Brussels Metro system shut down after station explosion as Belgium terror alert raised to maximum

Belgium’s interior minister has raised the country’s terror threat to its highest level following the explosions at Brussels airport 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 22 March 2016 09:46 GMT
(Serge Massart/Twitter)

The entire Brussels Metro system shut down following an explosion at a station near EU institutions that has reportedly killed 10 people, as Belgium's terror threat has been raised to its highest level.

Black smoke was seen pouring from Maelbeek station following the blast. Belgian media have reported 10 people were killed by the explosion but Reuters has reported no one was killed inside the train carriage.

Passengers elswehere on the underground network have been evacuated from trains, appearing to be walking along the tracks to reach ground level.

The Brussels Metro network tweeted from its official account that “All metro stations are closing”. All rail stations also have reportedly been shut and the Belgian interior minister has raised the country’s terror alert to its highest level. All flights have been cancelled and planes arriving into Brussels Airport have been diverted.

People are evacuated from the Schuman station in Brussels (Evan Lamos/Twitter)

The country was already at level three following the capture of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam in a Brussels suburb last week.

Security has also been tightened at all Paris airports, while instructions from authorities in Brussels for people to stay where they are has brought the city to a standstill.

The blast at Maelbeek station came barely an hour after two separate explosions at Brussels Airport. Local media is reporting as many as 13 people have been killed and 35 severely injured in the explosions.

Smoke rising from the Maalbeek underground, in Brussels, following a blast at the station close to the capital's European quarter (Getty Images)

A witness at the station told Belgian broadcaster RTBF: "We left Maelbeek station towards the centre at around 9.07, 9.10, when we felt an explosion which appeared to come from the front of the train.

"The lights went off, there was panic given what happened at Brussels airport.

"The doors of the train were forced open to get off the train. There was a lot of smoke. We left via Maelbeek station. The glass doors were blown out. The explosion must have been violent."

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