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Dozens Dead in Brussels Bombings, Police Boost Patrols Across Europe

brussels_airport_photo_Glenn_Collins_1Police and terror squads are stepping up controls at major tourist destinations across Europe, including Athens, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, following the deadly terrorist attacks earlier today at Brussels international airport and at an inner-city metro station.

The two explosions, one at Zaventem airport at approximately 8am local time, and a second at Maelbeek metro station an hour later have had a deadly toll of at least 28. The number of casualties has yet to be confirmed but according to media reports at least 13 died in the airport blast, which Belgium’s federal prosecutor says was most likely a suicide bombing, and 15 at Maelbeek.

Belgium authorities have raised the terror threat level and shut down all public transport in the city. The attacks come days after Brussels arrested Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris attacks.

According to news reports, the Russian secret services had informed Belgian authorities that three Syria-trained ISIS fighters had entered Belgian territory last month and were likely preparing to strike.

Travel disruptions

In the meantime, Brussels Airport has cancelled all flights, advising passengers to contact their airlines.

The borders between France and Belgium and between Holland and Belgium have been closed down.

Eurostar also said that there would be no trains running to or from Brussels Midi station advising passengers to postpone journeys.

British Airways also announced that its flights from Brussels to Heathrow have been cancelled and that the carrier will decide on other flights later today.

Greek authorities, meanwhile, are on alert increasing security patrols at metro stations, the Belgian and French embassies in Athens as well as at French- or Belgian-interest companies and operations in Greece.

The Greek government has condemned the attacks. “We extend Greece’s solidarity to the Belgian people. Fear, religious hatred and racism must not prevail in Europe,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.

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