Brussels, Belgium (CNN) – Three explosions that ripped through the Belgian capital of Brussels around 8:hrs this morning (Tuesday) killed at least 28 people, according to Belgian media, and raised the reality of terror once again in the heart of Europe.
“We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters.
Belgian federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said it was too soon to know exactly how many people died in the bombings. Yet the Brussels Metro Authority reported that 15 died and 55 were wounded in the subway station blast. And public broadcaster VRT said at least 13 more were killed, and about 35 were injured, in the two blasts in the Brussels airport departure hall.
Of the two explosions at the airport, at least one was a suicide bombing, Van Leeuw said. A blast happened there outside the security checkpoints for ticketed passengers and near the airline check-in counters, an airline official briefed on the situation said.
Richard Medic, who arrived at the station shortly after that explosion, wasn’t surprised by the carnage after all that Europe has gone through recently, including the November’s massacre in Paris that ISIS claimed responsibility for.
a matter of time.”
Yet Jeff Versele, who was in the airport’s departure hall when the blasts occurred, said that he thinks Belgians should not hole themselves up and instead should continue to travel “to prove that we’re not afraid of those who have done (the attacks).”
That doesn’t mean being in the middle of it all, though, isn’t frightening.
“You cannot believe it; you cannot believe it,” Versele told CNN. “It was so insane. Not in my backyard.”
Security precautions taken
This comes as the terror threat level in Belgium went up four — its highest. That step-up means army soldiers can be sent onto the streets to meet security needs.
The effects were felt outside the Belgian capital as well.
Eurostar, a high-speed railway that also goes to England and France, noted a number of schedule and other changes.
And London’s Heathrow Airport tweeted that travelers there should expect “a high visibility presence at Heathrow.” Gatwick Airport, also in the British capital, likewise noted “there will be increased police and security patrols.”
The Brussels airport attack
Anthony Barrett said he heard something about 8 a.m. local time from his hotel across from the terminal building.
“When I opened the curtains and looked out, I could see people fleeing,” he told CNN.
He said he’s seen about 19 or 20 stretchers carrying people so far. Luggage trollies were also being used to transport the wounded.