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Terrorism Paralyses Brussels - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A victim receives first aid at Maelbeek metro station in downtown Brussels yesterday (AFP). Inset: one of the suspects in the attacks (AFP)

A victim receives first aid at Maelbeek metro station in downtown Brussels yesterday (AFP). Inset: one of the suspects in the attacks (AFP)

Terror struck the European Union’s capital Brussels yesterday morning as simultaneous bombings targeted the city’s airport and a metro station, leaving more than 230 dead and wounded.

Twin explosions at the airport claimed the lives of 14 people and left 96 injured according to firefighters. The authorities suggested that two suicide bombers carried out the bombings of the airport and it was reported that the two perpetrators of the attacks had “three bombs” with them at the airport but one “did not detonate”. An hour later another bombing took place in a metro station in Maelbeek near EU institutions during which “probably 20 died” and 106 were wounded.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz sent a diplomatic cable expressing his condolences to King Philippe of Belgium and called for the unifying of all international efforts to fight terrorism, which he described as “a dangerous epidemic” that is not approved of by revealed religions, international norms and conventions. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is also Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, also expressed their condolences to the Belgian monarch, “the friendly people of Belgium and the families of the victims.”

After the attacks took place, the terrorism alert level was raised to the highest degree and Brussels international airport was closed and security measures at airports in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Geneva and Copenhagen were strengthened. The metro was also suspended in Brussels, where NATO headquarters are also situated.

Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw told a press conference “I have a picture of the three suspected men at the Zaventem Airport. It seems that two of them carried out two suicide attacks. We are looking for the third man who was wearing a light-coloured jacket and a hat.” A government official said then that the third suspect was seen running away from the airport terminal. Federal prosecutors also announced that a bomb containing nails, chemicals and an ISIS flag was found during raids took place in Brussels. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels.