Belgian media reports as many as 28 people have been killed and 90 injured following multiple explosions at Zaventem airport and the Brussels metro.
- Emergency responders and security forces on the ground after 8:00 am blast.
- Airport evacuated and all air traffic to and from Zaventem suspended.
- Belgian politicians have announced a disaster plan is in effect.
- Blasts planned to cause maximum casualties during rush hour at the departure hall.
- Multiple explosions on Brussels metro at Maalbeek station where at least 15 were killed.
- All UK flights to Brussels and Eurostar links have been cancelled
- Global leaders have offered messages of solidarity with Brussels in the wake of the attack
- British Prime Minister David Cameron is to chair a COBRA meeting to coordinate the UK's response
- Isis has released a statement through the Amaq news agency claiming responsibility for the attacks
Click here for continued coverage of the Brussels terror attacks and their aftermath.
A Belgian federal prosecutor said that chemical products, an explosive device, and an Isis flag have been found in police raids on houses in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels.
A Belgian prosecutor said that the two men who appeared in the CCTV footage with the wanted suspect were "probably" suicide bombers. Both men are wearing dark clothing in the footage, and pushing trolleys. The wanted suspect wears a hat and light jacket.
Brussels police have issued a wanted notice for a man suspected of involvement in the attacks on Brussels airport. A picture of the suspect released by police shows a man in a hat with a light jacket pushing a trolley.
Belgian media earlier released a picture of two men in dark clothing pushing trolleys, with the man wearing the hat following just behind.
The European region of Airports Council International (ACI) has rejected calls for additional security screening to be put in place for those entering airport buildings.
"ACI EUROPE underlines that the possible adoption of additional security measures such as checks on persons and goods entering airport landside spaces could be disruptive and actually create new security vulnerabilities," said a spokesman in the statement.
"By displacing the gathering of passengers and airport visitors to spaces not designed for that purpose – such measures would essentially be moving the target rather than securing it."
It notes that recent attacks in Paris, Ankara and Istanbul "are not limited to disrupting our transport systems, but are clearly about threatening our entire way of life by targeting other public spaces including places of social gathering and entertainment.
"Ultimately, fully securing public spaces through additional security checks would be unrealistic and inefficient. The best way forward in the fight against terrorism is to step up capabilities for the gathering, coordination and sharing of intelligence and data."
In response to the attacks, airports throughout Europe have stepped up security, increasing patrols patrols and checks.
Isis has released a full statement, in Arabic and French, claiming responsibility for the attacks.The statement claims the attacks were carried out by a "secret cell" of militants.
"We promise the crusader alliance that they will have black days in return for their aggression against the Islamic State", says the statement.
Earlier the jihadist group said it was behind the attacks through affiliated news agency Aamaq.
Refugees protesting in Idomeni, near the Greek/Macedonian border have expressed solidarity with the victims of the Brussels terror attacks.
The refugees, many fleeing conflict in Syria, are staging a protest in the town, demanding that the border be repoened so they can seek asylum in Europe.
Eight Americans, including three Mormon missionaries and a US serviceman, are among those injured in the attacks, NBC reports. An official told the network that the injuries to the serviceman and four members of his family are not believed to be life threatening.
The missionaries have been identified by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as 66-year-old Richard Norby, 20-year-old Joseph Empey and 19-year-old Mason Wells. They are currently in hospital after being seriously injured in the explosions at Brussels Airport.
What is alleged to be CCTV footage from a chemists shop in Brussels airport has emerged, showing the impact of the blasts. The explosions occuring moments from each other shake the cameras, causing products to fall from shelves and customers to flee.
A third bomb found at the airport failed to explode and was neutralized by police, the Brussels regional governor told AFP.
Eurostar rail services to and from Brussels have resumed, and customers are advised to allow extra time for added security checks, Sky News reports.
Brussels Airport will remain closed on Wednesday, the CEO of Brussels Airport Company Arnaud Feist has said.
Belgium's De Redactie has broadcast an interview with an official who displays a piece of metal found in one of the victims of today's attacks.
"We have found this inside one of the injured", says the official at the Neder-over-Hembeek military hospital. "This indicates that nail bombs were used in the attacks this morning".
These pictures show Brussels's airport departure hall before and after the devastating explosion this morning.
Democrat US presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton described the attacks as "deeply distressing".
"It was just terrible horror, the idea that terrorists are continuing to strike at the heart of Europe and now Brussels and the number of casualties from what looked to be fairly sophisticated, coordinated attacks is deeply distressing," Clinton told NBC's Today in a telephone interview.
Clinton called for the US to stand in solidarity with its European allies, and to increase anti-terrorism efforts.
"It's going to be a long challenge because of a lot of factors, including, you know, the easy accessibility to powerful explosives and the mobility of terrorists in today's world, but we've got to be absolutely strong and smart and steady in how we respond," she said.
The Islamic State (Isis) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Aamaq news agency linked to the jihadi group has issued the following statement:
Islamic State fighters carried out a series of bombings with explosive belts and devices on Tuesday, targeting an airport and a central metro station in the centre of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State.
Islamic State fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station. The attacks resulted in more than 230 dead and wounded.
RTL has published a larger version of the image first released by La Dernier Heure. It shows another man in a white jacket that the broadcaster claims is also a suspect in the attack at Brussels airport.
Belgian tabloid La Dernier Heure has obtained security camera footage which it claims shows the two suspected attackers at the airport.
The Mormon Church says three of its missionaries from Utah were among the casualties of the explosions at Brussels airport.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says 66-year-old Richard Norby of Lehi, 20-year-old Joseph Empey of Santa Clara and 19-year-old Mason Wells of Sandy have been seriously injured.
The EU Parliament in Brussels has asked all staff to remain inside the premises until further notice and work from home tomorrow. All parliament buildings with the exception of the main building are to remain closed on 23 March.
"All missions, meetings and visits scheduled for this afternoon and tomorrow have been cancelled," the parliament said in a statement.
Parliament President Martin Schulz said:
I am horrified by the despicable and cowardly attacks which took place in Brussels today. My thoughts go out first and foremost to the victims and the wounded, as well as their families and friends. These acts anger and sadden me at the same time. They are born from barbarism and hatred which do justice to nothing and no one. Brussels, like other cities hit by such terrorist attacks, will stand strong, and the European institutions hosted so generously by the Brussels institutions and its inhabitants will do likewise. In the name of the European Parliament I have expressed to the Belgian Prime Minister my compassion and solidarity towards the Belgian people.
Speaking from Cuba, US president Barack Obama has condemned the attacks in Brussels.
The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium we stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible and this is yet another reminded that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people around the world.
US President Barack Obama is due to address the attacks shortly from Havana, Cuba, where he is on an historic official visit. Meanwhile, Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has sent her condolences to the victims.
The French National Assembly in Paris is holding a minute of silence for the victims of the Brussels attacks.
Fire officials confirm to AFP the twin blasts at the airport killed 14 people and injured 92 more.
Earlier Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said that at least another 20 people died and 106 were wounded at the Maelbeek Metro station.
The updates bring the toll of the attacks to 34 dead and 198 injured.
British PM David Cameron has tweeted after a an emergency meeting with his top ministers and security officials.
At a press conference Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur says it is still too early to give a final toll of the victims: "The situation in the metro is extremely chaotic", he says.
Mayeur says at least 20 people have been killed and 106 wounded, including at least 17 critically, 23 seriously and 66 lightly.
"This is clearly an attack against our values of freedom, democracy and humanism," he adds.
Social media accounts operated by supporters of the Islamic State have been celebrating the attacks on the Belgian capital.
One user said they were not only happy but applauded the attacks. They added a hashtag for the IS-linked news agency al-amaq.
The Belgian broadcaster VTM is reporting that police have found an unexploded bomb belt at Brussels airport in addition to a Kalashnikov recovered earlier.
The leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has offered his condolences to the Belgian people in the aftermath of the attacks.
"Today, our thoughts and sympathies are with the people of Brussels. We stand in solidarity with the victims of these horrific attacks, their friends and families, and the men and women of the emergency services," he said in a statement.
"We must defend our security and values in the face of such terrorist outrages, and refuse to be drawn into a cycle of violence and hatred. We take pride in our societies of diverse faiths, races and creeds and will not allow those who seek to divide us to succeed."
The Prime Minister's office has said one Briton was injured in the Brussels attacks. A Belgian flag will be flown at 10 Downing Street tonight in a display of solidarity between Britain and Belgium.
RBTF has given a further breakdown of the casualties, reporting that 20 were killed at Maalbeek Metro Station and 14 at Zaventem.
Speaking at Downing Street, David Cameron has condemned the attacks in Brussels and said it was important nations "stood together".
The prime minister said he spoke to Belgian counterpart Charles Michel to offer his condolences, adding British officials were "working with Belgian police to offer everything we can" in the wake of the suicide bombings.
"They may attack our way of living and who we are but they will not win," the PM said.
A Brussels university, the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), says it is evacuating its campus located in the south east of the city.
"In the light of the latest information we have received, we are obliged to evacuate the ULB campuses," ULB says in an online statement.
"We advise the whole university community to leave the campuses in a calm and orderly manner and to show solidarity by offering lifts in their cars, in such a way that everyone can return home safely."
A crying Tintin, the fictional character created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, is being used on social media to symbolise grief and solidarity.
The US embassy in Brussels urges all its nationals to remain sheltered and avoid public transportation in an online statement.
Belgian media has reported that individuals suspected of being linked to the attacks are actively being hunted down by Belgian security services in raids. Street police patrols are also carried out.
Video has emerged of hundreds of passengers at Brussels International Airport stranded in an hanger.
The Home Secretary Theresa May is to speak before the Home Affairs Select Committee today at 4pm.
A Home Office spokesperson told IBTimes UK that in the wake of the attacks:
We have taken steps to intensify our efforts at the UK-Belgian and UK-French border. This includes:
• Enhanced searching of inbound tourist vehicles, additional opening of car boots / transit vans
• A heightened Border Force presence at ports
• Targeted Border Force presence at specific ports, with additional security checks on some flights
• Specialist search dogs deployed at key ports including St Pancras and Dover
In a televised statement the French President has said: "The war on terrorism has to be waged across all Europe".
Francois Hollande urged all European countries to join anti-terror efforts also on the international stage and citing France's engagement in Iraq, Syria and Africa.
He added that war on terror will have to be faced with "clarity of mind and determination because it will be long".
Earlier Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, Jean-Yves Le Drian, defense minister, and Jean-Marc Ayrault, Foreign Minister, gathered around President François Hollande to take stock of this crisis situation.
While it was not a Defence Council as such, the meeting was set out to decide on a strengthening of security measures in airports, railway stations and public transport.
A meeting was underway at the same time at the Interior Ministry - to decide on security measures at France's borders.
According to the Belgian broadcaster RBTF, a Kalshnikov has been retrieved from inside the Zaventem departure hall, apparently confirming testimony from eyewitnesses that gunfire was exchanged between French security forces and attackers inside the building.
The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, has offered his perspective on the attacks in Brussels.
Brussels' Royal Palace has been evacuated, according to a statement.
The Belgian King and Queen have also expressed their shock after the events at Brussels Airport and the Maalbeek metro.
"These acts are heinous and cowardly. The King and Queen's heartfelt thoughts go first to the victims and their families and to the emergency services who are making every effort to assist victims."
Images have emerged of passengers walking on the tracks of the Brussels metro following an explosion at Maalbeek station. At least 15 were killed in the blast with 55 injured.
The Belgian Health Minister, Maggie De Block, has said the explosions at Zaventem killed 11 and left 81 injured. There is no indication of whether this is a definitive casualty count or whether numbers are expected to rise. The figures do not include those killed in central Brussels on the tube.
Witnesses of the suicide bombings at Zaventem airport have told the BBC that a fire fight took place between attackers and police in the departure hall before the two blasts which rocked the terminal building.
The Mayor of Paris has tweeted that tonight the Eiffel Tower will be illuminated with the colours of the Belgian flag as the French capital shows solidarity with the victims of today's attacks.
Anne Hidalgo added the hashtag #WeAreUnited
Belgium's Federal Procurer - the equivalent of an attorney general - has confirmed three blasts in Brussels on 22 March. He said one of the two explosions at Zaventem was a suicide attack with another at Maalbeek.
The Belgian newspaper le Soir has reported that armed Belgian police have been deployed at Belgium's nuclear sites for added protection.
Sky news has reported that 225 additional troops have been deployed in Belgium in response to the explosions across Brussels. All flights to Zaventem airport have also been cancelled until tomorrow morning.
The Belgian state broadcaster has reported a fourth blast heard in central Brussels relates to a controlled explosion carried out by security forces. According to RTBF police were destroying a suspicious package on Rue de la Loi in the centre of the Belgian capital.
According to Brussels' central transport authority - 15 people have been killed at Maalbeek station and 55 injured with ten of those in a critical condition.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the national lead for the UK Counter Terrorism Policing, has said in a statement with regard to today's attacks in Brussels:
"Our thoughts are with the people of Brussels following this morning's horrific attacks.
"As a precaution forces across the UK have increased policing presence at key locations, including transport hubs, to protect the public and provide reassurance. This is not in relation to any specific information or intelligence.
"In London specifically, the Metropolitan Police Service has mobilised additional officers, who will carry out highly visible patrols at key locations around the Capital including the transport network.The number of officers deployed will be regularly assessed.These additional officers are deployed as part of reassurance measures.
"The threat to the UK from international terrorism remains at severe as it has been since August 2014, meaning an attack is highly likely.
"We urge the public and businesses to be alert but not alarmed and report anything suspicious to the confidential
In France the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said in a televised statement that reinforcements of 1,600 police have been deployed on top of the emergency levels of security on duty in the wake of Paris' own 13 November attacks.
In train stations and airports, new measures are put in place,Cazeneuve said. These include:
- Access to areas reserved for people with a travel document or ID only
- Broadcast of safety messages
- Strengthening of security element with military patrols
- More control measures and increased palpation
The Belgian government has issued a statement ordering security measures at all schools and universities in the wake of the attack,
"Following the announcement of the level four generalised threat to the country, ans as we await more decisions from the National Security Council and the federal crisis centre, the Government of the Federation Wallonie Bruxelles stated:
- A request to schools not to allow students, not accompanied by their parents out during the lunch break,
- Decided that Ministers of education (Joelle Milquet, Isabelle Simonis and Jean-Claude Marcourt) immediately send a circular to schools, higher education institutions outlining safety instructions applicable in a situation of threat/ crisis.
Belgian government has also called for everyone to be vigilant. It is recommended that everyone stays where he or she is (schools, companies, public administrations, ...)."
Workers at Zaventem have criticised security measures in place at the airport saying an attack of the scale seen today was inevitable. One check-in attendant told Belgian media it was a "question of if rather than when". He added that there was no preliminary security screening for individuals entering the terminal.
The Belgian attorney general has confirmed the twin explosions at Zaventem were suicide bomb attacks.
Borders closed - Belgian authorities are reporting the closure of the country's border with France with all road and rail links shut. Dutch authorities have also stepped up their own border security to contain the threat.
Reuters has reported, quoting Belgian local media that shouting in Arabic was heard by bystanders in the Zaventem airport departures hall.
Numerous fatalities have been confirmed at Maalbeek metro station by police, according to AFP. The Belgian broadcaster VMT has said at least 10 were killed in the blast at the station alone.
The first eyewitness accounts from on board the train where the blasts took place are starting to be relayed. According to reports one or more explosions rocked as the metro carriage's doors shut at Maalbeek. The train was travelling from the station to Arts-Loi, which would appear to be why smoke has been seen coming from the enrtances.
The French newspaper Le Monde has tweeted a cartoon - showing solidarity between Belgium and France as events unfold.
The image references the 13 November attacks in the French capital which left 130 dead. Analysts are making comparisons with the numerous explosions in the Belgian capital and the Islamic State inspired attacks at the end of last year.
Emergency centres in Belgium are asking individuals to stop using their phones, as mobile networks are saturated. Presumably authorities want to keep the lines clear for emergencies.
Geraud LeFranc, who works 1km away from the airport, told IBTimes UK that his company had asked employees "not to move", or try to return home.
"We are all under shock, and can't really realise what is happening [in Brussels] at this stage"
BFM journalist is reporting that she witnessed victims with severe burns walking alone outside of Maalbeek Metro Station. She said they were now receiving on the spot treatment from first responders.
AFP is reporting that 15 people have been injured at Maalbeek Station. There have been unconfirmed reports of up to four explosions across Belgium's metro network.
Video has emerged - apparently filmed from a car park adjacent to Zavatem Airport - showing passengers fleeing the scene of what are believed to have been two suicide blasts.
Virtually all transport links in the Belgian capital have been suspended in the wake of the attacks. The city's central transport authority has announced that its bus, tram and metro links have been closed.
An eyewitness at Arts-Loi - close to Maalbeek metro station - told IBTimes UK that there were scenes of chaos in central Brussels following the attacks with police and ambulances dispatched to the city centre.
"Everyone is running everywhere," the restaurant owner said, adding that smoke could be seen coming from the Arts-Loi Metro station
She confirmed authorities had asked a number of shop owners in the nearby area to close their businesses near the station.
Passengers on the Metro are walking away along the tracks following explosions which have crippled the network. This tweet shows individuals at Arts-Loi sation heading towards Maelbeek they were evacuated at Arts-Loi.
The FCO has given the following advice to British nationals in Brussels:
There have been explosions at Zaventum International Airport in Brussels on 22 March. If you are affected by the incident follow the instructions of Belgian security authorities. Please contact your airline for information about flight arrivals and departures to and from Brussels.
The Belgian government has placed the whole of Belgium at threat level 3 – a possible and real threat. You should remain alert and vigilant, especially in places where there's a high concentration of people
VRT - the Belgian state broadcaster - has started to use the words "suicide bomber" to characterise the attacks on Zaventem airport.
The Belgian Prime Minister has tweeted that the first priority must be victims and those inside the airport.
"We are following the situation minute by minute. The absolute priority is the victims and the persons present in the airport" the Charles Michel said.
Unconfirmed reports on social media have claimed shots were fired inside Zaventem airport prior to the explosions.
The entirety of Brussels' metro system has been shut down following the blast at Maalbeek Metro Station.
An agent from the Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) told IBTimes UK the whole underground system was being shut down, following an explosion at Maalbek.
"We're closing, it's a crisis situation here," the agent confirmed.
The blasts came a day after authorities identified the suspected bomb maker of the Paris attacks as 24-year-old Belgian national Najim Laachraoui. Traces of his DNA were found on suicide vests used in the 13 November bombings in the French capital as well as in flats used as safe houses by the Islamic State (Isis) cell that carried out the attacks.
Brussels prosecutors said he travelled to Syria in 2013. He is believed to have returned to Europe in summer last year. Laachraoui was stopped by police, using a fake Belgian passport in the name of Soufiane Kayal, on the Austria-Hungary border for a random check in September 2015, as he travelled in a Mercedes car with Salah Abdeslam and another man.
Abdeslam was arrested last week after a 4-months manhunt. After capture he told Belgian authorities his cell was planning more attacks.
"He was ready to restart something from Brussels, and it's maybe the reality," Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said. "We found a lot of weapons, heavy weapons in the first investigations, and we have seen a new network of people around him in Brussels."
At a joint press conference with Paris prosecutors on 21 March, Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw confirmed they suspected more attacks were in the making. "We found foreign fighters in a flat with weapons. I don't think they were preparing a picnic," he said.
Brussels City Police spokesman, Monsieur Deveen has confirmed to IBTimes UK that an explosion has taken place at Maalbeek Metro Station.
Reports are emerging of a second explosion at Maalbeek Metro station in Brussels.
The blast was confirmed on the French TV station iTele.
Belgian media is reporting that the country's Ministry of Interior had knowledge of an imminent attack and was anticipating a retaliatory response to the arrest of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam yesterday.
Eye wintesses on the ground havew described to IBTimes UK how they heard two large explosions in the vicinity of the airport.
The manager of the Express Parking at Zaventem Airport, located less than five minutes away from the departure hall, said:
"There was two blasts, and everything is completely closed now. We don't know when we are going to re-open."
He added a number of customers who were supposed to fly out of the airport this morning returned to pick up their car. The manager was told to inform customers to head to Charleroi airport instead, if they were wishing to continue their journey.
11 individuals are said to have been killed in the departure hall of Zaventem Airport after reports of two large explosions at the airport just north of the Belgian capital Brussels.
BFMTV citing fire-fighters on the scene said as many as 11 were killed in the blasts at 8am Belgian time on 22 March. Images shared on social media have shown individuals fleeing the airport as smoke rises from the terminal. Several windows in the main hall appear to be shattered.
Police in Zaventem confirmed to IBTimes UK that an incident had taken place. They said an evacuation of the building was ongoing and that they had no other immediate information.
Brussels politician Rudi Vervoort has appeared on Bel RTL to make a brief statement. He said nothing was confirmed and that a disaster plan was in effect at the airport. Vervoort said there had been "multiple explosions".
Reuters news agency reported the casualties, quoting Belgian media. All air and rail traffic to the airport has also been suspended following the blasts. Sky News reported the explosion had occurred near the American Airlines desk.