Explosions and gunfire rocked the European capital of Brussels on Tuesday morning, striking at Zaventem airport and a metro station not far from the European Union buildings.
These arrest come days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the ring leader of the Paris attacks. Following his arrest, police said that him and his accomplices – many whom are on the loose – were planning more attacks. Additionally, officials feared there were many more people involved than once thought.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said later that:
“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks…This is a dark moment for our nation. We need calm and solidarity.“
It was at 8am local time, shouts of arabic followed by gunfire and explosions rocked through an airport terminal, one by the check-in desk for American Airlines and another by a Starbucks cafe.
One witness, Samir Derrouich,a restaurant worker said:
“The two explosions were almost simultaneous. They were both at a check-in desk. One was close to the Starbucks. It was awful. There was just blood. It was like the apocalypse.”
Panic ensued. Here is footage of the aftermath:
No more than an hour, explosions occurred at the Brussels’ Maelbeek subway station, as the train began to leave. The metro station is a short distance from the European Union buildings and is also in the same neck of the woods where the Paris attacker and his accomplices were found.
About a mile from the station men were arrested by armed police. No word yet on whether or not they are associated. Here are images of the arrests as well as footage of the metro aftermath:
Clint Watts, a former FBI and U.S. Army counter-terrorism official told NBC News:
“That they could sit for four months, not only in Belgium but in Brussels and especially in Maelbeek, and plot these kinds of attacks just four days after the arrest of such a high-level network facilitator — this is shocking to me because they should have been on the highest level of alert. It is hard to conceive that this would happen on such a large scale when it was so obvious that these guys were operating there. After [Abdeslam’s] arrest, you would have to assume everyone in the network was preparing to launch whatever they had. After the Paris attacks, it was a question of not being able to run all the leads down. It’s no longer a capacity problem, it’s a competency problem.”
Social media also had numerous eye witness accounts:
Are more attacks imminent? Sound off in the comments below!