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BELGIUM

Brussels shuts down after terror attacks

Philippe Francois, Belga, AFP | Belgium police officers block a street in Brussels on March 22, 2016 after an explosion occurred at a metro station.

Belgian authorities have shut down the Brussels metro, train, tram and bus services Tuesday following a series of deadly explosions at Zaventem International Airport and Maelbeek metro station, with residents being advised to stay home.

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Transportation services in Brussels were suspended following bomb attacks at Zaventem International Airport and the Maelbeek metro station located near the EU headquarters, with all flights in and out of the airport halted.

"Bus, tram and metro shut down," the Brussels public transport operator STIB said in a message on Twitter. Major railway stations are also closed, the Brussels public prosecutor said separately.

The blast at the Maelbeek metro station happened just as a train was arriving at a platform during the morning rush hour, according to Belgian media.

An Associated Press reporter saw several people with facial injuries following the Maelbeek metro station blast. At least two people were seen being moved on stretchers.

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Brussels blasts: "We saw people running and crying towards us" say witnesses

“It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro," Alexandre Brans, a 32-year-old commuter, told the Associated Press.

The blasts early Tuesday in the departures lounge at the airport killed at least 10 people and injured several others, according to Belgian media. The impact of the explosions smashed the windows at the airport and sent ceiling tiles shattering to the floor.

There were chaotic scenes at the airport, with panicked passengers fleeing the terminal as a thick plume of smoke could be seen rising from the main terminal building. Airport officials have urged people to stay away from the airport.

The Eurostar’s Thalys service was also cancelled. "No trains are currently running to or from Brussels Midi," the high speed rail service said on its Twitter feed. "Brussels customers are advised to postpone, and not come to station".

Security was also tightened at airports in France, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

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