At least 30 people died and more than 100 others were injured following three explosions Tuesday in the Belgian capital — two in Brussels Airport and one at Maelbeek metro station, near several European Union institutions. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, attributing them to a “security group from the soldiers of the caliphate.”
Here’s what we know so far:
The bombs went off in Brussels Airport, then the metro station Read more
Around 8 a.m., two bombs exploded at Brussels Airport, sending terrified travelers fleeing across baggage carousels and floors littered with splintered glass and crumbled ceiling tiles. Both explosions, which struck the departure hall on the third level, were believed to have been carried out by suicide bombers.
(Los Angeles Times)
About an hour later, another bomb exploded, this time at the Maelbeek metro station, near the political hub of the city and close to European Union offices. Witnesses said they saw about a dozen people lying outside on the sidewalk.
(Los Angeles Times)
Islamic State said it is behind the attacks
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosions, attributing them to a “security group from the soldiers of the caliphate.” It warned ominously of more attacks: “What is coming is worse and more bitter, God permitting.”
The group issued a statement saying its attackers chose the sites “carefully” and were “wrapped in explosive belts and carrying explosive canisters and machine guns.”
“Thanks be to God for his accuracy and success, and we ask God to accept our brothers among the martyrs,” the terrorist group said.
At least 30 people were killed Live updates
Officials reported that 20 people were killed at the station and 14 at the airport, although they acknowledged that the numbers were provisional. Well over 100 people were injured.
The State Department said it was unaware of any Americans who had died in the attacks. Belgian authorities did not immediately identify any of the dead.
Mormon missionaries were among the injured Full story
Among the seriously injured were three Utah men who had been in Europe to serve the Paris mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The men, identified by church officials as Richard Norby, 66, of Lehi; Joseph Empey, 20, of Santa Clara; and Mason Wells, 19, of Sandy, were at the airport to accompany a French missionary who was on her way to Ohio.
A U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel stationed at Brunssum, the Netherlands, and his family also were injured in the airport attack, according to the Air Force, which did not give details about the injuries.
U.S., other countries stepped up security Full story
U.S. cities stepped up security measures, especially at airports and in transit systems. The Department of Homeland Security said no credible threats have been detected against U.S. targets.
Airports including those in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Miami and Philadelphia put security staff on heightened alert. New York National Guard troops were deployed to John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports, and state police stepped up patrols at major train stations in Manhattan.
Officials in France said the government deployed more than 1,600 police throughout the country and toughened security in the Paris subway.
LAX airport police officers with automatic weapons patrol near the Tom Bradley International Terminal. A terrorist attack in Brussels has put law enforcement on high alert in Los Angeles despite no specific threats. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Police identified three of four bombing suspects Full story
One of the suicide bombers at Brussels Airport has now been identified as Najim Laachraoui, whom police had been seeking in connection with the Paris terrorist attacks.
Two others were identified earlier Wednesday as Khalid and Brahim El Bakraoui, a pair of Belgian brothers. Khalid died in the bombing in the subway station, and Brahim blew himself up in the airport.
Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said the pair had lengthy criminal records but not related to terrorism. Brahim El Bakraoui, identified using fingerprints, was the middle of three men captured on surveillance video walking through the departure terminal shortly before the explosion.
Investigators found a laptop in a nearby waste bin containing a statement by Brahim.
It said: “I don’t know what to do, I am in a hurry. I am on the run. People are looking for me everywhere. And if I give myself up, I will end up in a cell.”
Khalid, left, and Ibrahim El Bakraoui are the two Belgian brothers identified as the suicide bombers who struck Brussels on March 22, 2016. (Interpol Handout)
One suspect is still on the run
The third man seen in the airport photo, wearing a hat and light jacket, was still being sought.
There were conflicting reports late Tuesday that he might be Najim Laachraoui, who is believed to be linked to the November Paris attacks. But a U.S. official confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Laachraoui died in Tuesday’s bombing. The identity of the suspect who is still at large remains unknown.
A picture released on March 22, 2016, by the Belgian federal police shows a screen grab of the airport CCTV camera showing three suspects of Tuesday morning’s attacks at Brussels Airport. (AFP/Getty Images)
Police had put out a wanted poster for Laachraoui earlier in the week following the capture of Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam, and he was described as one of Abdeslam’s accomplices.
Special correspondents Christina Boyle, Erik Kirschbaum and Sheldon Chad contributed to this report.
For more on the Brussels attacks, follow me on Twitter: @sarahparvini