This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Timeline: How the Brussels terror attacks unfolded

This morning’s attacks at Brussels airport and a metro station in the city have left at least 34 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Belgium Attacks A man looks at flowers and messages outside the stock exchange in Brussels earlier today Source: AP/Press Association Images

BRUSSELS, HOME OF the European Union and NATO, was hit today by bomb attacks at the airport and in the metro that killed 34 people.

Authorities say some of those responsible for the carnage might still be at large and have asked media not to report on details of the ongoing investigation. The blasts occurred four days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, the prime suspect in the Paris terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

Belgium Attacks The blown out facade at Zaventem airport this morning Source: Peter Dejong

Here is a timeline of what happened earlier today:

- Around 7.00am (8.00am local time): Two blasts hit Zaventem international airport outside Brussels. Witnesses cited by the Belga news agency say they first heard shots in the departure hall before someone shouted in Arabic and then two explosions occurred.

- Shortly before 8.00am: Federal police say at least one person is dead and several others wounded.

The airport is closed and a crisis cell meets at the interior ministry.

- Shortly after 8.00am: A third explosion rocks the Maalbeek metro station near the EU headquarters. Around a dozen injuries are reported at first.


- 8.15am: Belgium moves to its highest level of terror alert.

- Shortly before 9.00am: The European Commission tells staff to stay home or in their offices.

- Shortly after 9.00am: The federal prosecutor’s office issues a casualty toll of at least 13 dead and 35 wounded at the airport.

- Shortly before 9.30am: The crisis centre asks inhabitants to stay put, and all public transport systems grind to a halt.

Security is reinforced in airports, train stations and public transport systems in Paris, while airports in Frankfurt, London, Moscow and the Netherlands beef up their measures too. The border between Belgium and the Netherlands is reinforced.

- Shortly before 10.00am: Fire services say at least 21 people have died, including 11 at the airport.

High-speed Thalys trains between Belgium, France and the Netherlands stop running.

- 10.15am: European Council President Donald Tusk condemns the “terrorist attacks”.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

- Shortly before 10.30am: Police and soldiers reinforce security around Belgium’s nuclear power plants.

- 10.43am: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemns the “blind, violent and cowardly” attacks.

- 10.46am: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says the Eiffel Tower will be lit in Belgium’s national colours and calls for a silent vigil in the evening in Paris.

- Shortly before 11.00am: Federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw says one airport blast was “probably caused by a suicide bomber”.

- 11.00am: “The whole of Europe has been hit,” says French President Francois Hollande.

- 11.15am: Brussels transport operator STIB says the metro blast killed at least 15 people and wounded at least 55, including 30 seriously.

Eurostar train service between London and Brussels is suspended.

- 12.30pm: “We will never let these terrorists win,” says British Prime Minister David Cameron.

- 12.35pm: The investigation is ongoing and authorities “fear that people are still at large”, says Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

Belgium Attacks Solidarity messages are written in chalk outside the stock exchange in Brussels Source: AP/Press Association Images

- 1.36pm: Local mayor Yvan Mayeur says “there are around 20 dead with another 106 wounded, 17 of them gravely” at the metro station.

- 1.57pm: A fire service spokesman says the airport attack killed 14 people and left more than 90 wounded, and warns the toll could change.

- 3.20pm: Islamic State claims responsibility for the attacks.

- 3.45pm: Belgian authorities publish surveillance camera images of three suspects in the attack on Brussels airport.

suspects Source: Youtube

The number of known casualties stands at around 34 dead and more than 200 wounded.


Read: No reports of Irish injured in Brussels attacks

Read: Flights cancelled as Europe freezes transport links with Brussels

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:


Read next: