At least 10 people have been killed and dozens more are gravely injured after terrorists blew up a crowded Metro station this morning in a second devastating terror attack on Brussels.
Shocking images from Maelbeek station show smoke pouring out of the building and casualties littered on the pavement outside – just 400metres from the EU’s headquarters.
Commuters on the Metro at the time described hearing a loud bang before they were evacuated from trains and forced to walk down smoke-filled tunnels and along the track to the closest safe station.
A loud bang was heard at 9.19am – just over an hour after two explosions killed at least 13 and seriously injured 50 after a suicide attack on the Belgian capital’s main airport.
The image below is being used by the Belgian media who claim this is the damage caused by the bomb at the Maelbeek Metro station in central Brussels this morning. It has not been verified by the authorities but is being widely circulated on social media.
Explosion: The image above is being used by the Belgian media who claim this is the damage caused by the bomb at the Maelbeek Metro station in central Brussels this morning. It has not been verified by the authorities but is being widely circulated on social media.
Emergency: Victims of the Brussels Metro bombing are treated on the pavement outside the station – yards from the EU’s main buildings
Evacuation: Those on the tube network were evacuated from smoke-filled tunnels and walked along the tracks to the nearest station
Panic: Commuters in the Metro described a bang, and a rush of air that made their ears pop before they tore open the train doors and walked down the track to the closest station
Aftermath: A man lies stricken on the pavement as survivors kiss in relief after surviving the bombing, which has killed at least ten
Bravery: People injured are treated, comforted and given water by the emergency services as they help the wounded
Lockdown: Rue de la Loi, which runs outside the station, is sealed off by police and the emergency services in the wake of the 9.19am attack
Emergency services at the scene were carrying the dead and injured out of the station on stretchers.
Alexandre Brans, 32, who was wiping blood from his face, said: ‘The metro was leaving Maelbeek station when there was a really loud explosion. It was panic everywhere. There were a lot of people in the metro.’
Ten people are said to have been killed at the Metro bombing at 9.19am.
Brussels resident Shigeo Sugimoto said he was one stop away from where the metro was hit and heard people shouting.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘I am fine !! But i was in the metro when suddenly some one start shouting ‘explosions!!! Evacuation!!!
‘Ouch!!! I was just one station ahead before when explosion happened !!!!!!!!’
He posted pictures showing cars and people standing in the road and wrote: ‘Maerbeek (sic) now apocalypse!!!’
Mr Sugimoto said he saw a man with blood on his face in the vicinity of Maelbeek station in the EU quarter, near the European Commission’s main building.
He was at Arts-Loi station, one ahead of Maelbeek, and told the Press Association: ‘On the ground, there were already people walking every direction to distance (themselves) from metro and the Belgian army were there trying to make people calm.
‘I saw a guy, blood over his face, dragged by another person. Then police start blocking the street and I could only see ambulances go and come.’
Evan Lamos was among the thousands of commuters on tube trains this morning when the network was attacked.
He was on two stops away from Maelbeek and the passengers on his train were evacuated from the carriages into a smoke-filled tunnel and then walked along the tracks to the exit at the nearest station.
He said: ‘There was a dull thud. We felt a blast of air and my ears popped shortly afterwards. The Metro stopped immediately’.
Rescue effort: A Maelbeek victim is carried on to a stretcher as Brussels is hit by a string of bombings
Terror attack: The second bombing in Brussels today hit Maelbeek station – where the injured lay stricken on the pavement
Mr Lamos was told that there was ‘an incident on the line’, suggesting that a train may have been bombed.
Ian McCafferty was on the Metro when the explosion took place in Maelbeek.
He told Sky News: ‘I was getting off at the station before Maelbeek and we heard a very loud thud. The stations are much closer together than in London so we heard it clearly.
‘Panic set in and people rushed off the train. We ran to the stairs and were met by soldiers who quickly evacuated the station’.
Maelbeek is the station that most EU workers use daily.
The European Commission’s vice-president Kristalina Georgieva said meetings were cancelled and urged people to ‘stay home or inside buildings’.
The metro station is close to the commission’s Berlaymont headquarters, the European Parliament and the European Council’s Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital.
Ms Georgieva said on Twitter: ‘Following situation in Brussels. EU institutions working together to ensure security of staff& premises.Please stay home or inside buildings.
‘All EU institutions are at alert level ORANGE – all meetings on premises and outside cancelled, access only for staff with badges.’
A European Council tweet said: ‘Closely monitoring the situation. All meetings cancelled this morning. Priority to ensure safety of staff & visitors.’
Witnesses described apocalyptic scenes with blood and ‘dismembered bodies everywhere’ after two blasts rocked the American Airlines check-in desk at Brussels Airport at 8am (7am GMT) in a suspected suicide bombing.
Carnage: At least eleven people have died and several injured after two explosions rocked Brussels Airport in a suspected terror attack
A soldier walks through debris after two explosion rocked a terminal building at Brussels Airport
Injured passengers are covered in blood and dust after the explosions in the terminal building
Hundreds of terrified passengers ran from the terminal, some of them covered in blood (left), after the blasts rocked the building at 8am
The explosions come just a day after the Belgium Interior Minister warned of possible revenge attacks after the arrest of Paris massacre suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week.
At the airport, shouts in Arabic were reportedly heard before the explosions which sent shockwaves through the terminal building, shattering windows, knocking roof tiles off the ceiling and sending terrified passengers running for their lives.
Samir Derrouich, who works at a restaurant in the airport, told MailOnline: ‘The two explosions were almost simultaneous.
‘They were both at check in desk. One was close to the Starbucks. It was awful. There was just blood. It was like the apocalypse.’
Photographs from inside the arrivals hall showed the floor covered in fallen tiles and dust as bloodied people hobbled out of the airport. Others injured were photographed lying on the floor.
Video shows terrified passengers running for their lives out of the terminal.
In the aftermath of the explosions at the airport, thousands of people waiting for flights this morning were penned inside the terminal as police sealed off the shattered arrivals hall.
Fire fighters who entered the shattered building are said to have found a third unexploded device.
People already checked-in were then slowly evacuated through emergency exits – but were told to leave all their hand luggage as police checked bags for more explosives.
Evacuated air passengers are being ferried onto buses and are being driven to a ‘crisis centre’ away from the airport. Women and children are being moved first.
A man lies injured on the floor after two explosions rocked the the American Airlines check-in desk
Pauline Deglume tweeted: ‘My godfather is located at the airport and said he saw dismembered bodies everywhere.’
Dries Valaert, 30, was waiting to get his boarding pass from a check in desk when the blast struck.
He told MailOnline: ‘There was a first blast and then ten seconds later a second explosion. It was a big big blast, the ceiling went down. It was just 30 metres from where I was.
‘I saw people down on the ground and I just went running. I jumped over the security fences towards the departure gates as I thought it would be safer.
My first intuition was to get out in case their were attackers with guns. I saw a woman around 18 years old with a hole in her hand with blood pouring out and a man with an injured ankle and two people down. There was lots of panic. People were running all over the place.’
Mr Valaert, who was flying to a business meeting in Berlin, said he believed the bombs were hidden in suitcases that had just been checked in.
He said: ‘The explosions were just behind the service desks, they were blown towards us. To me it is the most realistic possibility. I don’t think it was someone with a suicide vest.’
Armed police in protective clothing combed the building for more wounded travellers and suspicious bags.
All flights are being diverted from the airport this morning as it remains on lockdown.