Belgium is in mourning following the deadly March 22 attacks that left 34 people dead and more than 170 others injured. As authorities continue to piece together the details behind these horrific killings, here are 5 things to know about the Brussels bombings.
The world is standing with Belgium in the wake of the horrible attacks in the capital city of Brussels. There are many questions surrounding this tragedy: Who could commit this atrocity and why? As officials search for answers, here is what we know so far.
1. There were three total explosions.
Twin blasts struck the Zaventem airport at 7:00 A.M. GMT (3:00 A.M. EST) on March 22, according to the BBC. The airport is located 6.9 miles (11 km) northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Another explosion happened at the Maelbeek (or Maalbeek) subway station an hour later. At this time, 34 people are dead, with at least people being killed at the subway attack. Keep updated on the attacks by watching live coverage here.
2. The subway attack was very close to the European Union headquarters.
The Maalbeek station is near a number of important European Union buildings, according to RT.com, including the headquarters for the EU Commission and the Council of the European Union. “The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion,” Alexandre Brans, an AP reporter who survived the attack, said. “It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.”
3. Police found an undetonated bomb at the airport.
The airport attacks happened in the departure hall near the check-in desks for American Airlines and Brussels Airlines, per The Independent. A Belgium federal prosecutor told local broadcasters that a suicide bomber was responsible for one of the explosions. An undetonated suicide vest and a Kalashnikov assault rifle were also reportedly found near a dead attacker.
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4. This may be related to the Paris Terror attacks.
At the moment, Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel, 40, said there was no information if these attacks were related to the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a terrorist supposedly connected to the deadly Paris attacks in Nov. 15, according to the New York Times. Salah was captured in Brussels on March 18. However, the timing of the bombings led Prime Minister Michel to say, “We were fearing terrorists attacks and that has now happened.”
5. Belgium is knee deep in fighting ISIS and terrorism.
Brussels has been a focus point of multiple counterterrorism efforts. Officials have investigated a specific Brussels neighborhood suspected of being a hub of Islamic State recruitment. In fact, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind behind the deadly Paris attacks, was born and raised in Belgium before he became radicalized.
Our thoughts continue to go out to those affected by these horrible attacks in Brussels.