BRUSSELS, March 22, 2016 – Islamic terrorists exploded bombs at the Brussels airport and a downtown Brussels metro stop, killing 31 people and wounding more than 150, prompting world leaders to issue terror alerts across the globe. The airport bombing was caused by a suicide attack.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters that his country was fearing terrorist attacks, and now one finally happened.
The terror attacks come a week after Belgian authorities captured Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam.
The subway station blast happened in the Brussels district of Maalbeek, near the European quarter, where much of the European Union is based.
Immediately following the blast at the Metro station, transportation authorities shut down the entire subway system. Thirty minutes later, the officials suspended all public transportation, including trams and buses. Aviation authorities evacuated the airport, diverted incoming flights starting around 9 a.m. Tuesday and canceled all flights until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The airport evacuation left hundreds of people stuck on the parking lot and on the runway of the airport.
Belgium raised its terror threat level to maximum and security was tightened across the region. Belgium’s state news agency reported that shots were fired and shouting in Arabic was heard before the explosions at the airport.
The White House said President Obama was briefed about the explosions at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, where he’s on the third day of a Latin American tour.
Attorney General Lynch offered the assistance of the FBI and other federal agencies to the Brussels authorities.
Meanwhile, Washington D.C. metro transit authority increased security, adding K-9 units and additional patrols. The New York Police Department are ramping up security at tourist attractions and major transportation centers.
The bombings in the European Union capital are certain to add new fire to the raging debate over refugees from Muslim nations where terrorist groups are active. Europe has taken in more than a million refugees, and terror groups including ISIS have said they are infiltrating the wave of migrants.
In a press conference, French President Francois Hollande said “terrorists struck Brussels but it was Europe that was targeted — and all the world that is concerned,” adding that “this war will be long.” Paris officials announced that they would light the Eiffel Tower in the colors of the Belgian flag and they increased security around France’s nuclear facilities.