Wit­nesses de­scribe scenes fol­low­ing bomb blasts in Bel­gian cap­i­tal

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Dozens of peo­ple were killed yes­ter­day when bombs ex­ploded in Bel­gium’s cap­i­tal - two at the main in­ter­na­tional air­port and one on a down­town sub­way train near Euro­pean Union head­quar­ters.

Wit­nesses de­scribed chaotic scenes of blood, dust and fly­ing glass as the blasts - claimed by ISIS - hit trans­port hubs in the middle of a busy rush hour.

En­tre­pre­neur Marc Noel, 63, was await­ing a Delta Air­lines flight from Brus­sels to At­lanta when he de­cided to buy some car mag­a­zines for the flight - an act he thinks may have saved his life.

He was in an air­port shop when the first ex­plo­sion struck about 50m away, bring­ing down a chunk of the ceil­ing.

“Peo­ple were cry­ing, shout­ing, chil­dren. It was a hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Noel, a Bel­gian who lives in North Carolina, US. “I don’t want to think about it, but I would prob­a­bly have been in that place when the bomb went off.”

He said a se­cond blast hit 10 to 15 sec­onds later. “This feel likes war - fire en­gines, po­lice ev­ery­where,” said Noel, as he and hun­dreds of other pas­sen­gers were evac­u­ated to the town of Za­van­tem.

Ge­or­gian jour­nal­ist Kete­van Kar­dava was lin­ing up for a flight to Geneva just af­ter 8am when, she said, some­thing black and suit­case­shaped ex­ploded in front of the Delta Air­lines counter nearby. She said the glass walls shat­tered and smoke filled the air.

“Ev­ery­thing was bro­ken,” she said. “We were cry­ing, shout­ing, run­ning we didn’t know where.”

Min­utes later, amid the chaos, a se­cond ex­plo­sion sounded, she said. By then, chaos had en­veloped the ter­mi­nal build­ing and she could see very lit­tle.

Se­cu­rity forces herded thou­sands of peo­ple to the back of the air­port, where she said they were wait­ing to learn when it would be safe enough to leave.

Shortly af­ter the air­port ex­plo­sions, an­other blast hit a sub­way train at Mael­beek sta­tion in cen­tral Brus­sels.

Alexan­dre Brans, 32, said the train was pulling out of the sta­tion “when there was a re­ally loud ex­plo­sion”.

Out­side the sta­tion, Brans wiped blood from his face as other peo­ple milled around with their clothes badly burned.

“It was panic ev­ery­where,” Brans said. “There were a lot of peo­ple in the metro.”

Euro­pean se­cu­rity of­fi­cials had been brac­ing for a ma­jor at­tack for weeks, and warned that ISIS was ac­tively pre­par­ing to strike. The ar­rest on Fri­day of Salah Ab­deslam, a key sus­pect in the Novem­ber at­tacks in Paris, height­ened those fears.

ISIS claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Brus­sels at­tacks, say­ing in a post­ing on the group's Amaq news agency that its ex­trem­ists opened fire in the air­port and "sev­eral of them" det­o­nated sui­cide belts.

The state­ment said an­other sui­cide at­tacker struck in the sub­way.

SOFT TAR­GETS: The air­port is evac­u­ated af­ter the at­tacks and (below) in­side the metro sta­tion

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