- Jun 8, 2008
Brussels airport explosions: Two blasts on Tuesday morning
• Third explosion hits Metro system close to EU buildings an hour later
• At least 21 confirmed dead and 35 injured in coordinated attacks
• Blasts at Zaventem airport reportedly part of suicide attack
• Belgian capital city on lockdown and border with France closed
• UK officials in city told to avoid crowded places and public transport
• Britain steps up security at UK airports in wake of multiple attacks
• Attacks come after arrest of Paris atrocity suspect Salah Abdeslam
Brussels, Belgium (CNN)Three explosions that ripped through Belgium on Tuesday killed at least 23 people, according to Belgian media, and raised the specter of terror once again in the heart of Europe.
Ten died in a blast at a subway station, according to two Belgian broadcasters. The other 13 were killed, in addition to 35 injured, in two blasts at Brussels' airport, reported public broadcaster VRT.
The Belgian Office of the King's Prosecutor described the airport blast, at least, as a suicide attack, according to state broadcaster RTBF.
At least one explosion there happened outside the security checkpoints for ticketed passengers and near the airline check-in counters, an airline official briefed on the situation said.
The subway station blast happened in the Brussels suburb of Maalbeek, near the European quarter, where much of the European Union is based, according to CNN affiliate RTL. All metro stations in the city have been closed, according to the official Twitter account for the city's transportation agency.
In addition to that precaution, authorities have raised the terror threat level in Belgium to four -- its highest. That step-up means army soldiers can be sent onto the streets to meet security needs.
It's unclear what caused all the blasts, or if they're related to terrorism.
Anthony Barrett said he heard something about 8 a.m. local time from his hotel across from the terminal building.
"When I opened the curtains and looked out, I could see people fleeing," he told CNN.
He said he's seen about 19 or 20 stretchers carrying people so far. Luggage trollies were also being used to transport the wounded.
"It's clearly a very serious incident," he said.
Federal police at the airport at Zaventem told CNN that "there has been an explosion" and "something has happened."
Witnesses told RTL that at least one of the two explosions took place in the airport's departure hall.
Dozens of people have been taken out of the airport on stretchers, according to eyewitnesses.
Explosions in Brussels
11 photos: Explosions in Brussels
The Brussels airport tweeted that there have been two blasts and said that "the building" is being evacuated. They also said all airport operations have been suspended and asked those nearby to remain calm.
The airport is being evacuated and a disaster plan has been initiated, RTL reported. Passengers have been directed to the airport runways.
One of them, Jeffrey Edison, had cleared security and was out by the gate, several hundred yards from the departure lounge, where the explosions occurred. He told CNN he didn't hear the blasts but "suddenly saw" 200 to 300 people rushing toward him from the security checkpoint.
He says it took authorities around 25 minutes to tell the passengers what had happened, before evacuating the area and leading the passengers to the runways.
The Belgian crisis center tweeted that all public transportation in the city has been closed.
"Stay where you are," it said.
Kristalina Georgieva, the vice president of the European Commission, said that all the organization's institutions are at "alert level orange" and that all meetings on its premises and outside have been canceled.
She advised people to stay at home or indoors.
"I am shocked and concerned by the events in Brussels," British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted. "We will do everything we can to help."
Eurostar said its trains are not running to or from Brussels' Midi station.
The incident comes after Salah Abdeslam, a man who authorities say was involved in the Paris terror attacks last year, was arrested in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek on Friday.