Dozens Dead After Multiple Explosions Rock Brussels; ISIS Claims Responsibilty; Photos of Suspects Released (UPDATED)
Warning: The above video contains some graphic footage.
Update 1:30 p.m. ET: Belgian authorities have released photos of three men who may have been involved in the attack. “For the time being, I can only confirm that this is a picture of three suspects,” said Eric Van der Sijpt, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office.
The two men on the left, dressed in black, are believed to have been suicide bombers who died in the twin airport blasts. The man on the right, in the hat, may still be at large:
Police issued a statement and a second photo of the man on the right, saying they are seeking any information on him. “The police [are] seeking to identify this man,” the statement says. “He is suspected of having committed the attack at the Zaventem airport on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.”
— Avis de recherche (@police_temoin) March 22, 2016
Update 11:45 a.m. ET: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings, as many had suspected they would, according to a bulletin released by the official news agency of the Islamic State:
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 center of the Belgian capital Brussels, a country participating in the coalition against the Islamic State. Islamic State fighters opened fire inside the Zaventem airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek metro station.
Supporters of the terrorist group have cheered the bombings, even threatening “what is coming is worse.”
Update 11:30 a.m. ET: Brussels police are conducting a massive series of raids in search of anyone who might have information on what happened or on what further possible attacks may be in the works.
The Brussels fired department has said 28 people died and 166 were injured in the three bombings Tuesday morning.
Three Americans were injured in the blasts, according to the Mormon Church, who say that three of their missionaries working in Europe were at the airport at the time.
Via CNN, here is some footage immediately following the explosions at the airport:
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2016
Original story starts here:
A series of explosions seared through Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people and injuring many more. Two explosions took place at the city’s international airport, while another was centered at a subway station in the center of the city.
There are conflicting reports about the number of injured, as authorities continue to try to gather information and secure the city.
“We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said. Authorities believe at least one of the explosions was the work of a suicide bomber.
One woman who survived the airport explosions described the scene:
We were going to check in around 7:30 a.m. There were seven of us. We were a bit late. We heard a big noise and saw a big flash. My mother went to the floor — she was hit. I just dropped my luggage and went to the floor. A kid came out, bleeding a lot. I tried to help him with a tissue, but it was not enough.
This latest incident of violence comes not even one week after Salah Abdelsam, the last remaining ringleader of last November’s Paris attacks, which killed 130 people, was captured in Brussels.
Tuesday’s attacks left the Belgian capital in a state of near chaos — all flights have been canceled and the mass transit system will not operate for the duration of the day.
You can see some of the devastation below:
— ABC News (@ABC) March 22, 2016
— VICE News (@vicenews) March 22, 2016
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) March 22, 2016
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 22, 2016
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 22, 2016
This story will be updated as further information comes in.