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At LEAST 28 people have been killed after three suicide explosions at Brussels airport and a metro station in attacks allegedly orchestrated by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.
FIVE explosions have taken place in Brussels, Belgium; two at the Zaventem airport near the American Airlines desk. Initial reports say thirteen people are dead, thirty-five injured. The airport has been evacuated.
A Second attack at the Maelbeck Train Station in downtown Belgium with one explosion has killed and additional FIFTEEN people and injured dozens more.
A Belgian news agency also reported that witnesses had said they heard gunshots and shouts of Arabic at the time of the airport explosions fuelling fears that this may have been an attack inspired by islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.
The Belgian prosecutor's office has now confirmed the attacks are suicide bombs.
The Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has slammed the attacks as "blind, violent, cowardly".
Mr Michel added: "We were feared an attack and it's happened."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: "We are at war".
Countries across Europe are tightening security following the attacks.
Emergency services are still searching for fatalities and injured in the rubble at both scenes.
An explosion has also taken place at Maelbeek metro station in Brussels centre near the European Union (EU) headquarters which firefighters say has claimed the lives of 15 people.
There are now fears of several coordinated attacks across the city and the entire metro system has been shut down.
The large explosions have taken out glass windows at the entrance and much of the airport's ceiling has collapsed.
Fire brigade says more bombs (un-exploded) have been found at Brussels airport.
An Iraq-based news agency says Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Brussels airport is now closed to all air traffic. FlightRadar24 image shown below shows the chaos in the sky as planes are diverted.
The cause of the two blasts, which occurred at around 8am this morning at an American Airlines check-in desk, are unknown at this stage.
There are unconformed reports that a bomb had been placed next to a check-in desk.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has posted on Twitter: "We are following the situation minute by minute. The absolute priority is for the victims and people who were at the airport."
French minister of the interior Bernard Cazeneuve has said an extra 1,600 security forces and police will be deployed on the streets in France which is also under a high terror alert.
Police in Britain are also stepping up security at key locations across the country.
Rescuers sift through debris and ceiling tiles searching for victims.
Belgium govt source calls it 'an attack' and an extremely grave situation.
Belgian authorities have closed the metro in the capital of Brussels following the explosions, according to Belgian newspaper Le Soir.
The blasts occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, suspected of being involved in November's Paris massacre that left 130 people dead and more than 300 injured.
Abdeslam's accomplice Najim Laacheaoui, who was in hiding with the Paris terrorist in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, is still on the run.
Belgian police had been on alert for any reprisal action.
Social media showed pictures of smoke rising from the departure hall where all windows had been shattered by the blast. Passengers were seen running away down a slipway from the departure lounge.
Rudi Vervoot, the president of the Brussels region, said: "There has been an explosion in the airport. An emergency plan will certainly be activated."
A witness said: "I was in the check-in queue and I heard an explosion. I saw smoke, I saw people panicking and running towards the exit. There was a second explosion much closer to me.
"Everyone left the airport in panic, most people left their baggage."
Sources at the scene spoke of hearing two "very, very loud explosions".
He said: "I could feel the building move. There was also dust and smoke as well...I went towards where the explosion came from and there were people coming out looking very dazed and shocked.
"The thinking here is that it is some kind of terrorist attack - that hasn't been verified by any of the authorities here at the airport."
Witnesses have described feeling the ground rock and seeing dust coming from the ceiling.
Brussels Airport has confirmed on Twitter that two explosions have taken place and have asked people not to come to the airport.
GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF INJURED
Scenes from the SECOND Bombing, at the Maelbeck Train Station in downtown Belgium:
Belgian media said rail traffic to the airport has also been suspended.
Train services to the airport have been cancelled.
All flights are being diverted from the Brussels airport.
Airport security are asking passengers to leave their luggage at the scene.
Abdeslam was captured by Belgian commandos on Friday after spending four months as one of the world's most wanted men.
Abdesalam played a key role in organising the Paris November 13 attacks in which 130 people were massacred, but he lost his nerve when it came to detonating his suicide belt – instead dumping it in a bin and making a run for it.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders revealed police discovered Abdesalam was intent on rebuilding a terror network of his own.
Speaking at the German Marshall Fund’s forum he said the terrorist was "ready to start something" in Brussels.
He said: "We found a lot of weapons, heavy weapons in the first investigations, and we have seen a new network of people around him in Brussels."
Belgium has raised the terror level to its maximum for all airports in the region of Flanders.
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The metro, bus routes and mainline train stations have all been shut down and Eurostar services have also been suspended until further notice.
Shops, commercial centres and certain schools and universities have been closed as a precaution while others are being guarded by security forces.
The EU areas and institutional buildings have also been closed. Terror alerts have been raised at parliamentary and EU institutions.
Police are carrying out spot-checks on people and cars as feelings of terror grip the country.
Telephone lines are down and authorities are advising people to use social media to contact loved ones.
Mr Michel has urged Belgian residents to avoid any movement from their current location
Belgian MP Georges Dallemagne had just dropped his wife off at the airport when she heard the "massive explosions" and the roof caved in.
He said: "I dropped her off around 7.40am this morning, and she called me to say that there were explosions around 7.58am.
"She ran away immediately, in a state of shock, towards the Sheraton Hotel. Then she returned to pick up her baggage, realising that the danger in this zone had passed.
"It was then that she saw broken windows, victims leaving the airport, the elderly put on stretchers, and the emergency services arriving. She saw a part of the ceiling had collapsed. She said the two explosions were around the departure hall."
Other witnesses said they "felt shockwaves passing through the building".
The Belgian Red Cross has made appeal for blood donations as hospital workers rush to treat scores of injured people.
Facebook has activated at 'safety check' status for people in the Brussels area to tell their loved ones they are safe.
The border between France and Belgium has been shut down following the attacks, with roads, rail and air services closed.
French authorities will bar members of the public without tickets or identification from entering transports hubs.
Security at European institutions in Strasbourg have also been reinforced.
Belgian authorities have also stepped up security at nuclear sites.
Pictures have also begun to emerge on social media apparently showing pictures of wounded people outside the Maalbeek station which is close to the European Union (EU) headquarters which is now in lockdown.
Evan Lamos was on the Metro at Arts-Loi heading towards Maelbeek when his train was stopped.
He and other passengers were forced to walk along the tracks, through the smoke-filled tunnel.
He said: “On the Metro between Schuman and Maelbeek. We have just been stopped due to an "incident on the line". Can hear soft thudding in distance".
The map below lays out the locations of the attacks relative to each other:
This photo, just-in is allegedly from the Schuman metro train station, a bomb detonated on a subway car. Unconfirmed that subway device was suicide bomber in packed train travelling between stations.
Full alert across Europe. Possible large scale simultaneous attacks planned.
Belgian Transport Authority says all metro stations are closing after explosions; entire subway system shut down.
Brussels fire department say there were four explosions across the city's metro system, several people injured.
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