An explosion rocked the check-in area of Brussels Airport Tuesday, killing 26 and wounding 35 people, an official said.
The blasts shook the departures hall shortly after 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET).
Witnesses said they ‘felt the shockwaves’ of the blasts which are believed to have centered on the American Airlines check-in desk at 8am (7am GMT).
“The windows are completely shattered. People went outside in shock. It doesn’t look good.”
Pictures from the scene showed bloodied victims, shattered glass and debris as well smoke pouring from the terminal and passengers fleeing the airport area with their bags.
There were reports that shouts in Arabic were heard in the building of the two explosion and shots were fired in the aftermath.
The Belgian broadcaster RTBF quoted a witness as saying there were people injured or unconscious in the departure area, opposite the Sheraton hotel.
Niels Caignau, a Swissport employee, told Flemish broadcaster VRT: “I was on a break and heard and felt a big explosion – we have from here a view over the departure hall and saw a plume of smoke come out.
A security source told media reporter that the explosion happened near check-in desk four but it was not immediately clear if terrorism was involved.
It comes amid a flurry of counterterrorism activity in the Belgian capital. A raid this week in Brussels captured Europe’s most wanted man — Salah Abdeslam, suspected Paris terror attacks plotter and aborted suicide attacker. – Robert Beerlak