Explosions at the Brussels Zaventem airport and a downtown metro stop rocked the city Tuesday, killing at least 26 people, wounding more than 100 and shutting down all public transportation and placing Brussels on lockdown.
Terror alerts rose across Europe and around the world.
Belgium’s federal prosecutor confirmed the blasts at the airport were caused by a suicide attack. The explosion at the metro station was near buildings that house European Union institutions in central Brussels.
“We were fearing terrorist attacks and that has now happened,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said.
Maggie De Block, Belgium’s federal health minister, said the terrorist bombings at the airport killed at least 11 people and injured 81.Brussels’ transportation agency, the STIB, said 15 people died in the metro bombing.
Belgium raised its terror threat level to maximum and security was tightened across the region. The incident follows the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in November’s Paris attacks who was captured in Brussels last week after a four-month manhunt. Belgium’s state news agency reported that shots were fired and shouting in Arabic was heard before the explosions at the airport.
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.
The airport evacuation left hundreds of people stuck on the parking lot and on the runway of the airport.
A Belzer chossid, R’ Chaim Winternitz of Yerushalayim, was at the airport with his family, on their way after participating in a family simcha in Antwerp, Belgium. He was lightly wounded in his foot by shrapnel. B”H he was treated, and didn’t need surgery. He was released from the medical center to his father in law Rabbi Hershel Farkash’s home, and will be traveling home shortly.
A second Belzer chossid was moderately injured and taken for surgery.
Yisroel Yaakov Yeret of Ichud Hatzala reports from Brussels Airport that he was in shul praying when the attack happened. After hours of waiting, passengers stuck in the airport were moved into a huge hangar. They haven’t been provided with food and drinks, and authorities have not been in touch with them.