Chilling Footage Shows Terrified Passengers Cowering Under Desks And Running For Their Lives After Suicide Bomb Blasts Rock Brussels Airport In Series Of Attacks That Killed 34 Across The City – Daily Mail
Cowering under desks and running for their lives, this is the terrifying moment passengers were caught up in a suicide bomb attack at Brussels Airport today in a series of blasts that have killed at least 34 people and injured 170 across the city.
Witnesses described apocalyptic scenes with blood and ‘dismembered bodies everywhere’ after two blasts rocked the terminal at around 8am (7am GMT), killing at least 14 people and injuring dozens of others.
Then 79 minutes later at 9.19am, at least 20 people were killed and scores injured, some critically, when a blast hit a Metro station just 400 metres from the EU headquarters in the city centre.
At the airport, there were reports of a firefight between police and the attackers who shouted in Arabic moments before detonating their bombs, one of which was understood to contain nails.
An unexploded suicide vest was later found in the rubble and a Kalashnikov rifle beside the body of a dead terrorist.
The blasts, which detonated near a Starbucks and several check-in desks, sent shockwaves through the terminal building, shattering windows and knocking roof tiles off the ceiling as terrified passengers ran for their lives.
The explosions, coming just four months after the Paris attacks, have left countries around the world reeling, with security services placed on high alert, flights cancelled, Eurostar services suspended and France’s border with Belgium shut down.
Two suspects were arrested a mile from the Maelbeek metro station at around 11am as hundreds of troops and police flooded the streets of Brussels in the hunt for members of the terror cell.
Soldiers have been also been deployed at the airport and other key locations across the capital.
The Tihange nuclear power plant, around 90km from the capital, is being evacuated of all non-essential staff as Belgium raised security to its maximum level.
The bombings come just a day after the Belgium Interior Minister warned of possible revenge attacks after the arrest of Paris massacre suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city on Friday.
Yesterday, a secret police dossier also revealed there could be up to 90 ‘kamikazes’ waiting to launch suicide bomb attacks in Europe after returning from Syria disguised as migrants.
Speaking today, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said: ‘What we feared has happened.
‘In this time of tragedy, this black moment for our country, I appeal to everyone to remain calm but also to show solidarity.’
Terror gripped the airport at around 7am local time (8am GMT) as passengers checked in their bags and prepared to board flights.
Photographs from inside the arrivals hall showed the floor covered in fallen tiles and dust as bloodied people hobbled out of the airport. Others injured were photographed lying on the floor.
Video showed terrified passengers running for their lives out of the building.
Firefighters who entered the terminal to search for survivors are said to have found a third unexploded device, while armed police in protective clothing combed the building for more wounded travellers and suspicious bags.
The British Foreign Office today confirmed one Briton was injured in the explosions, while three American missionaries from Utah are believed to have been seriously hurt.
A Belgian TV station is reporting that at least one of the bombs at the Brussels airport contained nails.
Broadcaster VTM interviewed Marc Decramer of the Gasthuisberg hospital in Leuven, who says the hospital is treating 11 people with serious injuries, three of them in critical condition.
Decramer says the wounded have fractures and deep cuts caused by flying glass and nails.
Samir Derrouich, who works at a restaurant in the airport, told MailOnline: ‘The two explosions were almost simultaneous.
‘They were both at a check-in desk. One was close to the Starbucks. It was awful. There was just blood. It was like the apocalypse.’
Dries Valaert, 30, was waiting to get his boarding pass from a check in desk when the blast struck.
He said: ‘There was a first blast and then ten seconds later a second explosion. It was a big, big blast, the ceiling went down. It was just 30 metres from where I was.
‘I saw people down on the ground and I just went running. I jumped over the security fences towards the departure gates as I thought it would be safer.
‘My first intuition was to get out in case their were attackers with guns. I saw a woman around 18 years old with a hole in her hand with blood pouring out and a man with an injured ankle and two people down. There was lots of panic. People were running all over the place.’
Mr Valaert, who was flying to a business meeting in Berlin, said he believed the bombs were hidden in suitcases that had just been checked in.
He said: ‘The explosions were just behind the service desks, they were blown towards us. To me it is the most realistic possibility. I don’t think it was someone with a suicide vest.’
Alphonse Youla, who was working on a stand putting security wrapping around suitcases, said: ‘I heard a man shout some Arabic words then an explosion… then a second explosion, a massive explosion, much bigger.’
Speaking with blood on his hands and struggling to hold back tears, he added: ‘It was a horror. I saw at least seven people dead. There was blood. People had lost legs. You could see there bodies but no legs.’
He added: ‘I saw two men face down with blood pouring out of their heads. The injuries were so awful. You cannot imagine. People were so injured.
‘I did not see the man who shouted in Arabic as he was behind me. I just heard the words. I don’t speak Arabic so I don’t know what he said.’
In the aftermath, 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.
Evacuated passengers are being ferried onto buses and are being driven to a ‘crisis centre’ away from the airport, with women and children being moved first.
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.
Europe’s biggest airports are all increasing their security today. Heathrow confirmed it had stepped up its own ‘visible’ security in the wake of the attacks – with large units of armed police patrolling the airport this morning.
American Airlines confirmed that its planned flight from Brussels to Philadelphia in the US, which had been scheduled to depart at 9.40am had been cancelled in the wake of the blasts.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware of an incident at the Brussels airport departure hall and are taking care of our customers, employees and contractors. At this time, all of our employees and contractors are accounted for with no reported injuries.
‘American Airlines flight 751 has been cancelled for today. When operations at the airport resume, we will re-accommodate our customers.’
Brussels Airport has announced it will be closed until at least Wednesday following two explosions in the departure hall.
Terrorists then blew up a crowded Metro station in the city centre at around 9.19am, killing at least 10 people and seriously injuring dozens more.
Shocking images from Maelbeek station show smoke pouring out of the building and casualties littered on the pavement outside, just 400metres from the EU’s headquarters.
Commuters on the Metro at the time described hearing a loud bang before they were evacuated from trains and forced to walk down smoke-filled tunnels and along the track to the closest safe station.
Emergency services at the scene were carrying the dead and injured out of the station on stretchers.
Alexandre Brans, 32, who was wiping blood from his face, said: ‘The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.’
Brussels resident Shigeo Sugimoto said he was one stop away from where the metro was hit and heard people shouting.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘I am fine !! But I was in the metro when suddenly some one start shouting explosions!!! Evacuation!!!
‘Ouch!!! I was just one station ahead before when explosion happened!!!!!!!!’
He posted pictures showing cars and people standing in the road and wrote: ‘Maerbeek (sic) now apocalypse!!!’
Mr Sugimoto said he saw a man with blood on his face in the vicinity of Maelbeek station in the EU quarter, near the European Commission’s main building.
He was at Arts-Loi station, one ahead of Maelbeek, and told the Press Association: ‘On the ground, there were already people walking every direction to distance (themselves) from metro and the Belgian army were there trying to make people calm.
‘I saw a guy, blood over his face, dragged by another person. Then police start blocking the street and I could only see ambulances go and come.’
Evan Lamos was among the thousands of commuters on tube trains this morning when the network was attacked.
He was on two stops away from Maelbeek and the passengers on his train were evacuated from the carriages into a smoke-filled tunnel and then walked along the tracks to the exit at the nearest station.
He said: ‘There was a dull thud. We felt a blast of air and my ears popped shortly afterwards. The Metro stopped immediately’.
The Belgian Interior Minister has raised the country’s security level to ‘maximum’ as it prepares itself for more terror attacks in the wake of the airport bombings.
Armed police have already arrested three suspects in the hours after the attacks and already have CCTV of one of the Brussels airport bombers including the moment he detonated his suicide belt, MailOnline can reveal.
Every space in the city’s airport is covered by four CCTV cameras and Maelbeek station’s surveillance network is also being used to pinpoint the moment that 20 people were murdered and 55 were maimed 79 minutes later.
Two men were detained by armed police at the North Station around a miles from the Maelbeek subway.
A third man has been arrested on a train near Amsterdam and a suspect package at Gard du Nord in Paris delayed Eurostar services this afternoon.
But the Belgian Foreign Ministry has confirmed they believe some of the terrorists involved are ‘still at large’.
Police and special forces are looking for known members of any terror cell who may be planning more attacks.
They will also round up anyone who may pose a threat to the public, or acting suspiciously, in an attempt to foil any more attacks.
Special forces are also patrolling the streets in case of more bombings or marauding gunmen used to kill 131 people in at least five Paris attacks in November 13 last year.
Britain and United States will already be playing a key role in trying to help the Belgian authorities work out who was behind the attacks.
Both MI5 and the CIA have stations in Brussels and its teams have ‘unique expertise’ that will help trace those behind the bombings.
The National Crime Agency, Britain’s FBI, will also be in the city already because of the heightened terror threat.
British Prime Minister David Cameron offered his support to victims and called a COBRA emergency committee meeting to address the events in Brussels.
He tweeted: ‘I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels. We will do everything we can to help.
‘I will be chairing a COBRA meeting on the events in Brussels later this morning.’
U.S. President Barack Obama said: ‘The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the people in Belgium.
‘We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.
‘We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium to bring to justice those who are responsible.
‘This is just another example that the world must unite; we must be together regardless of nationality, or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.
‘We can and we will defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.’
Tech specialists will be scanning the phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, GPS records and forums known to be used by terrorists – and tracing links to Britain and America.
The explosions 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.
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.
After the Paris attacks, security forces searched far and wide for Abdeslam, who vanished after returning to Brussels, believing ISIS could have spirited him away to Turkey, Syria or Morocco.
But it appears Europe’s most wanted man never left the Belgian capital.
And it was family, friends and petty criminals who helped him evade a manhunt for four months before he was arrested on Friday in the neighbourhood he grew up in, not far from his family home or the district’s police headquarters.
Abdeslam relied on two friends to drive him back to Brussels after his brother Brahim blew himself up at a Paris cafe. Others drove him around Molenbeek and its environs between safe houses.
Police, who were eventually able to move in to seize him at a house in the rundown North African neighbourhood of Molenbeek, have charged a man and a women whom they suspect of being part of a family who harboured the fugitive.
It is understood that intelligence services located the fugitive’s hideout after listening in on phone conversations at the funeral of his brother, Brahim Abdeslam, who blew himself up in the Paris attacks.
One mourner is thought to have let slip vital information which allowed police to close the net around Abdeslam in Molenbeek.
They finally snared him after they noticed a large number of pizzas being delivered to a flat they had under surveillance – too many for the number of people who should have been in the apartment.
He was interviewed three times on Saturday, the day after his capture – once by prosecutors and twice by an investigating judge – and ‘wasn’t in great shape’ because he had been shot in the leg by police during his capture, Mr Van Leeuw said.
Abdeslam has a court hearing on Wednesday. France has requested his extradition but Abdeslam’s lawyer says his client will fight the request.
Police are also hunting a newly-identified ISIS suspect whose DNA was found on bombs used in the Paris terror attacks.
The accomplice was named today as Najim Laachraoui, a militant previously known by the pseudonym Soufiane Kayal which he used to rent a flat where the massacre was planned.
He left for Syria in 2013 before returning to Europe last year and travelled around the Continent with logistics chief Salah Abdeslam and another senior member of the cell in the days before the attacks.
Prosecutors revealed traces of the 24-year-old’s DNA were found on explosives at the scene of the suicide bomb attacks, suggesting he could be a bomb maker or armourer.
The announcement came as a secret police dossier revealed there could be up to 90 ‘kamikazes’ waiting to launch suicide bomb attacks in Europe after returning from Syria disguised as migrants.
The report also lifted the lid on just how shocked security chiefs were by the scale and complexity of the ISIS operation that killed 130 people in the French capital last November.
Investigators were caught off-guard by how skilled the attackers were in a range of tactics such as using co-ordinated strikes at multiple locations to place the greatest strain on emergency services.
The sophistication of the explosives used by the cell’s suicide bombers also surprised officials.
Experts say that could only have been achieved with the help of an, as yet unidentified, bomb maker in an, as yet undiscovered, bomb factory.
The findings were revealed in a 55-page report compiled in the weeks after the attack by the anti-terrorism police for France’s interior ministry, which has been obtained by the New York Times.
The document, along with hundreds of pages of interrogation and court records, suggests there are still questions about how many others were involved in the attacks.
There are already 20 people being held in six countries on suspicion of assisting the attackers, but officials are identifying other accomplices at large almost on a weekly basis.
The suspected mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a raid days after the attacks, is said to have bragged about how he was one of 90 terrorists who had gone to ground in Europe until called upon to strike.
The police said the friend had told them: ‘Abaaoud clearly presented himself as the commander of these 90 kamikazes-in-waiting and that he had come directly to France to avoid the failures they had experienced in the past.’
Officials also don’t know how many bomb-makers were sent to Europe after being trained in Syria or the exact encryption technology that allowed the ISIS death squad to evade detection for three months leading up to the attacks when they were planned the atrocity.
French police began to understand the level of expertise used when they found traces of the same bomb ingredients at each of the places where the suicide vest went off: three times at the Stade de France Stadium, once at the Comptoir Voltaire bistro and twice inside the Bataclan concert hall.
The peroxide-based explosive, known as triacetone triperoxide or TATP can easily be made with everyday products such as bleach or nail polish remover which is why it has become increasingly become the terror group’s explosive of choice.
However, it is difficult to create a stable bomb and equally as tricky to detonate it, suggesting the group had developed their skills over the last two years, the report said.
Until then, they did not believe ISIS was capable of pulling off such a co-ordinated attack.
Dr Natasha Underhill, an expert on terrorism in the Middle East at Nottingham Trent University, said: ‘This was no doubt a warning strike to European leaders and there may be more to come.
‘The group has time and time again issued statements that it will have no mercy in targeting those who are supporting the US and who are fighting against the group.
‘The likelihood of further attacks in Europe is now in very little doubt. The promotion of fear is one of the strongest assets that Islamic State possesses and it is sadly doing an excellent job in spreading this message across Europe.
‘Strong responses and a unified reaction by European leaders and their allies needs to take place. However, care needs to be taken in terms of not overreacting to these events and responding in the most strategic and effective way against this growing threat.’
FLASHBACK – January, 2016: Donald Trump Says Muslim Immigration Has Turned Brussels Into A Hellhole