A number of explosions have rocked Belgium this morning, with twin blasts at Brussels airport and another at Maelbeek metro station close to the EU buildings an hour later.
Although the government has yet to confirm the number of casualties, at least 27 people are said to have died, 13 of these at the airport in what is reported to have been a suicide bombing, and at 15 at the metro station, with many more injured.
Eyewitnesses are claiming shots were fired before the explosions in the departure area of Brussels airport, near the American Airlines and Brussels Airline check in desks.
Bomb disposal experts have also carried out a controlled explosion of a suspicious package on the Rue de la Loi,
The airport and metro system have been evacuated and shut down, and the country’s terror alert has been raised to four, the highest level.
Although no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, the explosions come just days after Salah Abdeslam, one of the main fugitives behind November’s Paris attacks, was captured by authorities in Brussels.
Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, has said in a statement, “We must face this challenge in solidarity, united, together” and European Council president Donald Tusk stated “The European institutions are hosted in Brussels thanks to the generosity of Belgium’s government and its people.
“The European Union returns this solidarity now and will fulfil its role to help Brussels, Belgium and Europe as a whole counter the terror threat which we are all facing.”
David Cameron is to chair an emergency COBRA meeting this morning to discuss the incident
Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism chief, has said “As a precaution forces across the UK have increased policing presence at key locations, including transport hubs, to protect the public and provide reassurance. This is not in relation to any specific information or intelligence.”
(Image: Jeff Versele)