Updated 1:50 p.m. EST: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The current death toll is reported to be at least 30; another 230 or more people were wounded.
At least 26 people are dead and 130 people have been wounded in a horrifying and deadly terror attack on a metro station and airport in Brussels, Belgium this morning.
At 8:00 a.m. GMT, three blasts rocked the city, with two bomb blasts going off at the airport first. One, according to reports, was detonated outside the security checkpoint for passengers who had already obtained tickets and another near the ticketing and check-in counter. At least one of those blasts is believed to have been a suicide bomber.
Not long after, at a metro station in Maalbeek district, another blast went off; its epicenter has been determined to have been the middle carriage of a three-carriage subway car as it pulled away from the platform. Maalbeek is where a majority of European Union operations are located, including EU headquarters.
While Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw says it is too early to know for sure how large the human cost of these attacks is, so far 11 people are confirmed dead from the airport attack, and a further 15 people lost their lives in the airport attack. At least 126 more people are believed to be wounded.
In response, both the subway and airport have been closed down. All around Europe, more security measures are being enacted at other airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick.
These attacks come after the arrest of the final terror suspect in Paris’ tragic bombing in November of last year, Salah Abdeslam. Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon announced that Belgium’s terror threat level would be raised yesterday in accordance with his capture, but Prime Minister Charles Michel said it was too early to know if the arrest and the attack are directly related to each other.
Michel urged Belgians to stay both calm and unified in a statement following the attacks, saying, “We are facing a difficult, challenging time. And we should face up to this challenge by being united.”
President Obama, who is in Cuba, was briefed on the attacks this morning as well. The State Department has said in a statement that “the United States stands with the people of Belgium.”
Around the world and online, people are expressing their anguish and solidarity with the nation of Belgium with tweets and other posts tagged with #Brussels and #PrayForPeace.
— Dr Jez Phillips (@drjezphillips) March 22, 2016
— OSA (@OsaCoop) March 22, 2016
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) March 22, 2016
— 𝓀 (@sheeranxallen) March 22, 2016
A dark day for the whole World. All the Rossoneri are close to #Brussels today 🇮🇹🇧🇪, Belgium stay strong!
— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 22, 2016