UPDATE: Brussels Airport and Metro Hit By Deadly Explosions

BRUSSELS – UPDATE 5pm:  The confirmed death toll from both attacks now stands at 34.

* Maggie de Block, the Belgian health minister, announced 14 people died and 81 were injured following explosions at Brussels airport and 20 died and 55 injured in metro station, located near public institutions, including the European parliament. 

* Belgian Prosecutors have confirmed that two explosions were heard at the airport and another at a Metro station.

*The Belgian federal prosector said the airport explosion was a suicide attack.

*The terror level has been increased to maximum for the whole country.

A series of explosions rocked the Belgian capital Brussels early Tuesday morning after huge blasts ripped through the departure area of Brussels’ Zaventem Airport and at a metro station in the city center, killing at least 13 people and leaving dozens wounded.

The explosions at the airport occurred just after 07:00 GMT, near the terminal’s check-in zone and close to the American Airlines desk.

Brussels airport will stay closed until 05:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Just over an hour later a blast tore through the city center’s Maalbeek metro station, close to the EU parliament and other European institutions.

Both the airport and metro system have been shut down as Belgian police launch a criminal investigation into the events and the country’s terror alert is raised to its highest level.

Georgia’s Public Broadcaster journalist Ketevan Kardava was at the airport when the blasts occurred, saying she heard two loud explosions.

"I could feel the building move. There was dust and smoke as well... Everything was in complete chaos. People coming out looking very dazed and shocked,” she said.

Belgian news agency Belga, citing Reuters, said shots were fired and Arabic shouted before the two airport explosions. 

The blasts come just four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the November 2015 Paris attacks that left 130 dead.

Georgian diplomatic representation in the Kingdom of Belgium has launched a hotline for Georgian citizens following the explosions at the Brussels airport.

The hotline numbers are: +32 4777 000 34 and +32 470 2442 62.


By Tamar Svanidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller

22 March 2016 13:42