Breaking news on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
Brussels airport and a metro station have been subjected to what appears to be a suicide attack. Authorities investigating the incidents and resulting carnage put the death toll at 26, with 136 wounded.
Maggie de Block, the Belgian health minister, earlier confirmed that 11 people died and 81 were injured in the airport explosions, allegedly caused by the Brussels suicide attack. According to Belgian metro authority La Stib, at least 15 people were killed in the Maelbeek metro blast, and 55 more injured, including 10 critically.
Tuesday’s blasts have come just days after Friday’s arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the suspected Paris terror attacks plotter and aborted suicide attacker. On Monday, with authorities naming another potential Paris suspect, Brussels was on lockdown, according to CNBC.
Belgian news channel RTBF reports that a Kalashnikov rifle has been found in the departure hall at Zaventem airport.
White House officials said that United States president Barack Obama, on a state visit to Cuba, has been briefed this morning of the explosions in Brussels, Belgium. The statement made the following assurance.
“U.S. officials have been and will continue to be in close contact with their Belgian counterparts.”
Meanwhile in response to the attack, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said he would “close up borders.”
A Slovenian diplomat is among the injured, Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec told reporters. Erjavec said that the diplomat, unnamed, was in hospital and his life was not in danger from the Brussels attack. The diplomat was reportedly injured in the metro blast on his way to work.
Belgian TV station Ring TV has posted an appeal to people living near Zaventem airport for blankets, food, water, and medical supplies among other essentials. Victims of the Brussels attack are being attended to by officials and volunteers.
French President, François Hollande, declared that the whole of Europe has been hit by today’s attack.
J’exprime mon entière solidarité avec le peuple belge. À travers les attentats de Bruxelles, c’est toute l’Europe qui est frappée.— François Hollande (@fhollande) March 22, 2016
Other world leaders have issued their condemnation of the senseless attack.
Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences on the civilian deaths in a series of explosions in Brussels— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) March 22, 2016
News from Brussels is disturbing. The attacks are condemnable. Condolences to families of the deceased. May those injured recover quickly.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 22, 2016
BXL attacked by terrorists. I feel sorrow and anger. Let's hunt them down and stay united in our fight for european values. #brusselsattack— Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) March 22, 2016
Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, condemned the terrorists for committing murder at the airport and the metro station. He had his say during a televised conference on the Brussels attack.
“What we feared, has happened.”
While it was too early to confirm casualty figures, he admitted that there were “many dead, many injured.” He also said that the Brussels attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
Michel called for “calm and solidarity” in the aftermath of such a “tragic moment.”
According to Today, Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump issued the following statement in a live interview on the Brussels attack.
“Brussels is a total mess. They’re just a city that used to be one of the finest and one of the most beautiful and one of the safest cities in the world, and now it’s a catastrophic, very dangerous city where the police have very little control.”
[Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images]