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Brussels airport hit by twin blasts

The blasts occurred in the departure hall shortly before 8am (local time), according to Belgian media. The airport has been evacuated, all flights have been cancelled and the Belgian authorities have activated their “emergency plan”.

One witness told Belgium’s La Première radio that windows had been smashed in the terminal building and, after what he said were two explosions, he saw people lying on the ground. The radio station also said that Belgium’s National Security Council was due to meet imminently.

Belgian state broadcasters said the government had raised the terror alert back to four, the highest level which indicates an attack is imminent. The last time Brussels’ terror alert level was at four was during the week-long lockdown that followed the November terrorist attacks in Paris.

Images of the airport showed a plume of black smoke rising from the terminal building. Belgian media said the blasts had left a number of dead and wounded.

Simon O’Connor, a senior aide to Pierre Moscovici, the European Commission’s economic chief, was at the airport’s car park preparing for a flight to Rome when he heard the first explosion.

“It sounded like you’d expect an explosion to sound,” he told the FT. Mr O’Connor said he assumed the bang was associated with construction work at the airport, and continued to the terminal when the second explosion went off, just minutes later.

“I walked to the edge of the car park and you could see a lot of people looking distraught,” he said, noting that only then did he realise what had happened. “The whole side of the terminal building as blown out. A lot of people had blood on their faces, leg injuries. People began pouring out of the building.”

Mr O’Connor said he spoke to two other witnesses who said at least one of the explosions appeared to be inside a Starbucks café in the departure lounge. “There are going to be a lot killed,” he said.

“There have been 2 explosions at the airport. Building is being evacuated. Don’t come to the airport area,” Brussels airport wrote on Twitter.

This post was syndicated from BusinessDay : News you can trust. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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