ISIS Claims It's Behind Terror Attack in Belgian Capital
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The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Brussels, Belgium, that killed at least 31 people and injured 187 others.
ISIS's news agency reported that Islamic State terrorists opened fire in the airport and detonated several suicide belts. It says another suicide bomber struck in the metro system.
News of the attack spread immediately as people around the world expressed their shock over another terror attack in Europe. Social media exploded with prayers going up around the globe for the victims and residents of Belgium's capital city.
The bombs went off at the height of rush hour. Dozens lost their lives, and close to 200 people were injured, including three Americans. The Americans are Mormon missionaries, according to a spokesman for the Mormon church.
Rocky Gathright, a missionary with Four Corners Global in Brussels, was at Zavbntem Airport when the bomb went off. He spoke with CBN News about how he narrowly escaped and how he was able to pray with victims. Click play to watch.
A Belgian prosecutor called it a terrorist attack, saying a suicide bomber carried out at least one of the blasts. The terror threat level has been raised to the highest level, meaning there's a serious and imminent threat of another attack.
From Cuba, President Obama condemned the attacks.
"We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible," Obama said.
French President Francois Hollande also condemned the attack.
"Terrorists have struck in Belgium. It was Europe that it was aimed at, but the whole world is concerned," he said.
The first set of explosions shook Brussels' Zaventem Airport.
"Big bang, everybody cried and came along here," one witness said. "We saw a kind of smoke."
Another powerful explosion happened about an hour later at Maelbeek subway station, near the European Union headquarters and Western embassies.
"We heard a loud, muddled thud," another witness explained. "More panic set in; some people started running."
Stunned commuters fled the station. First responders carried the injured on stretchers.
Belgian TV reports at least one of the bombs that exploded at the airport had nails. A doctor treating the injured said they are encountering fractures and deep wounds caused by flying nails and glass.
The attacks hit in the main part of Brussels days after the raid on Friday when police captured the top suspect in the Paris terror attacks, Salah Abdelslam.
The Interior Minister warned that the arrest would spur on other terror cells to conduct revenge attacks. That concern became a reality Tuesday.
"Our country has been hit today by a series of hateful attacks," Belgium's Ambassador to the U.S. Johan Verbeke said on Facebook. "My first thoughts go out to the victims, their families, and the citizens of Belgium who have shown tremendous responsibility in the face of this tragedy. I also thank our first responders and police force who are working to secure the city."
"I am proud to see us coming together, united against terrorism," he continued. "I would also like to express my gratitude to the American people for their overwhelming support. Thank you for your numerous expressions of sympathy."
The Embassy of Belgium also directed those with questions regarding the whereabouts of family and friends to call the Crisis Center at +32 78 15 17 71.
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