At least 31 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in a series of terrorist bombings targeting the airport and a metro station near the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
“This is a day of tragedy, a black day,” Prime Minister Charles Michael said. “I would like to call on everyone to show calmness and solidarity.” The attack, he added, was “blind, violent, and cowardly.”
Twin explosions struck the Zaventem airport during morning rush hour, according to airport spokeswoman Anke Fransen. “There were two blasts in the departure hall,” she said. At least one of the airport explosions was likely triggered by a suicide bomber, Belgian’s federal prosecutor told the press.
In a seemingly coordinated attack, another explosion struck Maelbeek metro station roughly an hour later.
Video from inside the airport moments after the bombings occurred shows a cloud of smoke and dust lingering in the air as travelers attempt to calm one another. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” a man keeps repeating.
Exasperated, another man yells, “Where the fuck are the soldiers?”
— VRT NWS (@vrtnws) March 22, 2016
About two minutes later, a pair of police officers arrive and order the remaining travelers to outside.
In a statement issued through one of its propaganda outlets, the Islamic State took credit for both the airport and metro station attacks. An ISIS spokesperson said they were carried out using “explosive belts and devices.”
Health Minister Maggie De Block thanked the care providers of 15 hospitals attending to the wounded. “Medical help after the attacks was very fast this morning,” she said. “All of the victims were quickly transferred to hospitals that could give them the best care for their injuries.”
Non-essential personnel were reportedly evacuated from Belgium’s Tihange nuclear power plant, according to public broadcaster VTM. Key staff have remained in place to keep the plant operation. No further details were provided in the report.
Screencap via @vrtderedactie/Twitter