ISIS claims responsibility for fatal Belgium attack; 34 suspecte - CBS46 News


ISIS claims responsibility for fatal Belgium attack; 34 suspected dead

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Many people have been killed and several injured after two explosions ripped through a Brussels airport and another at a subway station Tuesday, police said. Authorities are now saying that the explosions are a result of terror attacks.

Reports say as many as 34 people have been killed and 136 others were injured during the blasts.

All flights were canceled, arriving planes were being diverted and Belgium's terror alert level was raised to maximum, officials said. The city of Brussels has been locked down as a result.

The Belgian office of the King's prosecutor says the explosion was a suicide attack.

The explosions hit at the middle of the busiest time at the airport, which serves the city that is the capital of the 28-nation European Union. NATO is also headquartered in the region.

Smoke was seen billowing out of the terminal after Tuesday's morning's blasts.

Amateur video shown on France's i-Tele television showed passengers including a child running with a backpack dashing out of the terminal different directions as they tugged luggage, Another image showed a security officer patroling inside a hall with blasted paneling and what appears to be ceiling insulation covering the floor.

Zach Mouzoun, who arrived on a flight from Geneva about 10 minutes before the first blast, told France's BFM television that the second louder explosion brought down ceilings and ruptured pipes, mixing water with blood from victims.

"It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed," he said. "There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere. We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene."

"There were two blasts in the departure hall. First aid team are in place for help," airport spokeswoman Anke Fransen said

Passengers were led onto the tarmac and the crisis center urged people not to come to the airport.

The explosions happened only days after the prime suspect in the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam was arrested in Brussels.

An Associated Press reporter saw several people with facial injuries following an explosion in a Brussels metro station near European Union headquarters. 

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."

The country's interior minister has raised the terror level to maximum in wake of the explosions. Meanwhile, media also says smoke was reported at a subway station near the European Union headquarters. As a result, the Belgium subway company has closed all stations. 

President Barack Obama, traveling in Cuba, was briefed Tuesday morning on the Brussels attacks that killed dozens of people. The White House said U.S. officials were in contact with Belgian officials about the explosions at the Brussels airport and subway system.

British airports are increasing security and Prime Minister David Cameron is convening the government's emergency committee after the explosions at Brussels airport and on the city's subway system.

Cameron said Britain would "do everything we can to help."

Britain's official terrorist threat level stands at "severe," the second-highest level on a five-point scale, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Gatwick airport said that "as a result of the terrible incidents in Brussels we have increased our security presence and patrols around the airport."

Heathrow said it was working with police to provide a "high-visibility" presence on light of the attacks.

Atlanta impact

Back at home, it's hard to tell right now if the explosions will have any impact on flights heading in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. There are incoming flights scheduled into Atlanta from Brussels, which are expected to touch down during the mid-afternoon hours. It is unclear if those flights have been cancelled or delayed.

Delta Airlines tweeted early Tuesday morning that flight DL80 from Atlanta to Brussels landed safely in Belgium. 

The Atlanta-based airline added that its flight DL42 from New York to Brussels has been diverted to Amsterdam.

Mayor Kasim Reed issued a statement Tuesday morning, affirming his commitment to protecting visitors and residents of Atlanta, as well as offering condolences to the people of Belgium.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said they are on heightened alert following the attack, and said that safety and security are always a constant focus at the airport.

Find family, friends

Do you have friends or family in Belgium? Facebook has launched a safety check that will quickly let people find and connect with friends in the area.

Stay with CBS46 News as we will continue to follow this story and provide updates as new information is learned.

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