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What we know about the attacks in Brussels

On the morning of March 22, at least 31 people were killed and more than 180 injured after three explosions rocked the airport and a metro station in Belgium’s capital. The attacks began just before 8 a.m. Brussels time. Belgian leaders warn that the Brussels perpetrators may still be at large, and Brussels is largely shut down.


Attacks at two locations took place a little more than an hour apart and are apparently coordinated.

  • Two explosions hit Brussels Airport and there was one explosion at a metro station during the morning commute in the city.
  • So far, more than 30 people have died in the attacks — 20 from the metro station attack, 11 from the airport explosions.
  • The attacks come days after the key suspect from last year’s attacks in Paris was arrested in Brussels.
  • Belgium was put on a maximum terrorism alert, and the capital is currently under a lockdown.
  • The explosions have been confirmed as terrorist attacks, according to Belgium’s top prosecutor, though no one has claimed responsibility.

The attacks at the airport

The attacks started just before 8 a.m. Brussels time, when one blast ripped through the departure hall of the Brussels Zaventem airport, followed shortly by another one near the other end of the terminal, where people had already started to run for cover. The international airport has suspended operations and is unable to say when they will resume. The office of Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said at least one of the airport blasts was carried out by a suicide bomber. The airport sees over 54,000 passengers daily; however, this does not account for friends and family of passengers, nor airport employees.

Broken windows on the Brussels Zaventem airport after the attacks. Dirk Waem/AFP/Getty Images

The attacks at a metro station

A third attack hit the Maelbeek metro station, tearing open a metal subway car. European Union diplomats, government employees and other international workers routinely pass through the station on their way to work. There were 11 fatalities and more than 100 injured after a blast within the station.

Video stills of scenes in the Maelbeek metro station in Brussels show passengers evacuating after the attack. AFP/Getty Images.

Who’s responsible?

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks as retaliation for the apprehension of a main suspect in the Paris attacks from last November. Salah Abdeslam was caught in a nearby neighborhood of Molenbeek just a few days ago.

By The Washington Post


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