Pictured: Suspects in Bomb Attacks on Brussels Airport and Metro Station That Killed 34 and Injured at Least 187
The attack on the European Union capital comes just days after the arrest of the arrest of Salah Abdeslam – a suspect in the November Paris terrorist attacks.
•34 people are dead and at least 187 injured after attacks on the Brussels Zaventem Airport and the Maalbeek Metro Station
•Two explosions were reported inside the airport’s departure terminal. At least one was reportedly from a suicide bomber
•A third explosion happened later at the metro station, which is located near the headquarters of the European Union
•Belgian authorities released photos of the suspects captured on Zaventem Airport CCTV
•According to authorities, two of the men in the photograph died in suicide bombings but the third is at large
•Terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility
•Witnesses say the airport’s ceiling caved in and there were injured victims everywhere
•A U.S. Air Force service member was injured in the attack
•Both the airport and metro system have been shut down
•The hunt for third suspect definitely continues. Searches are underway in Schaerbeek area
At least 34 people have been killed and 187 injured in three rush-hour bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and a metro station this morning.
Two explosions went off in Brussels Zaventem Airport’s Departures Hall killing 14 and injuring 92 people. A second attack occurred about one hour later at the Maalbeek Metro Station near the headquarters of the European Union. Officials said 20 were killed at the metro station, and at least 106 injured.
Both the airport and the city’s metro system were immediately shut down. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the Associated Press.
Belgian authorities released photos of the suspects captured on Zaventem Airport CCTV. Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said at a press conference that two of the men pictured – in the middle and left of photo above – died in suicide bombings but the third suspect – on the right of the photo – is on the run, and Belgian authorities are looking for him.
The attacks come just days after anti-terror raids and the arrest of Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam on Friday. Brussels has been on a level three terror alert, with authorities warning that a large network of terrorists remained at large.
Security officials said a reprisal attack could be imminent. Authorities have raised the level to its highest – level four – in the wake of the explosions on Tuesday.
The airport explosions, described as being “very loud,” occurred just before 8 a.m. local time in the departures hall. Initial reports place the explosions at the American Airlines check-in desk, before passengers going through security screenings. The airline said in a statement to PEOPLE, however, that their check-in desk is located in row 8 of the departure hall, and that the explosions did not occur there.
“American Airlines is taking care of our employees and customers in Brussels after this morning’s events,” the airline said in the statement. “At this time, there are no reported injuries to our employees.”
Sky News correspondent Alex Rossi, who was in the airport’s Duty Free area at the time, described the explosions as “having rocked the building.” Photos show the airport’s glass-fronted Arrivals area completely blown out, with glass and ceiling panels spread across the concourse area.
Belgian media is reporting several passengers claiming that they heard someone screaming in Arabic just before the two separate blasts. Belgian broadcaster RTL is reporting the explosions were the result of a suicice attack. Belgian newspaper Le Derniere is reporting a third un-exploded device was discovered by first responders.
Americans Andrew and Denise Brandt from Gilbert, Arizona were caught up in the mayhem while catching a connecting flight to Liberia on Thai Airlines.
“You just feel like a wave from the explosion,” Andrew Brandt told Sky News. “Like a wave moving through your body”.
“They said it happened in check-in. We were in Terminal B in the gift shop area, transferring from another airline, thank God.”
Denise Brandt, added “I knew it was an explosion. I have been near explosions before
“We kind of looked at each other and I was like ‘let’s go this way.’
“People were running, crying towards us, so I knew that we were going in the right direction.
When asked how close they were to the blasts, Denise Brandt added: “It felt muffled, so I knew that we were not very close to it but that we were close enough that it reverberated through our entire bodies.
First reports from the Maalbeek Metro describe “a scene of chaos” with 15 people thought to be dead. Belgian media is reporting ambulances are in the area and gurneys being brought out from the platform area.
Airport authorities evacuated the passengers from the facilities, organizing them out on the tarmac. All flights have been cancelled, grounded or diverted. Rail transport service to the airport was also immediately been suspended.
Opened as a civilian airfield in 1948, Zaventem is an international airport, traveling over 20 million people per year. During Easter 1979, the airport experienced a terrorist attack when three Palestinian terrorists hurled hand grenades down from a skybridge onto passengers boarding an El Al flight. Twelve were injured in that episode.
A U.S. Air Force serviceman was among the injured, PEOPLE confirms.
Maj. Melissa J. Milner, an Air Force spokesman, said in a statement to PEOPLE, “The United States Air Force can confirm that one U.S. Air Force service member from Joint Force Command Brunssum, the Netherlands, was injured in today’s horrific attack at the airport in Brussels. The Airman’s family was also present and has sustained various injuries. Due to privacy concerns, we are not releasing the status of their injuries.”