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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Brussels Struck by Terror Attacks at Transit Hubs

(CN) - At least 30 people were killed and more than 200 others were wounded Tuesday as deadly blasts ripped through a Belgian airport and subway station.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL - has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In addition to two explosions in a Brussels Airport departure area around 8 a.m. local time, one blast also rocked a subway station, according to news reports.

The blast at the Maelbeek metro station struck within yards of key European Union offices, including the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. Brussels is the seat of the EU.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told news media, "We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened."

"I strongly condemn these hateful attacks. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families. We stand united against terrorism," Michel tweeted in English on Tuesday.

Belgian officials reportedly said that at least one of the airport explosions was set off by a suicide bomber.

French President Francois Hollande said "it is the whole of Europe that is hit" through the Brussels attack. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, "We are at war."

British Prime Minister David Cameron called an emergency meeting of ministers, according to the New York Times.

European Council president Donald Tusk said he was "appalled" by the bombings, while EU lawmakers issued a joint statement condemned the attacks as "an attack on our open democratic society."

"Our common European institutions are hosted in Brussels, thanks to the generosity of the government of Belgium and the Belgian people. The European Union and its member states stand firm with Belgium in solidarity and are determined to face this threat together with all necessary means," the lawmakers said.

"This latest attack only strengthens our resolve to defend the European values and tolerance from the attacks of the intolerant. We will be united and firm in the fight against hatred, violent extremism and terrorism."

Tuesday's terror attacks in Belgium come four months after Paris was rocked by attacks that killed more than 128 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.

One Brussels resident told CNN that, after the attacks in Paris, it felt like "it was a matter of time" before Belgium was hit.

Belgian authorities shut down all metro stations in Brussels and evacuated the airport in response to the attacks. Leaders there warned that the perpetrators of the attacks could still be at large, according to a Washington Post report.

The Washington, D.C. Metro system upped security in response to the Belgium attacks, announcing that it would increase K-9 sweeps and police patrols, CNN reported.

President Barack Obama was reportedly briefed on the attacks in Cuba, where he is in the middle of an historic trip.

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