The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks at the Brussels airport and metro that killed at least 30 people and injured 130 others.
Two bombs exploded at Zaventem airport about 8 in the morning near the Swissport airline passenger area and a Starbucks coffee shop. At least 11 people were killed in the two airport bombings.
About an hour later, another bomb exploded at the Maelbeek metro station during rush hour. A spokesman for the Brussels Metro system said the explosion on a train killed as many as 20 people and injured 55. The metro station is also near the European Union headquarters.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters "This is a black moment in our country. Everyone please be calm and show solidarity. What we feared has come to pass. Our country has been struck by attacks which are blind, violent and cowardly."
In a statement, French President Francois Hollande said, "Through the attacks in Brussels, the whole of Europe has been hit." The French prime minister added, "We are at war. We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war."
In Havana, Cuba, President Barack Obama said, "We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally Belgium in bringing to justice those who are responsible. And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism."
After the explosions, officials in Belgium closed the airport, metro system, other train stations, schools, shopping areas and museums. They told people who had not already departed for work to stay home. And they told those already at their offices to remain there.
Belgian officials also released a photo taken from closed circuit TV of three men with luggage carts. They said two of them were the suicide bombers and that the third — dressed in a light-colored coat, black hat and glasses — was at large.
Police later found a nail-filled bomb, chemical products and an Islamic State flag while searching a house in the Schaerbeek neighborhood.
The attacks happened just days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam in Brussels. He is accused of being one of the leaders of the deadly Paris terrorist attacks in November. Some experts feared that his supporters would answer his arrest with attacks in Brussels.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Lisa Bryant reported this story from Paris. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the story for VOA Learning English with additional materials from the AP and Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
metro – n. the name often given to a city's underground train system, also called a subway
scourge – n. someone or something that causes a great amount of trouble or suffering
closed-circuit – adj. used to describe a television system that sends its signal through wires to a limited number of televisions