Latest: At least 34 killed as explosions rock Brussels airport and metro

Latest: At least 34 killed as explosions rock Brussels airport and metro

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This article was last updated at 13.15pm

Bomb blasts across Brussels have left 34 dead and more than 136 injured.

Two explosions were heard at Zaventem airport early this morning and soon after attacks were reported at a metro station close to the EU buildings at Maalbeck.

Belgian health minister, Maggie de Block, confirmed that 14 people died and 81 were injured in the airport explosions, which the country’s prosecutor said were caused by a suicide attack.

The Brussels metro operator STIB-MIVB has confirmed 20 people were killed and 55 injured in the blast at Maelbeek station, including 10 critically injured.

Smoke was seen rising from one of the airport terminal buildings at around 8am this morning. Sky News reported that a bomb had been detonated next to an American Airlines check-in desk.

The airport is currently on lockdown and flights to and from it have been suspended. Airport officials are warning people not to go to the airport and to avoid the area around it, and rail travel to Zaventem airport has been suspended.

Witnesses at the airport said shockwaves from the blast were felt in the duty free section of the terminal. Windows were blown out from the force of the explosions at 8am local time.

Video footage from the scene showed people running from the airport as smoke rose from the building.

Brussels airport has tweeted: “There have been 2 explosions at the airport. Building is being evacuated. Don't come to the airport area.”

Belgium's interior minister has raised the national terror threat to the highest level, while Dutch counter-terrorism officials have said they are tightening security at national airports and controls on the southern border with Belgium.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in updated travel advice, said: “There have been reports of a second explosion in central Brussels.

“You should stay away from crowded places and avoid public transport at this time.

“The Belgian Crisis Centre has given the Belgian telephone number 0032 2753 7300 for concerned family/friends or 1171 for general enquiries.”

This came as Belgium upgraded its security level and Brussels was in lockdown with the airport and metro stations closed.

Brussels Airlines said the airport would be closed until 6am tomorrow (Wednesday) with all flights cancelled.

Eurostar confirmed that all trains on the route to Brussels Midi station have been suspended.

Abta said in a statement: "Following explosions in Brussels on 22 March, travellers in Brussels are advised to follow the instructions of Belgian security authorities. People who are due to travel should contact their airline or travel company for information about travel to and from Brussels.

"Belgium is at threat level 3, indicating a possible and real threat. Just as in the UK where the terrorism threat level is severe, travellers should remain alert and vigilant, especially in places where there is a high concentration of people, as advised by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

"The FCO also recommends that travellers should follow the advice of local authorities and respect security controls and that people in Brussels should stay away from crowded places and avoid public transport at this time."

Heathrow tweeted: "In light of the events at Brussels Airport we are working with the police who are providing a high visibility presence at Heathrow."

A Gatwick spokesman said: “The safety of passengers and staff at Gatwick is the airport’s absolute priority.

“As a result of the terrible incidents in Brussels, we have increased our security presence and patrols around the airport.”

Ryanair said in a statement: “Brussels Zaventem Airport is closed until 6am tomorrow and as a result, all of our remaining Brussels Zaventem flights have been cancelled. Flights to/from Brussels Charleroi are running, although with some delays at the airport.

“Customers due to travel to/from Brussels Zaventem today should check the website for the latest information. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.”


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