Explosions rocked the Brussels airport and its subway system Tuesday, killing at least 13 people according to Belgian media, injuring scores more and prompting authorities to lock down the Belgian capital.
The explosions, which the Brussels prosecutor’s office called terror attacks, came just days after the main suspect in the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks was arrested Friday in Brussels. After his arrest, 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam told authorities he had created a new network and was planning new attacks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks.
At the airport, two explosions splattered blood across the departure lounge and collapsed the ceiling. The explosions hit during the busy morning rush. Smoke was seen billowing out of the terminal.
“We heard a big explosion. It’s like when you’re in a party and suddenly your hearing goes out, from like a big noise,” Deloos said, adding that shredded paper floated through the air as a colleague told him to run.
Tom De Doncker, 21, check-in agent intern, was near the site of the second explosion.
All flights from Brussels were canceled, arriving planes and trains were diverted. Authorities told people in Brussels to stay where they were, bringing the city to a standstill. Airport security was also tightened in Paris, London and other European cities.
Zach Mouzoun, who arrived on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first blast, told BFM television that the second, louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes, mixing water with victims’ blood.
“We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene,” he said.
“The Metro was leaving Maelbeek station for Schuman when there was a really loud explosion,” said Alexandre Brans, 32, wiping blood from his face. “It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.”
At the airport, passengers fled as quickly as they could.
Marc Noel, 63, was about to board a Delta flight to Atlanta, to return to his home in Raleigh, North Carolina. A Belgian native, Noel says he was in an airport shop buying automobile magazines when the first explosion occurred 50 yards away.
With three runways in the shape of a “Z,” the airport connects Europe’s capital to 226 destinations around the world and handled nearly 23.5 million passengers in 2015.
In Paris, France’s top security official said the country was immediately reinforcing security at airports, train stations and metros.