Brussels attacks: Allison Pearson accused of 'shamelessly' using attack to make political point about Brexit

Columnist writes: 'Brussels, de facto capital of the EU, is also the jihadist capital of Europe'

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The Independent Online

A Telegraph columnist has been accused of using the deadly explosions in Brussels to “shamelessly” push a political point about Brexit, after claiming the city is the “jihadist capital of Europe”.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in two blasts in the departure hall at Brussels Airport and one at a metro station in the Belgian capital, with each blast thought to be suicide attacks. 

Allison Pearson, an author and former columnist for The Daily Mail, responded to news of the blasts with a tweet questioning arguments that Britain was safer staying in Europe ahead of the in-out referendum.

She wrote: “Brussels, de facto capital of the EU, is also the jihadist capital of Europe. And the Remainers dare to say we're safer in the EU! #Brexit" 

Kay Burley and the Guardian columnist Owen Jones were among a number who questioned the tweet. 

The terror alert has been raised to the highest in the city and travellers have been warned not to come to the airport. The entire public transport system in Brussels has been shut down and the airport will remain closed until 6am tomorrow morning. 

The explosions come just four days after Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris terror attacks, was apprehended in Brussels. 

A spokesperson for Brussels Airport said: “There have been two explosions at the airport. Building is being evacuated. Don't come to the airport area.

“All airport operations have been suspended until further notice. Passengers that are still located in other areas in the airport are asked to remain calm and wait for further information.”