Two explosions ripped through the Brussels airport departure hall on Tuesday morning, causing deaths and injuries, according to initial Belgian news reports.
Passengers said the bombs went off in rapid succession around 8am, the peak check-in hour for morning flights within Europe. Belgian police said there was at least one dead, while VTM news put the toll at 11, citing a local fire department.
Panicked travellers were shown fleeing toward the airport parking garage in television images. “Soldiers are pushing us back, people are running in every direction,” a witness named David told RTL television.
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Takeoffs and landings were suspended and public transport was halted to the airport, about 15 kilometers from central Brussels. Incoming flights were diverted to other Belgian airports.
Belgium is on high alert after the capture of Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, believed to be the only surviving participant of the November massacre that left 130 people dead. Abdeslam faces a Brussels court decision on Wednesday on whether to extend a Belgian arrest warrant issued on Saturday.
TV images of Brussels airport showed collapsed ceiling tiles littering the departure hall. A fire department spokesman told RTL there were more than 10 “seriously” wounded by the “very violent explosion.”
German government bonds, perceived to be among the region’s safest assets, gained, as did the yen, while stock markets dropped on the news.
News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland