosions were heard at Brussels Airport on March 22, 2016 B(AFP)

Transport links across Brussels were shut down on Tuesday after three blasts – two at the airport and one at a metro station – caused more than 20 deaths, four days after a Paris terror attack mastermind was arrested in the Belgian capital.

There were scenes of devastation at Zaventem international airport, where two blasts were reported near as many check-in counters. All air traffic to and from Brussels was suspended, while the metro transport system was shut down after the blast at Maelbeek station.

The apparently coordinated attacks come four days after Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris attacks last November, was captured in Brussels.

There was no official confirmation of casualties, but Belgian media reported at least 13 deaths and dozens injured. The blasts occurred at peak hour, throwing normal life out of gear across Brussels.

The Belgian government put the country on its highest terror alert level.

Many people destined for Brussels on morning flights from London and elsewhere in Europe were stranded, but the Eurostar service said its trains were running normally. Eurostar advised passengers to allow extra time for check-in “as security checks may take longer”.

Prime Minister David Cameron called a meeting of Britain’s emergency response committee in London after expressing shock at the attacks and promising help to Belgian authorities.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, told staff to remain indoors or stay at home.

First Published: Mar 22, 2016 13:56 IST