Brussels Under Attack: At Least 26 Dead
Photo via Twitter
UPDATE: 1:45 p.m. ET, 3/22/2016
According to FoxNews.com, the death toll from the Brussels bombings has also climbed to at least 31 people.
American Airlines has released a statement about incorrect reports regarding the location of the bombings in Brussels, via FoxNews.com:
“American is taking care of employees and customers at Brussels Airport. At this time, all of our airport employees and crew members are safe and accounted for with no reported injuries. American Airlines check-in operates at Row 8 of the departure hall, and the explosions did not occur at Row 8.”
UPDATE: 10:45 a.m. ET, 3/22/2016
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow released a statement about the attacks:
“America's travel community is outraged and saddened by the despicable terror acts in Belgium, and we condemn those who wish nothing more than to make us all fearful of going about our daily lives in peace.”
“As with every other such horrific event, we must shortly turn to the lessons that are to be learned for our security policies, which should continue to evolve along with the volatile global threat environment. We urge U.S. leaders to continue to embrace policies that emphasize collecting information in the most sophisticated and innovative ways possible in order to advance our ability to prevent such attacks here in the U.S. and abroad.”
“The fact that travel and transit nodes were the object of this violence naturally has our full attention. Those who would do harm to the Western world are a deranged minority and should be treated as such—our travel security policies should work to identify and separate them from the pool of legitimate travelers so that law enforcement can focus their full resources on bad actors and prosecute them as vigorously as possible.”
“Words matter and move markets. It's just not realistic to ban religions, order war crimes, and end international travel. Bombast and bluster are no substitutes for thoughtful leadership.”
Explosions ripped through the Brussels airport and subway on March 22 as at least one suicide bomber attacked the city, putting the capital on lockdown and prompting the whole of Europe to heighten security levels. According to the website for Brussels Airport, all flights have been cancelled.
As of Tuesday morning, CNN reported that at least 26 people had been killed and more than 130 injured.
According to reports, the attack began at the Zaventem Airport in Brussels where two blasts rocked the departures lounge. The airport's website issued a statement saying:
"Brussels Airport extends its deepest sympathy to the friends and relatives of the victims of the explosions in the departures hall earlier this morning.
At 8am two explosions occured in the departures hall. The emergency and rescue services are on the scene and are offering the necessary assistance.
All flights at Brussels Airport today are cancelled. Passengers are requested to contact their airline for further instructions.
The airport authorities are asking to avoid the surroundings of the airport."
Another blast was reported in the Maelbeek Metro Station. There have also been reports of gunfire. Currently, all planes and Eurostar trains are being diverted Brussels.
Reports from witnesses told the AP that the scene looked like a war zone.
Alexandre Brans, 32, 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."
World leaders expressed their condolences and held emergency meetings in the wake of the attacks.
The AP reported that Germany's prime minister said "today is a black day for Europe."
French president Francois Hollande said on twitter "“Through the #Brussels attacks, the whole of Europe has been hit.”
The police are calling for people to assist in the investigation, putting out an appeal to citizens who may have witnessed the attack and asking them to contact police or border control agents.
The World Travel & Tourism Council put out a statement condemning the attacks. writing "The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) strongly condemns the attacks in Brussels on 22 March 2016."
David Scowsill, President and CEO of the WTTC, said in a statement:
“We are deeply saddened to hear about today’s callous attacks in Brussels, which have caused terrible injuries and the loss of so many innocent lives. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims at this terrible time."
"We live in a time when terror attacks are growing in frequency. We urge the governments around the world to work closely together to combat this global threat and to increase security measures on the ground and across borders through expanding intelligence sharing. Enhancing security does not mean closing down borders."
"We encourage governments to make policy decisions that balance safety of their citizens with continuing to facilitate travel for business and leisure purposes."
United Airlines released a statement about the terrorist attack:
“The United family is deeply saddened by the tragedies in Brussels earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The safety of our customers and crew remains our top priority, and all of our employees are safe and accounted for at this time.”
“We had two arrivals at Brussels International Airport this morning. Flight 950 from Washington Dulles arrived at 7:01 a.m. and customers deplaned normally at the gate. Our second flight - flight 999 from Newark Liberty - was rerouted to a remote location and our customers and crew have deplaned. All remaining flights to and from Brussels International have been suspended until further notice from local authorities. We will share additional updates as soon as we are able.”
Delta Air Lines also released a statement following the attacks in Brussels:
“This morning (at approximately 8.15 am local time) two explosions have been reported in the departures area of Brussels Airport in Belgium. The airport has been evacuated and is now closed with local emergency services onsite. Local leaders have confirmed the safety of all crew members and ground employees. The airport team is in the process of confirming the safety of all customers.”
“Delta's flight DL80 from Atlanta to Brussels has landed safely at the airport and is parked remotely, with the local team working on plans to safely deplane passengers to a secure holding area. Delta's flight DL42 from New York to Brussels has been diverted to Amsterdam.”
TravelPulse's Donald Wood contributed to this report.
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