Belgium has raised its national threat alert to Level 4, the highest possible, after three explosions shut down the Brussels metro following a massive attack on the city’s international airport. 15 people were killed in the train attack and another 55 were wounded.
The Brussels Metro rail system was struck Tuesday morning in a carefully time, coordinated attack with blasts that were detonated within minutes of each other at separate locations.
The attacks came about a half hour after a suicide bombing at the departure hall of Zaventem Airport in the Belgian capital which killed at least 11 people and wounded 35.
The first two explosions in the city are believed to have taken place on a train between the Maalbeek/Maelbeek and Schuman stations stations, near the headquarters of the European Commission.
The blasts were heard at Maalbeek metro station at around 8:30 am, according to RTBF, about 400 meters from the Berlaymont building – home to the headquarters of the European Commission.
A witness said the explosion appeared to come from the front of the train. “The lights went off, there was panic given what happened at Brussels airport.
“The doors of the train were forced open to get off the train. There was a lot of smoke. We left via Maelbeek station. The glass doors were blown out. The explosion must have been violent.”
No trains are currently running to or from Brussels Midi, according to the Eurostar company.
“Brussels customers are advised to postpone, and not come to station,” the firm tweeted. “Our thoughts rest with anyone affected by the unfolding events in Brussels – we are closely monitoring and will update,” a Eurostar spokesperson said in a statement.
Both France and Britain have raised their national alert levels.
Security was increased at London Gatwick and Heathrow Airport following the attacks, and at the Paris Charles de Gaulles airport as well. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is set to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee Tuesday evening in response to the explosions in Brussels.Hana Levi Julian