After a series of blasts rocked the city of Brussels and the Brussels’ Zaventem Airport, at least 31 have been confirmed dead and over 100 injured in a scene witnesses described as “apocalyptic.” ISIS was quick to claim credit for the attacks. All flights have been diverted from the airport.
The first attack occurred near the American Airlines check-in counter in Brussels Airport at approximately 8am local time. Two blasts in rapid succession killed 14 people and injured dozens, leaving bloody, dismembered bodies scattered around the terminal.
Just prior to the explosions, witnesses reported a firefight between police and the attackers who shouted in Arabic just before detonating their suicide bombs. The blasts shook the terminal, shattering windows and dropping ceiling tiles from the ceiling as passenger ran for their lives.
A third un-detonated suicide vest and a Kalashnikov rifle were recovered in the ruble near the body of a dead terrorist in the airport.
Approximately 80 minutes later, at 9:19am local time, a second explosion occurred in a subway station in the Maelbeek neighborhood in central Brussels only 400 meters from EU headquarters. At least 20 people died in the blast with scores injured as smoke billowed from the underground station.
Two terror suspects were arrested approximately a mile from the Maelbeek station approximately 90 minutes after the explosion, as hundreds of troops and police scoured the streets for suspected members of a terror cell.
The Metro service was shut down, forcing passengers to evacuate the subways underground and walk to the nearest stations to escape the smoke trapped in the tunnels.
Soldiers were deployed across the capital, the airport, and to a nuclear power plant approximately 90 kilometers outside the capital where all non-essential staff were evacuated and security was raised to maximum levels.
The attacks came only a day after the Belgium Interior Minister warned of a possible revenge attack for the Friday arrest of Salah Abdeslam, one of the masterminds of the devastating attacks in Paris last fall.
Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, said, “What we feared has happened. In this time of tragedy, this black moment for our country, I appeal to everyone to remain calm but also to show solidarity.”
Witnesses described the horrific carnage of bloody, dismembered bodies thrown through the air and strewn around both locations.
World leaders condemned the attack and sent condolences and offers of support to Belgian leaders.
U.S. presidential candidate, Donald Trump, conducted several telephone interviews with television talk shows saying America should “Shut our borders” and begin a surveillance of all Muslims on US soil, especially around mosques.
Trump said, “We have to be smart in the United States. We have to be very vigilant and careful who we let into our country. We’re allowing thousands of people already to come into this country who don’t have proper documentation. We don’t know where they’re coming from.”
Trump described deteriorating conditions in Belgium and Germany as evidence that the attempted assimilation of immigrants being a failure. “I know Brussels well and Brussels is a total mess, and I’m not talking about the attack today,” he said.
“I’m talking about, generally speaking, it is a city that used to be one of the finest, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and now it’s a catastrophic and very dangerous city where the police have very little control.”