Deadly Attack at Airport and Subway in Brussels; 28 Dead

7:52 AM ABC NEWS – Multiple explosions at two different sites in Brussels — the airport and a subway station – have killed at least 28 people and put the Belgian city on its highest terror alert level.

(PHOTO FROM ABC NEWS) A security perimeter has been set, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels.
(PHOTO FROM ABC NEWS) A security perimeter has been set, on March 22, 2016 near Maalbeek metro station in Brussels.

At least one of the attacks was likely the result of a suicide bomber, the Belgian federal prosecutor reported. He classified the attacks as the work of terrorists.

There were two explosions in the departure hall of the city’s Zaventem international airport, according to Prime Minister Charles Michel. There was also an explosion on the rail tracks at the Maelbeek subway station, according to a spokeswoman for Brussels transportation department. Fifteen people were killed in the subway station and 13 at the airport, officials said.

Belgian transportation officials also confirmed that an additional 55 others were injured at the subway blast, including 10 people in critical condition.

“The level threat in Belgium has been raised to 4 (maximum alert) with special emphasis on transport hubs, airports, stations and nuclear plants,” the prime minister said.

The Maelbeek station, where there was an explosion on the rail tracks, is located in central Brussels near European Union offices.

The subway system has been closed entirely and Brussels airport officials have been advising people not to travel to the airport.

No claim of responsibility has been made. The explosions come as Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks, was detained last week in Belgium by Belgian authorities.

The explosions have prompted an international response, with senior law enforcement officials in the United States confirming to ABC News that Homeland Security and FBI officials are monitoring closely. The New York Police Department has also confirmed that they are monitoring the situation closely.

President Obama has been briefed on the attacks, a White House official said.

A senior U.S. official told ABC News that U.S. Transportation Security Administration chief Peter Neffenger happened to be in Brussels and was actually on airport grounds at the time of the bombing there. He is in a safe place, the official said.

NATO, which is headquartered in Brussels, announced that it is increasing its “alert state,” after decrying the “cowardly attack.”

The French Interior Minister confirmed that 1,600 extra police officers have been deployed near French transportation hubs in the wake of today’s explosions.

France had already sent out an extra 500 extra police near the country’s borders after Abdeslam was arrested last week.

The Metropolitan Police in London have released a statement confirming an increase in deployment, saying that “forces across the UK have increased policing presence at key locations, including transport hubs, to protect the public and provide reassurance. This is not in relation to any specific information or intelligence.”

European Union officials in Brussels have been told to stay in their offices or homes in the wake of the blasts. Brussels is the de facto capital for the European Union.

So has the U.S. embassy in Brussels, releasing a statement urging American citizens to shelter in place and avoid all public transport.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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