Brussels explosions: Turnbull, Obama, Pope Francis and world leaders condemn attacks

Brussels attacks leave at least 34 dead and over 100 injured
By @chelean on
  • Black smoke is seen rising from the Brussels airport following explosions, in this still image made available March 22, 2016.
    Black smoke is seen rising from the Brussels airport following explosions, in this still image made available March 22, 2016. Reuters/Peter van Rossum via Reuters TV
  • Passengers walk on underground metro tracks to be evacuated after an explosion at Maelbeek train station in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2016, in this handout courtesy of @OSOSXE via twitter.
    Passengers walk on underground metro tracks to be evacuated after an explosion at Maelbeek train station in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2016, in this handout courtesy of @OSOSXE via twitter. Reuters/Courtesy @OSOSXE via Twitter/Handout via Reuters
  • Rescue workers treat victims outside the Maelbeek metro station after a blast, in Brussels, Belgium, in this image taken from a March 22, 2016 video.
    Rescue workers treat victims outside the Maelbeek metro station after a blast, in Brussels, Belgium, in this image taken from a March 22, 2016 video. Reuters/RTL Belgium via Reuters Tv
  • A general view from an office window of emergency services outside Maelbeek station is seen in Brussels, Belgium in this still image taken from video on March 22, 2016.
    A general view from an office window of emergency services outside Maelbeek station is seen in Brussels, Belgium in this still image taken from video on March 22, 2016. Reuters/Stijn Hoorens via Reuters TV
  • People flee from the Brussels airport in this image taken from video
    People flee from the Brussels airport in this image taken from video, shot by a bystander in the the immediate aftermath of blasts at the airport near Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2016. Courtesy Asher Gunsberg Reuters/Asher Gunsberg/Handout via Reuters TV
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A series of explosions in Brussels shook Belgium on Tuesday, with world leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President Barack Obama, condemning the attacks. At least 34 are dead and over a hundred injured following the apparently coordinated explosions at the Brussels airport and on a metro train.

Early reports said the attacks began with twin explosions at the Zaventem Airport’s international departures lounge around 8 a.m. local time. One of the explosions was believed to be caused by a suicide bomber. About an hour later, another explosion hit the Maalbeek metro station near the European Union’s main buildings.

Airport baggage security officer Alphonse Lyoura told AFP that he heard a man shout a few words in Arabic before the blast. “A lot of people lost limbs. One man had lost both legs and there was a policeman with a totally mangled leg.”

Brussels fire brigade spokesman Pierre Meys said there were at least 11 people who were killed from the explosions at the airport. Transport operator STIB added to AFP that there were at least 15 people who died in the metro station blast, while 55 were wounded. The numbers of casualties is expected to go up.

The explosions -- which occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the November Paris attacks that killed 130 people -- triggered the cancellation of flights and a transport shutdown in the city.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said in a news conference that the country is facing “a tragic moment,” adding that the authorities are worried there will be more attacks to come.

Reactions from world leaders

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also issued a statement following the terrorist attacks in Belgium.

“Canada stands by Belgium in this difficult time and has offered all possible assistance. We will continue to work closely with our allies and the international community to help fight and prevent terrorism here and abroad, and to bring to justice those who are responsible for planning and carrying out these senseless acts,” he said.

The European Union said its Member States stand firm with Belgium to face the threat together “with all necessary means.”

“The 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,” its statement reads.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, sent a telegram to Josef De Kesel, the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, to offer his sympathy to the victims.

“The Holy Father again condemns the blind violence which causes so much suffering and imploring from God the gift of peace, he entrusts on the bereaved families and the Belgians the benefit of divine blessings,” the telegram reads (via News.va).