Published On: Tue, Mar 22nd, 2016

11 People dead and several injured after two explosions at ‘American Airlines’ check-in desk at Brussels Airport


At least eleven people have died and several people injured after two explosions rocked Brussels Airport in a suspected terror attack.

Witnesses said they ‘felt the shockwaves’ of the blasts which are believed to have centred on the American Airlines check-in desk at 8am (7am GMT).

There were reports that shouts in Arabic were heard in the building before the two explosion and shots were fired in the aftermath.

Photographs from inside the arrivals hall showed the floor was covered in fallen roof tiles and dust as bloodied people hobbled out of the airport. Others injured were photographed lying on the floor.

Video also shows terrified passengers running for their lives out of the terminal.

In the aftermath of the explosions thousands of people waiting for flights this morning were penned inside the terminal as police sealed off the shattered arrivals hall.

People already checked-in were then slowly evacuated through emergency exits – but were told to leave all their hand luggage as police checked bags for more explosives.

A soldier walks through debris after two explosion rocked a terminal building at Brussels Airport
Two explosions have been heard at Brussels Airport

Injured passengers are covered in blood and dust after the explosions in the terminal building

Video shows terrified passengers running for their lives out of the terminal

Pictures show the terminal windows blown out from the force of the explosion and smoke rising into the sky

Pauline Deglume tweeted: ‘My godfather is located at the airport and said he saw dismembered bodies everywhere.’

Armed police in protective clothing combed the building for more wounded travellers and suspicious bags.

All flights are being diverted from the airport this morning as it remains on lockdown.

Flights due to land at Brussels-Zaventem, which handles 21million passengers a year, were sent to Antwerp, Liege, and Brussels Charleroi airports.

The incident came as the Belgian capital was on a state of high alert following the arrest of Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week.

Belgium’s Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, said the country was on high alert for a possible revenge attack following the capture of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam in a flat in Brussels on Friday.

‘We know that stopping one cell can … push others into action. We are aware of it in this case,’ he told public radio. 

Brussels is on high alert following the capture last Friday of Salah Abdeslam, the most-wanted man in Europe, in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of the city after a four-month search.

Witnesses  felt shockwaves of the blast which are believed to have targeted the American Airlines desk

Pictures show the terminal window blown in from the force of the explosion and smoke rising high into the sky

Just yesterday Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the country was braced for a possible revenge attack following the capture of 26-year-old Abdeslam.

France is seeking Abdeslam’s extradition so he can stand trial for his alleged role in the November 13 rampage of gunfire and suicide bombings that killed 130 people in Paris.

Mr Jambon said: ‘After 18 months of dealing with this terrorist issue, I have learned that when the terrorists and weapons are in the same place, and that’s what we saw in [the suburb of] Forest, we are close to an attack. I’m not saying it is evidence. But yes, there are indications.’

Belgium is under great tension, with its federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw saying yesterday that last year the country worked on 315 new anti-terror cases and nearly 60 so far this year.

Indeed, many witnesses at Brussels Airport today immediately jumped to the conclusion that there had been a terrorist attack, which reflects the nature of the country.

Sky News reporter Alex Rossi, who is at the airport, said tension levels in the city ‘seem to have dropped somewhat’ since the Paris attacks in November.

He added: ‘I don’t know whether that is because the threat wasn’t as great – clearly if this is a terrorist attack, that isn’t the case – or if that’s because people become… used to terror.

‘Terror of course works by people being shocking, being surprising. And when you become more used to that level of threat I suppose you can’t remain at such an anxious, intense level.

‘But having said that, people were still worried. People you would talk to would talk about the level of military on the streets, the level of security, and these are anxious times indeed.’


About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology